BUFFALO CREEK & GAULEY RR
BUFFALO CREEK & GAULEY RR
"Keeping the Memory Alive"
The BC&G was an 18.6 mile long coal-hauling shortline that operated in central West VIrginia in its original form from 1904 through 1965. It has been reincarnated on several occassions since. It was a fascinating railroad and an ideal railroad for modeling. This website represents the compilation of all the information gathered over a period of nearly 30 years, information that was gathered to aid in the construction of an "S" gauge model railroad depicting the BC&G as it appeared in the late 1950s.
The information on this website will be of value to those with an interest in the BC&G, logging lines and Appalachian shortlines in general, but it's particularly aimed at those interested in modeling the BC&G and the logging railroad of the Elk River Coal & Lumber Company.
Over the past 30 years I have been collecting information about the BC&G and the logging line of its parent ERC&L Co. to assist me in creating a model railroad representing the lines as they appeared in the late 1950's. I have discovered that there are others, including other model railroaders, and former employees of the ERC&L Co. who are also in possession of historical information about the BC&G and who like me, are concerned that if it is not collected in one spot will soon be lost.
The purpose of this site is to create a single collection point for information about the BC&G and the ELR&C, particularly previously unpublished information. This site, in fact, contains a significant number of new photos, drawings and stories about the railroad that have not previously been in the public domain. Collectively the information presented here will allow modelers to construct and operate accurate layouts of this fascinating railroad. Some of the contributors are named below.
The site is a living document, so If you have comments, questions or information to add to this collection, please go to the CONTACT ME page. I'd love to hear from you!
Below are 4 ways that you can get involved in perpetuating the memory of the BC&G!
For information about a DVD of my "S" gauge layout of the BC&G click here
For information about how you can help create a tourist railroad on the former BC&G right-of-way, click here............................................................
If you have questions or comments about this site, or information or photos to add to it, I'd love to hear from you. Please click here..............................
For information about audio CD's of sounds of the BC&G click here.............
Connie Acree has identified the crewmemembers in the original photo (above left) taken on February 27,1965, the last day of operations.
L to R: Ralph Acree (Connie's dad), Jobe Young, Ab Wilson (Connie's great uncle), Carsel Hamrick, Moon Mullins and Sammy Burkhammer. The fellow on the far right is unknown.
Climax #2 Derelict At Swandale
John Phillips Photo - 1958
On November 4, 1995 an event was held at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, NC commorating the 30th anniversary of BC&G Engine #4's final run from Swandale (photo near right). Engine #4 was at the NCTM in tourist service lettered as Southern #604. For the reunion, she was restored to her BC&G livery and several hundred BC&G faithful enjoyed seeing the engine in service again. The photo on the far right was taken that weekend with members of the organizing effort poised to duplicate the famous photo on the left taken 30 years earlier. Amazingly, both photos were taken by the same photographer, Larry Fellure. In the reproduction photo, Bob Withers is second from left, Frank Criswell third from left and Brooks Stover is at the far right. It was a weekend all in attendance will long remember!
For the names of the many ERC&L residents and railfans who have contributed information and photos to the site, see the ABOUT THIS SITE page.
LISTEN to #4 at Widen in April 1962! Turn up the volume on your computer and click here!!
A major purpose of this site is to share photos of my "S" gauge model railroad depicting the BC&G as it was in the late 1950s and to encourage others to model the railroad, too. A second individual, Phil Bonzon, is well along with an "HO" scale layout that includes the BC&G. Phil has made many contributions to this site and photos of Phil's fine modeling are also included.
BC&G #4 Underway At Spencer
Sign and View GUEST BOOK Here !
The COMPLETE HISTORY OF the ERC&L and BC&G
Compiled By Brooks Stover
Please sign the Guest Book!!
We'd love to hear from you.
1/31/14 & 2/214 - Cody Burdette has clarified that Climax #4 was used as a gob engine in Widen and also occasionally as a helper engine on the coal train between Swandale and Widen. Thanks to Cody for sharing this information!
12/10/13 - Notice posted that a few additional copies of the book The ELK RIVER COAL & LUMBER Co. are again available.
