The Silver Lines Electrified West Virginia Division

Shooot it's been a minute. Busy times at work and home and all that jazz... Not been doing much Trainz lately, but that's alright.

also re: embankment, it's a private asset from my friend group


My latest work on this 'little' old route of mine has been in the southern division, particularly near Mahan. This is where the tracks cross I64, and let me tell you - there's a reason there was no railroad here in real life! The only way to make this work was a tunnel that is two solid miles long. Good news is that it removes the insane gradient I was fearing, bad news being... well, it's a tunnel. Tunnels suck for steam crews way back when and also making them in this game is a genuinely awful experience! But, I digress. The Mahan Tunnel leads out to the Mahan Bridge which crosses I64, connecting onto the side of the opposite mountain. I thought it might be interesting for someone out there to see how some of these ideas go through my head and how things change a bit.

A few weeks ago when I was starting to grade and adjust track in this region, I made this absurd bridge just to get the bridge down. It is not a good bridge, and that should be very obvious. It's absurd size makes it a bit impractical, and I already have one similar to this elsewhere (at the Big Springs Loop). So, it was quickly determined this needed to change.


Next, I built a second bridge right alongside it, this one taking a more realistic approach and being overall much more reasonable, but kept the original one in place. This was helpful for comparisons sake and also useful in making sure I was getting the bridge to the spot I actually wanted it to get to. In saying that, the tracks hugging the edge of the mountain changed on both sides of the interstate - one is visible in the picture below, where the straight length of the original bridge is replaced with embankments, and the other side is a few feet lower. The higher vs lower tracks are notable because the original plan was to drop the elevation on these tracks to the valley floor near Burnwell, but it turns out that while that is possible, ascending the next slope is not. Thus, the slightly lower track (newer one) doesn't drop it much at all, staying mostly level to allow for an easier advance through Burnwell towards Carbon.


The next step was removing the original bridge and the tracks it used. Then, decoration could begin - some trees and ground textures, cutting out the terrain for the tracks, bridge abutments, the road assets for the I64... Here, we can see some of that first scenery pass as well as the massive cutout that leads to a smaller tunnel.


Coating Mahan Tunnel's southern portal in trees...


And a tunnel portal after that monstrous cutout seen in the earlier photo. I don't love the texturing or terrain on the rock walls on either side, I'll have to fiddle more though I suspect I will be a bit limited in that regard - this game and cliffs do not go well together at all.


That's about as far as I got in that area. Not much time to do this stuff these days, nor the drive/energy. Nonetheless, here are two photos of trains to tide you over a little...



As a bonus thing, I did take some time to work on the Silver Lines map after all this time. I figure I'll post things about other Silverlines projects/related stuff in this thread as well, just because I'd rather not resurrect a particularly old thread of mine lol

Anyway, a map. I've cut out the uppermost lines that you can see sprouting out of Chicago - they're just placeholder lines in Google Earth. In fact everything between Cincinnati and Terre Haute there is also placeholder, as is Cambridge to Cleveland. You can see the West Virginia line on the right - there's some overlapping from the placeholder object between Parkersburg, Cambridge, and Cincinnati, but it's all there. It gives you a bit an idea of the scale of this route, I think. Keen viewers will note the fact that the Silver Lines is using the entirety of the Alton as its mainline from Chicago to St Louis, plus the St Louis to Kansas City line. I've finally gone and done up some history for the railroad, and essentially the Silver Lines is the Alton. The idea being that the predecessors to the Alton merged with a few fictional Illinois railroads and formed the original SLRR (CSLR then), which expanded too much too fast and was bankrupt after 18 years, then reorganized into the SLRR of today. That brings some pretty big changes to how midwestern railroading went about - particularly that the GM&O never bought the C&A, meaning the ICG merger was a fair bit smaller, which I think makes the SLRR vs IC relationship more interesting. Oh, you might notice the little red squiggle in Indiana - that's my shortline railroad project, the BF&E. That's another topic for some other time.

