Layout > Design


The Norfolk & Whey is a point-to-point layout representing a segment of the Norfolk Southern Pocahontas Division mainline. Six stub end branch lines feed into the main and provide the online business. With the exception of the Roda branch leading to the town of Mudlick, the remaining branches all serve at least one coal mine.

Mainline at Lester Mine photo

In 2004, this is the view of the mainline over/under loop at Lester Mine.
This is the same view as seen on the website's home page. The track
in the foreground on the lowest level is the hidden staging loop at

The layout design follows the theme of “operations first” that both Tim and the layout’s designer, Darin Umlauft, wholeheartedly believe in. In late 2003, Darin created a double-deck design using a continuous grade. The mainline track plan begins at its highest elevation in Bluefield and descends a maximum 2.5% grade to Williamson without a helix and just one over/under loop. A total of four passing sidings are located along the route to allow for train meets. Minimum radius on the main is 34 inches and features turnouts of No. 6 or greater. Since the original design, only minor modifications to the track plan were made to further enhance operations. These modifications were positive outcomes resulting from the operating sessions.

Industries at Lomas, WV

One would hard-pressed to find such industries as a shingle factory and a flour mill
in West Virginia, but thanks to the freedom prototype-based freelancing allows,
these two industries co-exist on a branchline of the Norfolk & Whey.

Prototype-based freelancing provides Tim with the poetic license to include layout components that would otherwise be impossible following an exact prototype. First, it allows Tim to model a single track mainline instead of the double-track main. Second, it provides cost savings—not only on track and roadbed—but allows him to make use of donated searchlight signals instead of requiring him to purchase prototypical position-light signals. Finally, it gives him the freedom to include industries not seen in this region.