Although the prototype store burned down in 1941, I included it on the layout because it is such a handsome structure, clearly identifies the town as Widen and provides great switching opportunities. Only one awning was modeled to facilitate viewing the interior through the large window.
My model of the Rich Run Mine is not an exact replica but rather is a compressed representation that attempts to capture the character of the real thing. The mine is the center of activity during an operating session on the layout. It takes crews 40 to 60 minutes to complete the switching here.
Details such as the sand tower, water pipe and conveyor up the mountainside help connect the model to the prototype. The powerhouse is the grey building in the center of the photo, left.
As was the case on the prototype, Widen is the center of activity on my layout. The town occupies a space about 15' x 8'. The tipple is served by 3 tracks, just half the number that served the prototype, but switching Widen still presents a significant challenge for operators.
This low angle view of the tipple shows how the model captures the angular nature of the prototype. The corrigated sheet metal is simulated with aluminum foil burnished over a corrigated piece of plastic.
I obtained the photograph above from my brother in 1981 and it inspired the model to the left.
I found this US Mail shed on the outskirts of Widen to be a fascinating little structure. To the left is my representation of it and I further replicated the prototype photo by including my model of Motor "A".
This is a scratchbuilt model of one of the Clark side-dump gondolas that was originally in gob service at the Widen mine and then later went into MOW service on the BC&G. The detail of the underbody can be seen in the photo below. For more information about the Clark cars go to MOW cars.
Prototype photo by David Marquis
Model photos by Brooks Stover
The Jeep modified to serve as a firetruck that was stationed at Widen makes the perfect subject to model. My interpretation is seen in the photo at the left. The two crewman are no doubt discussing their heroic actions at the most recent fire!
The MAGIC of MODEL RAILROADING
I came across this photo the other day that I forgot I'd taken, probably because it doesn't have any trains in it. I had ventured up to Widen to catch up with the goings on and stopped in to see Darrell Woods, the mine General Foreman. I was hoping to catch up on how the mine was doing, but also talk a little flyin'. The boys said he wasn't around and they thought he had some business to care of. They thought maybe he'd taken his Tri-Pacer into Charleston to pick up some spare parts that had arrived from the east and were waiting at the airport. I hung around for several hours and enjoyed watching the ERC&L Mikes at work and saw #14 depart for Dundon with 59 loads. Then around 4:00 pm I heard that distinctive Piper four-banger approaching. I grabbed my camera just in time to catch a shot of Darrell coming over the hill behind the mine. He wisely uses the Tri-Pacer to check out the property whenever he's in the air...looking for fires or trespassers. He dipped his wings as he flew over. I guess he saw me waving from the ground!
A picture of Darrell Woods and his 1957 Piper Tri-Pacer appeared in September 1957 edition of WIDEN NEWS (above left). The clipping was provided by Naomi Ashley. To represent Darrell's plane on my layout I took an image of a Tri-Pacer (insert above) from my MicroSoft Flight Simulator computer 'game' and attached it to the backdrop behind the mine on the layout.
Fascinated by Darrell's Tri-Pacer, I found a 1:32 model of a Tri-Pacer produced in 1989 by Monogram models on Ebay. I built the model to look like Darrell's plane including the factory 1957 paint scheme. I speculated from the photo that it was red and cream. I placed the plane on a small diorama (right) that includes a suggestion of a runway in the foreground, appropriate barrels and crates, and photos of Darrell's plane and a view from the flight simulator in the back.
Darrell Wood's 1957 Piper Tri-Pacer
My model of the Rich Run mine was started about 30 years and the main portion of it appeared on my first BC&G layout. As more space was available on each subsequent layout the mine has been expanded finally reaching it's current size. The conveyor and mine head are visible in a couple of the photos. Above right, the roof of the Widen Company Store is visible in the foreground
My model of the Widen Bank is a very accurate representation of the prototype (above). It has been shortened slightly but otherwise captures the character of the real structure. Notice the man washing the windows while a co-worker pauses for a Coke.
As with most of the structures on my layout, my model of the Bank of Widen was built to capture the characture of the prorotype without necessarily being accruate in every dimension. I have been contacted by several visitors to the site about the dimensions I used on my bank so I have indicated the key dimensions here.