From here, I have to determine the lines throughout the rest of Missouri and Kansas, then there's more to be said in Indiana and Ohio, plus something into Michigan. The states aren't even pictured here but Wisconsin and Minnesota have some SLRR tracks of course, even an iron range in the latter. Likely I'll do more line-stealing and concocting some strange things of my own, but it's taking shape finally. I'd like the railroad to venture a little further south into Kentucky, maybe dip its toes into Tennessee, but, well, we'll see. Not sure where the railroad will officially end in terms of the western reaches - what you see here on the east is pretty much as far as it goes, but other than bringing it out to Omaha, I'm not sure. All in good time, anyway.


But, after that, that's all I have for today, not too much really. I'm sure I'll do more stuff in time, but for now...

Off and on, off and on... mostly off, but sometimes on. I spend my freetime chasing the real thing more these days - catching IC motors nearly daily is actually quite fun!

Big news: we got wires!




A new area scenic'd - Cambria, WV.


Approaching Dixie, WV.


Those steel platforms are a bit on the tall side, but that's the necessary evil at the moment if I want to be able to have the EF1/2/3/4/5s running under the wires properly. In the future, the hope is to get some Milwaukee pantographs with the variable pantograph height script put in, but all in good time. For now, I'm just happy to have some suitable catenary finally! Big thanks to Matt/atsf854, wouldn't have these without him, so big up chief

Until next time,

Thanks, Ben! I like to think the open doors are the SLRRs way of onboard airconditioning lol

Having the catenary start going in has been wonderful. Even though this route will never be completed - far too big - it's still nice to be able to put a visual to the thoughts & writings I've had bouncing around for so long now.

E13, an EF-5 motor, joins GP38-2 on the rear of a coal train that's pulling into Belva, WV. Though the train made it out of Clear Creek without too much hassle, the upcoming grade at Independence will be a tougher one.

Ahead of the northbound coal train is a doublestack train, something a little newer for the division. Intermodal traffic isn't particularly common here, being that it's usually only sent across when other routes are too trafficked or suffering from blockage, so it always gets high priority when it does. Two EF-4s take point on this train, also northbound.

A third Little Joe performs helper duties on the rear end of the intermodal. This grade is steep enough to warrant the extra power - plus, it did need to return to Boaz for work anyways, so it's a win-win for everyone.

With its Boxcab helpers on the rear, an SD45 and SD38 in the middle, E44s E30 & E31, along with SD40-2s 3814 & 4006, and finally SD50 4058, all work to lug the coal north through the grade. Shadows are reigning king here at the sharp curve at Bentree as the train squeals around the turn.

SLRR still doesn't know how it feels about SD50s yet.

The E44s and SDs have made it up the grade and grind the rails at the Independence Summit. Now, the battle to keep control as one half of the train descends the grade and the other half ascends truly begins. With another 130 miles ahead of them, they've got a long rest of their day.

Today, we do something a little different - visualizing a scene mentioned in passing in the great big book of silverlines lore in the sky. Here's a quote:

Regular freight service slowed, as did passenger service. The PRR was struggling to make the West Virginia division profitable during the dramatic economic downturn. To make matters worse, in 1938 a six-car passenger train out of Charleston collided with a northbound freight train at Whetstone, sending coaches into the Elk River and blocking the entire line. The already falling ridership plummeted and the damage was costly.

So, for the hell of it, here's the aftermath of the 1938 derailment:




The non-edited photos are also found in here if those are more your interest:

I think I've mentioned it here before but the biggest thing for me with this route is creating visuals for the writing in the background, so this is the kind of stuff I like doing most.

Here's something silverlines and electric but not on the route, just for fun


That looks awesome :D :mop: More please


Your wish is my command!


