When I got back into model railroading in the early 1970's after being away while going to school and starting a family, I did not envision that 35 years later I would be sitting at a computer compiling information about a little, obscure steam powered railroad and putting it on the internet for the world to share. But that's what has happened and I'm glad that it has! My connection with model railroading in general and the BC&G specifically has led to friendships with wonderful folks from literally around the world.
I played a role in getting the North Carolina Transportation Museum, owner of ex-BC&G Consolidtation #4, to organize a BC&G Reunion in 1993. It could not have happened without the tireless effors of Jim Wrinn, currently editor of TRAINS magazine. We got to "play trains" with #4 for a weekend, an experience I will never forget.
I never got to visit the BC&G while it was in service, but during the summer of 2007 I had the opportunity to ride a Fairmont speeder, with Roger Nutter, President of the BC&G Co-Op (see HISTORY) at the controls, along the 14 miles of BC&G track that remain. It was certainly the ride of lifetime for this long-time BC&G fan.
All of this has culminated in the construction of a 44' X 25' model railroad depicting, with some liberties, the BC&G as it appeared in the late 1950's. This railroad has appeared in numerous national model railroading magazines. It was featured in the December 2006 issue of RAILROAD MODEL CRAFTSMAN, the February 2007 issue of RAIL MODEL JOURNAL and the September 2009 issue of RAILROAD MODEL CRAFTSMAN featured a story about this website. For additional articles about the layout click here. Nearly 100 photos of the layout are presented in the BROOKS STOVER section under MODEL RAILROADS. Also, I now have available a 25-minute DVD of the layout with full sound and narration. Simply click on the DVD button below for more information or to place an order or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have been interested in trains for as long as I can remember and like many in my generation always anticipated the new addition to our layout each Christmas. My brother, Nelson, and I built a nice toy train layout during our pre-teen years. He moved on to other interests and areas of service, but the love of trains, and modeling them, has never left me. When I began looking for a prototype railroad to model, it was Nelson who put me on to the BC&G. As luck would have it he was living in Widen, the town where the coal mine had been, while doing community development work as a part of a team organized by the Institute of Cultural Affairs (www.ica-international.org). He began sending me information about the railroad that had served the mine. As I researched it, I fell in love with it and the rest is history.
I have collected hundreds of photos and many book and magazine articles as well as items of memorabilia from the BC&G. I had the wonderful opportunity to correspond with Richard Manning, the gentleman who was the General Superintendent of the BC&G in its final years, for about 5 years before his passing. I collected insights about the day to day operations of the railroad from him. I was able to spend 4 hours one snowy winter day with Bobby Caruthers, former BC&G hostler in 1993 and listened while he told stories about life on the railroad.
Modeling and photos by Brooks Stover