9/2/13 - A little bit of additional information about BC&G #8 provided by Nate Proctor has been added. 8/24/13 - Judy Hart, a regular contributor to this site, has located an extremely rare artifact of the ERC&L...an unused milk bottle cap from the Cressmont dairy. She has graciously provided a photo. The cap corroborates that the dairy only bottled raw milk and that no pastureizing was done. Thanks, Judy! 1/20/13 - I finally posted the detailed information about a book by William McClure III that has many great pictures of the ERC&L, BC&G, W.M. Ritter and GP operations. Many of the photos are by August Thieme and the book was published by Morning Sun Books. The title is "Trackside in Search of Virginia and West Virginia Steam". 11/13/12 - Phil Bonzon has built a model of the coal wagon that distributed fuel to the houses in Swandale, including the driver, Marion Asbury, whose name was provided by Patsy Baughman. According to Patsy, Mario also delivered groceries from the company store. 10/22/12 - Steve Ackerman did some research and uncovered some interesting new information about ERC&L Climax #4. Steve also identified a book by Mallory Hope Ferrell that includes a number of pages of b/w photos of the ERC&L railroads. 8/25/12 - John Taubeneck has provided some information on the 'mystery log loader' appearing in a single photo at Swandale. The information appears at the very bottom of the page. 5/14/12 - New information has been found on the website of Railway Preservation News (www.rypn.org) provided by a reliable source that says B&G #14 was built by ALCO as an 0-8-0 switcher and served as a switcher at the Schenectady Works shops unitl she was converted to a 2-8-0 by ALCO just before being sold the Kellys Creek & Northwestern from whom the BC&G got the engine. She never was owned by the NYC, as is often stated. 3/11/12 - Posted a photo of a PRR combine provided by George Pierson of the type similar to the car appearing in at least one photo of the BC&G.
Click on the highlighted phrases to connect to the pages with new information then look for the with the date corresponding to the posting.
WHAT'S NEW ? Scroll to the bottom of this page for links to the most recently added information on the site...
The photo on the right was taken on April 25, 2010 and the occassion was the first time the three individuals who are the driving forces behind this website were together in one place. We are standing in front of Cressmont on my "S" scale layout of the BC&G. Phil and Frank traveled to the Detroit area to participate in an Operations Special Interest Group (OpSIG) weekend. On the left is Phil Bonzon, HO modeler of the BC&G and Master Model Railroader #427. On the right is Frank Criswell, "S" modeler of the BC&G. That's me, Brooks Stover, in the middle. For photos of Phil's layout, CLICK HERE. For photos of my layout, CLICK HERE. For photos of Frank's layout, CLICK HERE.
Updated - Februrary 2, 2014
This website has been over five years in the making. And now the contents of this site are available in book form! The decision to create this book was based on the desire to make a permanent record of the colorful history of the ERC&L Company and the BC&G, to make it available to as many people as possible at a reasonable cost and to insure that it is preserved.
The 8 1/2 x11" hardcover book is 216 pages long and contains over 320 black and white photos, including black and white versions of most of the photos that appear in color on this site. The book also contains most of the diagrams, maps and tables that appear on this website. The book is printed on 28 lb. satin paper and the printing is done in the US.
So if you've enjoyed this website and would like to have a permanent record of the complete story of the ELK RIVER COAL & LUMBER Company, its railroads and towns, this book is for you! See ordering instructions above.
PRICE: $38.95 ($32.95 plus $6.00 shipping anywhere in US)
The ELK RIVER COAL & LUMBER COMPANY
The History of the Company, Its Railroads and Its Towns with Accounts by the People Who Lived It
By R. Brooks Stover ISBN 978-1-4507-3896-5
Typical pages (click to enlarge)
The BUFFALO CREEK & GAULEY in COLOR
By Bob Withers and R. Brooks Stover
Published by Morning Sun Books
Bob Withers, well known author of several books on railroads in West Virginia, and Brooks Stover, author of "The Elk River Coal & Lumber Company" (see above), have teamed up to prepare this great new book on the BC&G!