It's October 1972 and the rebuilds of the Boxcabs are finally coming to an end. Just the week before, all 39 remaining box motors received new numbers and were re-classed. The final four to be rebuilt were EF-5 E13ACDB. Now that the majority of the work is done, E13 follows in the footprints of its sisters and trundles onto the test track with two SD40-2s and a dynamometer car behind it. The SD40-2s will be thrown into dynamics to help simulate a loaded train and give E13 something to pull against while the dynamometer car will record data that will help inform the Boaz shop crew if any more work needs to be done. Meanwhile, a pair of brand new GP38-2s take a GP9 and GP30 with them to haul a manifest train westward out of the Boaz yard.



Hardly a quarter mile west of Substation #1 is the end of the wires - or beginning, depending on your point of view. The four geeps spit smoke as they get their heavy mixed freight out of the yard. Of note is a familiar flag on the front door of 3211 - a few dozen engines had them slapped on the front of engines. It was a small nod towards the railroads growing irritation with the ICC and other government regulations, most notably their wishes for deregulation. Eight years later they would get their wish and many of the gadsen stickers disappeared, but once and a while you can spot one lingering on today.


1972 saw the railroad acquire more locomotives than it had in the past decade combined, due mostly to the success of the Dash Two line. It was damn near everything the railroad wanted in new motive power and they certainly let EMD know that fact. New and old geeps depart the electrified division and enter the Parkersburg Division [Cambridge, OH, to Parkersburg, WV].



Flashing forward a few years, and suddenly Staggers has been passed, the Little Joes and Conrail electrics acquired, and a new, closer, power plant has been constructed. Here in 1985, operations on the electrified division have become pretty routine. E75 / E4AB / 3974 lead a loaded coal train past former PRR, one time Conrail, E44 #E39. The E44s were very multi-purpose engines, often finding themselves switching cars in the light industrial areas or moving road freights and smaller transfer trains. E39 gets to spend some time shuffling cars at the recently completed Pleasants Power Station here at Willow Island, WV. The power plant finished construction in 1979 despite the prior years construction incident and had its coal reception built in mind for the Silver Lines electric program. All tracks, save for a few storage tracks, are operable by electrics - even the small branch to get to the fly ash loader!



In later years, the Silver Lines began acquiring seemingly random locomotives second-hand for nearly scrap value. The railroad regularly had trouble with keeping enough motive power on hand, and so a few old units for cheap often helped alleviate these problems. The 9000-series is a mess of engines, some new and some old, with nearly completely random numbers and even more random power choices. Former Southern Pacific 9243 didn't even need to be renumbered - it was simply patched up and sent out to help wherever it was needed. Along with three SD50s, the old SD45T-2 leads a run-through mixed freight southbound with Boxcab helpers at the rear.


I like , But know ya can do better . :hehe: Really liking your route . :D


PS A Q , are you doing the signals ? I'm seeing one I haven't before . Along with the Cat . :wave:

The signals are the JR PRR PL signals from one of their routes - there is a full library of parts in the mesh library so you can kitbash any signal you want. A friend of mine did a big set of PLs, so I have a nice variety to work with. The catenary is from atsf854's old BCOL Tumbler Ridge project and have been a great addition to the route thus far. Still need to figure out what to do for bridges, but... thats another day.

Boxcabs at Mt. Zion, then Chloe.



Some leaser action,


E31 suffered a mechanical issue near Smithville and is little more than a paperweight on a midday southbound. Thankfully, there was some extra power helping a northbound that was pulled off after the Big Springs grade that was able to take the lead.





At the north end of the Belva siding, two EF4s lead some coal past empties, with E4AB pushing the latter.


I have another Q . Are going to release the skins ? OK two . Payware of DLS ? Looks like you are having fun . Well done

Thanks guys, appreciate it!

I have another Q . Are going to release the skins ? OK two . Payware of DLS ?

