Welcome!
To Allan "Need Another Locomotive" Gartner's Clinchfield-based
A Dallas, Texas area HO Model Railroad

Club-sized, operations-based, layout without the club-sized problems!

 

 

Listen to your wife. "Go play with Allan's Trains!"

About the High 'N' Xiety

December 27th, 2013

See new pictures added today!

The High and Xiety is an operations oriented, DCC controlled, 'freelanced-prototype" HO railroad based primarily on the coal carrying Clinchfield Railroad of the Appalachian region.

If you are interested in doing scenery, trackwork, weathering, computer programming or structures, please read on!

If you want to see some other cool model railroad pictures, be sure to check out the pictures of our garden railway!

Layout Status

The layout is complete with efforts focused on completing scenery. Check out some of the scenes completed in recent months. Come see us during the Plano Train Show, Saturday 12-5, January 18th, 2014!

The Clinch River is 12 feet long as it runs along Delano Siding. As I had hoped, it is become one of the most scenic areas of the layout. We have added a moonshine run along with police and flashing lights to the layout recently. We also have a raging fire along with lights and sound effects. In fact, we have added lots of sound effects like babbling brooks and sensor triggered flange squeeling. Scenery has been growing in Haysi and Bear Wallar Hollar. Come see all that we have accomplished during the past year during the show!

December 27, 2013: The late Jack Wollschlaeger scratch built this model from photos of the Clinchfield company store in Trammel, VA. Note to self: When building a model railroad, give some thought of where a tripod and lights can go so that photos can be taken that are in complete focus.

Jack also built this craftsman kit of the Wollschlaeger Furniture Company.

January 2012: The scenic Clinch River running along Delano Siding. Canoist enjoy a leisurely trip down the river and are treated to the sight of a big articulated locomotive and unit coal train.

January 2012: The Clinch River is also enjoyed by fisherman.

Clinchco, January 14th, 2011

January 2012: Along the Clinch River is a cock fighting farm. I stumbled upon one of these in the '90s. I'm sure my presence would not have been welcome. So the only picture I got of the cages was a mental one. This scene is still under construction. It does include scale roosters. Yes, you can buy scale roosters!

January 2012: Police chase a moonshine runner on a winding mountain road. One of the police cars looses control and rolls down the mountain side. I have actually seen a police car on its side in a ditch with its lights going and everything - proof that there is a protype for everything!

January 2012: A train pulls up to a tank for water near Fremont Jct.

January 2012: A drag freight passes by Bear "Wallar Hollar". This is the first time I used software called Helicon Focus to fight the problem of narrow depth of field in close-up pictures. It seems to have done a great job.

January 2012: Here a train heads up the switch back of Bear Wallar Hollar.

The layout is open to the public Saturday, January 21st, 2012, 12-5pm.

This is the "Highline." It is about 14 feet long and 2 feet tall. That is Dante Yard in the lower left. Currently there are four people working year round to scenic the High & Xiety.

HNXT Highline

 

January 2012: The 81" long x 23" high Copper Creek Viaduct
It cost about $600 to build using Central Valley and Micro Engineering materials. It is the correct scale height and about 2/3rds of the scale length.

January 2012: Legend has it that a passenger on the Clinchfield saw a little girl along the tracks and asked her where the trail went. "It goes to my daddy's still, but it doesn't come back." The Clinchfield was moonshine country. Can you find the still nestled into the vast forests of the High & Xiety? Trust me; it is right out in the open. Good luck in finding it!

February, 2009: Jack Wollschlaeger completes the McClure woodshed made from a photo of the actual shed in McClure circa 1990. Now we just need to add some piles of wood and other details!

June, 2008: Tarpon Mine

June, 2008: McClure Mine. Not done, but starting to look like something!

Visiting the High & Xiety

The layout is open to the public only during the January Plano Train Show. For more information on this show, visit http://www.dfwtrainshows.com. Please note that this layout is in my home - which is not a museum. The layout is not open to the public any other day of the year. Thank you for not showing up on my doorstep on other dates.

This is probably the most prototypical model railroad in the area. The towns are in the correct order and many structures and features of the Clinchfield have been included. In a mountainous region, how do you turn a train around? You don't. Therefore, local "turns" will return to Dante backwards!

Breaks Gorge

The railroad occupies the entire second floor of my home - over 1100 square feet!

