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last updated 03/29/2004

Tom Matty's Western Maryland Ry. Thomas Subdivision
Layout at a glance:

Subject: Western Maryland, Thomas Sub.
Era: 1969-1979
Room: 23x32'
Layout Height: 42" minimum on lower level, 62" on upper (Francis Branch is 64")
Style: Point to point operation only (no provision for continuous running)
Control: Digitrax DCC radio control
Track: Code 83 mains, code 70 branches, code 55 industrial tracks, Micro Engineering flex track. Walthers, Shinohara, and Micro Engineering turnouts
Switch Control: PFM slow-motion switch machines.
Operation: Sonora Software Railroad Management System for train orders and switch lists.

WM Thomas Sub, Take #2

This is the second time I've modeled the WM Thomas Sub. From 1988 to 1996 I
modeled it in a 14x24' basement. The layout was double-decked around the
outer walls, fully operational (used Dynatrol) and was about 1/5th sceniced.
We moved to our current home in 1997 and over the following 3 years I fully
finished the basement. (My back still hurts from hanging 80 sheets of

My goal for the new layout was to model the same locations as on the
previous one, but add additional running distance between locations. I
started benchwork on Christmas day 2000. The entire layout is

As of March 2004 about 80 percent of the track is laid and operational. The
goal is to have all track laid and operational by Christmas 2005. Scenery
work can then begin.

Modeled Portions

The prototype Thomas Subdivision ran West from Cumberland, MD to Elkins, WV
(approx 100 miles). The layout covers the main line from Bayard, WV West to
Elkins, WV (approximately 40 miles). Cumberland is represented as a 5 track
staging yard in an adjacent room. A major operational feature is the WM's
famous Black Fork grade from Thomas down the mountain to Hendricks. This 13
mile stretch of railroad included grades up to 3.05 percent. On the layout
this is modeled as a 60' stretch of single track. It's an operational
bottleneck on the model as it was to the prototype.

Several key branch lines are also modeled. These include:

  • Stony River-- Bayard to Mount Storm, WV to serve the VEPCO power plant at
    Mount Storm.
  • Francis -- Thomas to Childs to serve the Palino Coal, Co. truck dump at
  • Slaty Fork -- Hendricks, portion of the former Slaty Fork Railroad to
    serve Hinchcliff Lumber.
  • Belington -- Elkins to Belington. Interchange with B&O's Tygart branch.
  • Webster Springs -- Elkins to Webster Springs to serve several major coal
    load outs.
  • Durbin -- Elkins to Durbin. Interchange with the C&O's Greenbrier branch.

Operating sessions can keep 6-7 individuals busy for 3-4 hours. Typical
train length is 25-30 cars. Helpers are required on all trains from
Montrose, WV to the top of the Black Fork grade (a total running distance of
over 100 actual feet).

- Tom Matty

* please click on the images below to view larger versions

Bayard, WV
The WM maintained a small engine facility at Bayard to serve three coal loaders on the Stony River Branch and for delivering coal trains to the VEPCO power plant in Mt. Storm, WV.

Parsons, WV
(looking West). The WM served the Gould Tannery and several other small industries in Parsons.

Kingsford, WV
(lower level) The WM served the Kingsford Charcoal plant in Kingsford. The track on the upper level is at a location called Mountain Switch near the top of the Black Fork Grade.
Aerial view of the helix between Montrose and Kingsford
The helix represents Haddix Hill which was the ruling grade between Elkins and Parsons.
Roncevertte, WV
Staging yard at the South end of the C&O's Greenbrier branch to Durbin, WV.

Hambelton, WV
(in the foreground). The Shay is sitting on the Slaty Fork branch line that runs out of Hendricks to serve the Hinchcliff Lumber.

Black Fork Grade
(upper level), Bergoo, WV and Bergoo Mine (middle level), WM yard, Durbin, WV (lower level).

Cheat Junction, WV
Track going into the tunnel leads to Durbin, to the left Bergoo, and off to the right to Elkins.
South Elkins, WV
Line in the background runs West to Cheat Junction. Foreground will become South Elkins industrial area with a line running to Belington, WV where the WM interchanges with the B&O.

Douglas, WV
Douglas Mine nearest the camera with Davis Coal & Coke beyond.

Childs, WV
Palino Coal truck dump was at the end of the Francis Branch, which ran for 7 miles from Thomas, WV.

Elkins, WV
The West end of Elkins Yard is still in the early stages of construction.

Thomas, WV
The Hendricks local rolls West through Thomas on its way to Hendricks. I'll forward this stuff to my work address and try to get it figured out today.

Durbin, WV
You're looking at C&O territory with WM tracking rights into town.

Montrose, WV
The East local passes the West local at Montrose. Helper units are sitting on two legs of the Montrose wye today.
Mount Storm, WV
(upper level) VEPCO power plant hopper yard. Montrose passing siding (lower level).

Mount Storm, WV
The VEPCO power plant will be to the right of the tracks. The engine is sitting next to the future site of the rotary car dumper.

Elkins, WV
Brakeman Herb B. hooks up the caboose air hose before the train leaves Elkins Yard for its trip to Cumberland, MD.

Montrose, WV
Drop down section of benchwork at the East end of the
Montrose passing siding.

Roncevertte, WV
Engineer Bill R. prepares to depart the C&O's Roncevertte yard (hidden staging) for a run up the Greenbrier branch to Durbin.

Durbin, WV.
Engineer Bill R. has his train running East on WM rails out of Durbin heading for Cheat Junction.
Tub Run, WV.
The Hendricks local is nearing the bottom of the Black Fork
grade on its way to Hendricks.
Hendricks, WV
The Hendricks local arrives and prepares to begin its switching duties.
Hendricks, WV.
Engineer Jim N. slows the train to a craw.

Elkins, WV
Elkins yard is nearly filled to capacity today.

Elkins, WV
The WM engine facilities, roundhouse, and turntable will occupy this space.

Bergoo, WV
Engineer Ray S. runs a string of empties West through Bergoo on his way to Webster Springs, WV.