Unfortunately none of the skins can be released as they are all done on models that are either payware or private/unreleased. Similarly, the route itself will probably never be released as it's too large to be finished and about half of the assets used for it are payware/custom/modified.


Here's something neat. This shot is almost a year old already actually, and it's me just handbuilding a little scene on my diorama route based solely on some not-so-great Google maps info. Inspection train arriving in Colcord, WV, where PRR stored old coal cars that were now surplus as the mine had closed.


So, I decided the other day to brute force my trackwork through the mountains and get over to Colcord on the DEM. It took another three mile long tunnel, but I made it there and was able to get the scene started. So, here's the new, canon, version of the inspection train arriving in Colcord, WV. Circa 1968.


Quite a difference! Very happy with how it's coming along in this area now. You can't see it from here, but the Budd cars have also had their logos replaced with the proper canon diamond logo to replace that old and outdated one.

A photo from the first two posts in the thread saw SLRR 3006, a GP30, and 3 GP9s hauling in some of these old PRR hoppers during the early operations after the Silverlines takeover of the division. I recreated the lashup and let it roll around a bit. Here, 3006 summits Independence:


Check this one though! I was given a little ole PSD and whipped up brand new, canon, ph4 SLRR SW1500s. Numbered 3020 to 3044, 25 of these critters arrived on the railroad in 1970 and roll around the network.


Doing these finally gave me the kick I needed to update handrails on more locomotives. The ugly yellow colour I've been using is too neon for my tastes and I've been meaning to correct it for ages, so I've gone and done that for most engines on roster now. I believe I just need to do the SD38 and then everything will be up to par.

A pair of SW1500s working in tandem at Boaz Yard:


A few years later, another pair has worked its way into the Boaz facility and idles outside the shop complex. Meanwhile, three new SD50s saunter their way out of the shops to get some empties moving. Note the updated handrails!


That's about all I have for now, so 'till next time.

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Ah, a month has passed, and I've got little to show for it. Such is the way she goes, really. Life's been weird and busy lately and I just haven't felt like doing terribly much in Trainz, else I'd probably go insane with how this game drives me and everyone I know up the wall with its antics. If we could go five minutes without precaching and have a skybox that didn't look twenty years out of date...

I've swapped out the tracks in the Dixie woodchip plant for RTRAX, which the author generously gave me a copy of. Some procedural tracks definitely make a nice difference in the details department - that's what this game lacks a lot of, detail. Here, SLRR 2491 brings a work train into the short industrial spur.


I'm considering swapping some of the tracks in the railyards and Boaz shop complex to RTRAX as well. I'd do it for the whole mainline, but the current track I use for it and the embankments match just a little too perfectly for me to totally replace. For now, anyway. Maybe I'll do some reskinning of tracks and embankments and be able to replace everything - it'd be nice to get the whole route full of procedural tracks!

Meanwhile, one of the massive bridges at Lizemores towers over the small settlement. A few SD40-2s and an N&W SD45 on lease are screaming in full dynamics as they struggle to hold back the coal loads behind them on the steep grades of the Lizemores Valley. There's nearly a dozen big bridges that make up the valley, where tracks twist and turn and make heavy downhill coal drags a dangerous operation. Extreme caution is advised to all crews, and the speed limit is rather low. Lizemores itself is home to a few dozen homes, a few small local businesses, and a church. Small dirt roads wind through the trees and mountains to connect the community together along West Virginia Route 12.


After the SD50 fiasco, SLRR's trust in EMD had been shaken gravely. While the SD50s were improved upon and became generally good units after time, large orders from EMD seemed unlikely. Indeed, the SD60 saw a limited number acquired by the railroad - though an improvement over the SD50. In 1981, the railroad took ownership of 35 slightly troubled SD50s, and five years later, 45 SD60s appeared on the roster. The 60s were liked well enough, and were certainly better than their prior cousin, so the company was willing to take a few additional units. Three years later, five SD60Ms were bought to try out widecabs. That was a big moment for the railroad. But, here in late 1986, SD60 4524 leads a few of its more distant cousins northbound through Dixie on another coal drag. By this time, most of these trains were primarily electric, but diesel power was still a relatively common sight as runthrough power. To allow the railroad a better understanding of the new EMD 710s capabilities, 4524 was given the opportunity to lead through the steep grades and tight curves of the WV division. It told the company that EMD wasn't quite dead yet, but they still needed something more from them.