January 2012: This isn't the whole layout, but this is all that will fit in one photograph. . Scenery is slowly making its way across the High & Xiety. Level 3 is the unscenic'ed third level on the upper right. It is above everyone's head. Mirrors on the ceiling and a JMRI computer monitor helps manage it's 8 track, double ended yard with a balloon track at the far end. To the left is the highline. Dante Yard is to the left on level 2. Bear Wallow Hollar is across from it on the right. In the far back of the photo are the Loops that get a train up from level 2 to level 3. Below Bear Wallow Hollar is level 1. Under level 1 you can just see a portion of level 0 as trains come up from the floor and Breaks Gorge.

October, 2008: A train exists the tunnel from McClure. In the background is the tunnel to Moss.

January 2012: Moss coal cleaning facility - right half.

January 2012: Moss coal cleaning facility - left half.

Creating the Signature Look

The Clinchfield was one of the finest engineered railroads in the world built to unheard of standards of its time. The most obvious examples are its penetration of Clinch Mountain and Breaks Gorge, the Grand Canyon of the Southeast.

Breaks Gorge is now fully forested - 3100 trees!  The mountain through the gorge is built standing 40" tall. 

Breaks Gorge

Clinchfield Country is the land of articulated steam. These large locomotives used a lot of coal. The Clinchfield needed a way to fill its coaling towers as fast as it was emptying them. Coaling trestles were ramps used to dump coal cars directly into the tops of their coaling towers. The Clinchfield has so many large locomotives, they needed a lot of coal and the tenders needed filling fast. There were two of these coaling trestles on the Clinchfield.

Coaling Trestle

Coaling Trestle - made from actual Clinchfield blueprints!

 

Bear Wallow Switchback, or as we like to call it, "Bear Wallar Hollar,"

Map by Ron Flanary

There are a number of places where the view of the Clinchfield is a lone track running high on a mountainside or right along the river. Both of these scenes occur in numerous places just like the prototype.

The Clinchfield "Loops" is a section of track only a few miles long, but contained many closely-spaced tunnels. The Loops shared the mountainside with apple orchards. The tracks were so close together at points, the conductor could get off the caboose, grab a juicy apple, and get back on the caboose as it passed by on a lower track. We have recreated the close track, numerous tunnels, and even the apple trees.

A view of the scenic'ed "Loops." A pair of double-headed articulateds are on the upper track of the photo.

The Loops serve a unique function on the High & Xiety. They are a creative alternative to a helix. So unlike a helix, you can see your train as it progresses. Also, unlike a helix, it is scenic'ed. So rather than be an eyesore you try to hide, this little bit of trackwork is a Kodak moment that raises the train 24"! How cool is that?!

Thank you Accurail! Accurail offers a custom car service. They painted the car the color I wanted it, and printed the name, logo, and car data all to my specifications. This is truly serving the modeler! Custom decals were nice, but this saves us tons of work for the hundreds of cars we need. Email Eric Cote at accurail@accurail.com for more information. They have a 48 car minimum and are priced at approximately their list price for the car. Not a bad deal for custom work!

HNXT Custom Hopper Car

Operations

 

Highline Loops

Another view of the Loops as a train travels down from level 3 to level 2.

 

The Clinchfield had a single track mainline. We have included five passing sidings. Given that the railroad will be about 450' from end to end, with sometimes 150' between levels, the passing sidings will be as essential as in real life to keep from choking traffic.

Trackside Tour - Construction of the HNXT

The H&X is a four level model railroad that occupies the entire second floor of my home.  The lowest level is called level 0 since it is close to the floor and has no real operations on it.  This level runs through a walk-in closet, a bathroom, and the "Jack & Jill" vanity areas.

At right is the throat for the Elkhorn City Yard. It consists of 5 #8 curved turnouts. One of my crew considers this a work of art. Since the yard throat is located in a hallway and two of the Jack & Jill vanity areas it is difficult to photograph. I prefer to avoid curved turnouts, but this was the only way to get 12.5' long yard tracks in the Jack & Jill area and the walk-in closet. Located in the walk-in closet is the balloon track for Elkhorn City.

This area is not scenic'ed. It is intended to be walked on, yes, walked on. Notice the light-colored plywood plates surrounding the points. These protect the points from foot traffic. As unconventional as this is, all this actually works!

The final level is about 72" off the floor.  This is obviously too high to operate, but provides a prototypical perspective of the famed and picturesque Copper Creek Viaduct.

