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this site is to create a single collection point for information about the BC&G and the ELR&C, particularly previously unpublished information.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
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 & Maintained by Brooks Stover
Please sign the Guest Book!!
We'd love to hear from you.
1/18 - I have recently completed a 10-minute video of several engines operating on my BC&G layout and have posted it on YouTube. You can copy and paste this link...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmVbDtw2S2E...or simply go to YouTube and search on Brooks Stover. 12/9 - I posted photos of several pieces of memorabilia that we the property of Theordore Burdette and are now in the collection of Frank Criswell.
11/7 - I posted an important notice near the top of this page concerning the future of this website. I would look forward to your input either via email at email@example.com or on the Guest Book. Thanks!
7/19 - Fellow S gauge modeler Sam Powell has provided a photo of BC&G #14 as she looks today on display in Gaithersburg, MD. She has been maticulously restored with all sheathing and appliances in place and she wears an accurate paint scheme. To my knowledge this is the only BC&G still wearing her 'proper' livery. 5/26 - Frank Fieler, a new contributor (click here for some background info on Frank), has provided several great images. Two of his wonderful images appear at the top of this page...#4 at Dundon and a rare photo of #20 with a log train near Cressmont. As with all photos on the site, click on the images for an enlarged view. Frank also took some nice shots of #19 fording the Lilly Fork and captured a good image of the log crane that came from the Cherry River Boom & Lumber when W.M. Ritter took over. Finally, Frank offered unusual photos of the left side of Shay #19. Frank will be giving a clinic on his trips to the BC&G/ERC&L and other shortline railroads at the NMRA Convention this summer in Cleveland. Check the Convention schedule at NMRA.org for details. If you enjoy Frank's photos be sure and post a 'thank you' on the Guest Book! 1/31/14 & 2/2/14 - 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! 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".
Click on the highlighted phrases to connect to the pages with new information then look for the with the date corresponding to the posting.
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: FEBRUARY 21, 2015
This book was self-published by Elk River Enterprises. For more information go to REFERENCES - Books.
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
The BUFFALO CREEK & GAULEY in COLOR
By Bob Withers and R. Brooks Stover
Published by Morning Sun Books
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. For more information go to REFERENCES - Books.
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
BC&G #4 has been purchased from The NC Transportation Museum by the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad for restoration and operation in West Virginia! D&GVRR President John Smith says "We know it's been the dream of many to see #4 under a full head of steam and on the tracks again. We hope to complete the restoration in time for the engine's 90th birthday in 2016."