Most of my work lately has been in tinkering with the BF&E route and another big DEM I acquired, which is the SLRR's Champaign sub - from Pontiac, IL, to Terre Haute, IN. Being a primarily midwestern carrier, I needed to have something to show off the SLRR's home turf. This gave me a chance to refine the route a bit and further develop the proper backstory for the formation of the company. Here's a few snippets from that route-

SD50 4045, SD45 2994, and ex-SP 9423 lead a string of grainers beneath the R2 signals that guard the crossover from the SLRR's Chicago to St Louis route - the Alton's route, in fact! SLRR is now canonically a Chicago & Alton derivative - and onto the Champaign sub, beginning here at Pontiac, IL. The 'Alton' route is still doubletracked, but the Pontiac to Terre Haute route was converted to single track decades ago after traffic dropped post-steam era.

SD60s have this intermodal train well under control as it passes under the cantilever that directs trains south over the crossover. To the right is Route 66, by the way!


SD45s are a startlingly common sight on intermodal trains on the Champaign sub, owing to the fact these engines hit their stride in the higher notches - and thus higher speeds, exactly what intermodal traffic demands. In the 1990s, SLRR rebuilt hundreds of its locomotives to extend their lifespans, including the SD45 fleet. Retaining their flared radiators, the SD45s are now at Dash Two specs and play with one another much nicer than before. Though they still have their 20-645E3 and are still rated for 3600hp, they don't guzzle down as much fuel as most believe.


Lastly, C44-9W 4903 leads autoracks south towards Kansas City with ex-UP 3446 in tow. The aforementioned SD60Ms made the railroad intrigued by widecabs, and the railroad followed GE's suggestion and went forward with widecabs becomming the standard for new motive power. Interestingly enough, SLRR did not decide to do this with EMD, as the 100 SD70s were built with standard cabs instead - though the 70 ACe's acquired in 06 broke this rule, and also were the last order from EMD. The Dash 9s, as well as previous iterations in the Dash 8 line, were liked well enough. The railroad had a tough time deciding between power choices - AC vs DC? It ended up ordering bits of both, with 100 DC Dash Nines entering service and 75 AC44s joining them, all between 1994 and 1995. The AC power tends to stick to the regions with heavier grades or trains, and these days, SLRR doesn't bother with new DC power. Nonetheless, the DC designs will last for longer yet still.

Speaking of DC engines, an SD38 powers a local train out of Pontiac and up to Dwight.


That's all I've got for now. Till next time, whenever that is with whatever it is.

Work, work, work. Here are some recent scenes.

June, 1971. The Silver Lines is well-underway on electrifying the West Virginian division, but with the Boxcabs still in the Boaz shops, everything is under diesel power still. Approximately 90.7 miles south of Boaz, we find an oddity in the division - a US&S R2 has replaced the familiar Pennsy Position Light that once stood in its very place. The PL, now rusting away on the side of the tracks, was pulled down the month before after it sustained damage due to a Penn Central freight and dragging equipment. With the nearest replacement PL or parts some 90 miles to the north, an R2 was pulled in and dropped in its place. The only reason they had an R2 this far out from home was because a pair of them had been stashed on a work train that was repairing the tracks near Chloe, two miles to the north.

SD40s 2672 and 2689 are running light towards Nebo to pick up a short train awaiting them there.