"The BC&G in Color", an 8 1/2 x 11" hard back volume, contains 128 pages filled with over 200 of the "best of the best" of the color photographs of the BC&G coal hauling railroad and the ERC&L logging activites from the final years, 1958-1965. A chapter on the history of the line and photos from the reincarnations after the sale in 1958 are also included.
The book "The BC&G in COLOR" is published by Morning Sun Books. It is available at book retailers and directly from their website, www.morningsunbooks.com. I do not have copies of this book for sale.
Modeling the BUFFALO CREEK & GAULEY Railroad
By R. Brooks Stover
Published by Elk River Enterprises
Brooks has been researching the BC&G for over 30 years and has used the information to build a 25' x 44' "S" gauge model railroad depicting the way the BC&G appeared and operated in the late 1950s. The layout appears on this site and has been featured in the model railroading press on numerous occasions.
This striking 8-1/2" x 11", 106 page, full color, soft bound book is printed on heavy glossy paper. In it the author tells the story of how he 'discovered' and researched the Buffalo Creek and Gauley RR and then ultimately built three layouts, culminating in the well-published version that is fully operational today. The book describes how the character of the prototype BC&G was captured in the models of the locomotives, rolling stock, structures and terrain. The author tells "how and why he did what he did" and also shares his modeling philosophy, describes how he builds structures from inexpensive materials and offers tips for taking layout photographs
This is an all-new text "filling in the blanks" from the many articles about the layout that have appeared in the modeling press. Many of the photos feature digital smoke and sky enhancements and some show parts of the layout never before published. There are over 130 prototype and layout photos and of these there are 45 all-new images of the layout.
Modeling the BUFFALO CREEK & GAULEY Railroad will be of interest to modelers of all scales as the ideas presented are applicable to models of all sizes!
PRICE: $34.95 ($28.95 plus $6.00 postage anywhere in US)
"Capturing the Character of An Historic Shortline On An "S" Gauge Model Railroad"
Here's what On30 modeler, Mark Chase has to say about Modeling the BC&G:
"Though the book is about building an S scale layout, I do not model in S scale, nor do I model the coal and lumber operations of West Virginia. But I am trying to do what Brooks has done on a more general level, and that is build an interesting model railroad that captures the character of an historic industry that I am interested in. "Modeling the Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad" does an excellent job of explaining the creative processes involved in building a model railroad that is both optimized for the space available and is also an excellent representation of a prototype setting. Brooks accommodates the practical realities of reliable operation on a layout that reflects the fascinating information he has collected on his favorite prototype.
I know from experience that the more a modeler learns about a particular prototype, the harder it can be to build a satisfactory model of that prototype. It is almost impossible to replicate even a very small and simple rail operation in miniature. Many modelers would conclude that it is not worth it ... that a small, industrial shortline would not provide enough modeling and operational interest to make a faithful representation worthwhile. But Brooks has realized that small railroads can be full of character. Digging for obscure information, and then using that information as inspiration for building a model railroad can provide all the challenge anyone would ever need to improve their skills and create the very best model railroad that they have the potential of building."
And well-known S scake modeler Sam Powell says, in part, the following in his review of the book in the December 2011 issue of DISPATCH:
"This book is a must-read for anyone currently building or planning a model railroad in any scale. The book is not a "how to" book, but a "why and what to" book. There are few books that help model railroaders sort through the myriad choices one confronts when trying to get a model railroad planned, built and operational. In Modeling the BC&G, Brooks goes about explaining the philosophy he applied while building his nearly completed layout. In addition to the text, the book is full of beautiful color photos of the layout. These nicely bear out Brooks' contention that in the end "good enough" wins out over incomplete and unfocused "perfection". Brooks' modeling philosophy is what makes his model railroad such a terrific creation".
WHAT'S NEW ? Scroll to the very bottom of this page for links to the information most recently added to the site. Enjoy!
MODELING The BUFFALO CREEK & GAULEY Railroad
A Few Additional Copies of THE ELK RIVER COAL & LUMBER COMPANY BOOK are again available! PLEASE CONTACT ME at firstname.lastname@example.org to check availability before placing a Paypal order.
AVAILABLE AGAIN IN LIMITED QUANTITIES!
Check For Check for Availablity Before Ordering