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Gateway to the Cumberland Valley: PRR/N&W Southern Division, Part 1

The Manhattan Limited is at Horn Tower with Quick Sand & Coal Yard siding from Track 1 that was taken from Frank Ellison’s old layout. Mr. William B. Quick just came out of the office.

Gateway to the Cumberland Valley: PRR/N&W Southern Division, Part 1

September/October 2022By Joe Ioele and Bob Leverknight/photos by Bob Leverknight

Follow us on a trip to the long vanished world of central Pennsylvania, mid-Maryland, the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, and finally the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The year is 1957. Steam frequents Pennsylvania Railroad’s (PRR) Harrisburg facilities, the Electric Shop still cares for the fleet of GG1s that come in from New York City and dispatches burly K4s and M1s south to Norfolk & Western (N&W) by way of the Cumberland Valley Line.

The PRR Southern Division started as the Cumberland Valley Branch running from Harrisburg, Pa., to Winchester, Va. Thereafter, it joined the N&W Shenandoah Valley trackage to extend to Roanoke, Va. An agreement between the two lines allowed PRR passenger and freight trains to travel from Harrisburg to Roanoke. PRR built a large engine facility at Hagerstown consisting of an eight-stall roundhouse with 11 outside tracks for both PRR and N&W engines, a large coal wharf, and a diesel and electric service facility. The yard had capacity for 126 cars, an REA terminal, a 12-car coach yard, a 39-car passenger yard, and a large refrigeration icing building for either block or crushed ice.

Cumberland Valley

ABOVE: The Manhattan Limited passing through the town of Blue Ridge, which is an old town with a crossing guard at Fairfield Avenue waiting for the train to pass to lift the gates. 

Starting in 2001, Joe Ioele began this undertaking, building the Cumberland Valley in his home near York, Pa. This labor of love was completed in 2020. To say it is complete is an understatement. Starting with a finished basement room, Joe added a coved backdrop, working his way out, adding scenery, many scratchbuilt structures, impeccable trackwork, and an accurate, working PRR and N&W position light signaling system. The walls were painted a light sky blue with clouds. Ground cover from Scenic Express and Woodland was used and the soil or dirt is all natural. Trees, bushes, shrubbery, and flowers are a mix of ScenicExpress SuperTrees and Woodland Scenics.

Stations and industries from Winchester to Roanoke were taken up for operations by PRR and N&W with the Pocahontas Colliery serviced by N&W. The corporate offices for both PRR and N&W are located at the Hagerstown Yard. Structures are Woodland Scenics and MTH. Some buildings are modified and others are scratchbuilt to match the prototype. Railroad towers are all follow PRR prototype…

Cumberland Valley

ABOVE: Coming in on Track 3, the Roanoke section of the Manhattan Limited is arriving at Middle Creek Station with Rail Road Avenue below. 

September/October 2022Read the rest of this story in the Sep/Oct 2022 issue of O Scale Trains. Subscribe Today!


This article was posted on: October 25, 2022