HNXT Elkhorn City Yard Throat

Click here for the HNXT Mainline Track Diagram
Leaving Elkhorn City, scenicked track begins as the train exits Skaggs Hole Tunnel and enters The Breaks occupying the entire one side of a bedroom.  Here the floor to ceiling distance is nearly identical to the scale distance from Clinchfield Overlook - about 920' up. To best mimic this, the track is a mere 7" off the floor!  Other than the coal loader in Breaks Gorge, there is no operation here due to the low proximity to the floor.   The view for the average adult will be about  a scale 600' up. Note: The bridge extends 12 scale feet into the tunnel - just like the prototype!

Passing through spectacular Breaks Gorge required four tunnels and two bridges. Each of the two bridges is paired up with a tunnel making rather picturesque scenes.  Breaks Gorge features class six rapids (read deadly for all but the best kayakers).

You can't hear the rushing water of the Russell Fork. Only the horn and faint rumble of the diesel engines can be heard - otherwise the train passes through the gorge as if it was floating on air.   Perched on the rock outcropping of Clinchfield Overlook, nearly 2000' above sea level, winds can make this a frigid place during the running of the Santa Claus Express.  I know from experience!

Pool Point Bridge is a box truss deck bridge.  Skaggs Hole is a deck girder.  Both have open decking and both have a walkway.  There is a Carl Sagan's worth of trees (billions and billions) planted here in the Breaks.  The Breaks has a usually dry waterfall, which we have modeled and a very unusual tunnel at Stateline.  It has a third portal on its side where rubble was dumped into the Russell Fork rather than taking it back out one entrance or the other.  This third portal is still there today and was modeled.

Trivia question: How many rabbits do you see in the above picture?  One?  Some railroads have hidden Santas, Elvis, and even Jimmy Hoffa.  This one has rabbits. The railroad is covered in them and more are being added as construction continues. Be sure to look for them when you visit. Don't be mad if you leave without finding them. This isn't a game for wusses! You can practice on the above photos. There are three.

Coal is brought into Dante on the second level (Pronounced Dant or Daint by the non-Italian residents. Dante was an Italian cook when the railroad was built.).  Here a turntable and two double-ended yards are placed end-to-end so that trains can cross the scale.  Dante is a very busy place.

Southbound trains from Dante go through the "Loops" for a final spectacular exit on a high mountain side and then across Copper Creek Viaduct - just like the prototype! - to the final hidden storage yard. The operator will be looking upward at the train as it leaves just as railfans do today.

Computer-aided Model Railroading

We now have five, yes five, monitors configured as a virtual control panel.

Wanna Help?

Do you now have the itch for the Clinchfield and fresh mountain air? Are you now wondering why I didn't put this section at the top? If you live in the Dallas, Texas area, we need to talk.

I am lacking help in the following areas:
1. I can't have too many people working on scenery. It is a big job.
2. Car and locomotive assembly, decoder installation, couplers installation, and making them run well.
3. Model building - especially kitbashing, scratch-building, and craftsman kits.
4. Weathering cars and structures.
5. Fine tuning trackwork.
6. JMRI programming.
7. Bring scenes to life by adding people and vehicles.

The Benefits:

There are no dues. Dinner as well as soda and beer of your choice is provided. Work sessions are held on Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons.

Don'ts:

1. When you need to plug in a saw or something, do not unplug the refrigerator that keeps the beer and sodas cold or the cordless drill batteries chargered. I may not be able to protect you from the posse if the cordless drills become useless, or worse, the beer is warm!

2. No "ooops" or "ut-ohs." Nonetheless, if the mistake is preceded by a loud, crashing noise, it is sporting to make like a cat - "I have no idea what just happen, but I didn't do it." Better yet, blame it on someone who didn't come that night. If you can make it stick, that is all the better!

If you are able to do any of these things, please e-mail me:  bigboy@WiringForDCC.com

Be sure to take this little picture tour of  Clinchfield Country!

Allergy Sufferers:

I have several cats. We are frequently complimented that our house does not smell like cats. The cats are also not allowed in the train room. So mild sufferers do not have a problem. Those that suffer more severely may have trouble.

 

Copyright by Allan Gartner 1996 - 2012 © All rights reserved. All users, commercial and non-commercial, may link only to this site at www.WiringForDCC.com.