The SD40 duo slows to a crawl as it encroaches on the Nebo mine tracks. The signals here are another oddity - the siding at Nebo and subsequent mine track came as a surprise addon to the Pennsylvania line, and as a result, things are particularly cramped all throughout. The siding ended up being rather useful, as farther south, sidings were difficult to employ due to the terrain. The dwarf PL protects the mine track, while the two full-size PLs guard the main and the siding as they converge into one. Normally, the signal for the siding would be a dwarf, but it was decided to put a full-size signal in instead so as to help avoid confusion for crews.


Gritty coal tracks, restricted to only 10mph, sit below the mainline and its siding. The SD40s, having switched leaders, lug their 25 loaded cars away from the mine where a pair of old GP9s have been working. Nebo is a low-capacity and low-production mine - its location makes it unsuitable to store many cars there, and as the mine produces only a small amount of the black rocks, small batches of cars ended up being the right way to go. While the coal train, C827-1, works to exit the mine track, an empty work train has the right-of-way as it barrels north. The GP40-led train is helping supply catenary and associated equipment to crews working along the line, and as such, it gets priority.


With permission to rejoin the main a short while later, C827-1 makes haste and drags north. Though two SD40s and 25 coal cars is a short train, the grades and curvature of the route make it a struggle no matter what. Once again, the train passes 90.7 and the fallen Position Light.


Two miles north and the train has crossed over to a strangely modern scene. Catenary crews have built up the line to MP 89 already, and with a brand new bridge over WV Route 16 installed just a few years prior, C827-1 looks strangely out of place as it spits smoke upon the wires that will result in the removal of their own kind. In a decade, the majority of power on the division will be electrified, including Nebo mine runs like C827-1.


Clean power for a dirty resource - an oxymoron if ever there was one. For the time being, however, diesels will continue pumping out fumes as they collect the loaded coal hoppers, but the stage is already set for a radical change in the future. Some things, like the blocked PRR depot at Chloe, or the little downtown and simple housing just out of frame, won't change though. No matter what the railroad does, it will always be a simple life in these small towns dotted throughout the mountains.


shoooodang check it out, I am both posting and with new content no less. stellar!

As a sponsor/investor of the new CPS SD70s, I had sone done up for everybody's favourite monochrome railroad.

I like SD70s. In the weird canon of SLRR, they singlehandedly doubled the SD70 production - 100 units broken into two orders. The R-class Project brought back a lot of good motive power for the railroad and modernized plenty, but the eternally power hungry railroad craved something a bit extra, and with the last of the old units collapsing into piles of dust, 60, then 40 extra, SD70s more than made up for them. Also, standard cab SD70s are cool. Shame on NS for those ACC abominations.

Here, the class unit, SLRR 4740, leads two other 70s - with an EF-1 on the rear as helpers - across the division. You know the drill.







Somewhere along the way, SLRR E34 joins the SD70s as a front-end helper. The E44 was the first engine I applied the ph4 scheme on, and this was what served as the base for the SD70s. Phase 4c is the official designation.



E34 was left behind at Alloy. You'll note the lack of catenary here - just haven't gotten around to catenary in most areas yet, quite simply.


This is an area I've not shown around here at all yet, if memory serves. I have actually built into Clear Creek, the home of the major coal mine for the route. Saying its in the prototype stages would be downplaying it quite a bit! But the main entrance is in, so that's something. The yard and mine access need a lot of work, just due to the tough terrain.


Really not much to say route work wise, been busy irl with work + real trains. Done a lot of traveling these past few months and spent a lot more time in my own backyard hunting down IC SD70s (hence why I commissioned those SD70s in the first place!). Any time I do have for Trainz, I end up just closing it after a few minutes. Just not feeling the game too much these days, but maybe something will come to me eventually. Or another game... that could always happen too. At any rate, there are now SD70s floating about, so that'll make for good stuff! IC/CN/CNIC (and others coming soon) are available on CPS, and I believe even the SLRR ones may show up there in some capacity (but don't quote me on that lol).