Our journey over the Alliance branch begins at Minerva yard (MP 42.1). The roundhouse was originally built by
Chip Syme in 1977 for his HO scale Penn Central Valley Division. The board shows two locomotive consists
made up by the hostler. Extra 1772 South, engine house lead, called for 3 pm, Extra, Hopedale turn. Extra 7255
South called for 3:30 pm, MJ 2/1 to pull and place Jensie Mine on the Wolf Run Branch. The B&M locomotive is
not out of place. When prototype PC needed locomotives, B&M units would come to Minerva occasionally
for assignment on southbound mine runs.
Layout construction began in November 1997. Track laying is complete, with scenery about 65% complete. The track plan is designed as a point to point operation, but has a connecting track that permits continuous running. The layout consists of three line segments which closely represents the PC train operation, actual towns, industry and coal mines of:
* Former NYCS: Newton Falls (MP 4.4) to Alliance (MP 24.7) PC Newton Falls Secondary Track, north end, various general industry.
* Former NYCS: Minerva, Ohio (MP 41.4) to Piney Fork, Ohio (MP 82.8), PC Alliance Branch, south end, coal operation
* Former PRR: Minerva, Ohio (MP 2.7), to Alliance, Ohio, PC Tuscarawas and Mahoning Secondary Tracks, and Alliance (designated MP 67 on Cleveland main line) to Hudson, Ohio (MP 96.9), main line Alliance to Cleveland, west end, various general industry.
Layout operation follows the prototype train symbols, train orders and clearance forms. Average train movement consists of:
* One yard assignment (MN 101) at Minerva;
* Three coal trains (MJ 2, PF 2, extra when needed), south, originate/terminate Minerva, work coal operations between Bergholz and Piney Fork.
* One switch run (NF 1), north, originate/terminate Minerva, work general industry Alliance and Newton Falls.
* One through freight (MD 1), west, originate Minerva, takes coal and general industry traffic to Hudson (lays over end of division/staging area).
* One local (Hudson local), west, originate/terminate Alliance, work general industry at Alliance, Ravenna, and Hudson.
|Mechanical Department shanty at the locomotive facility||Extra 1878 North, PF2, pulling loads at Piney Fork mine (MP 82.8). Due to the start of the two week coal miners vacation, the crew will not be placing any empty hoppers tonight.||Extra 1772 South, Hopedale turn, just south of Watheys siding (MP 50). In background, Extra 3014 North, PF1, is coming down a 1 percent grade near Apex (MP 69.5), approaching Amsterdam, Ohio||Extra 1772 South, Hopedale turn, at north end of Watheys siding (MP 48.2). The freight station was built in 1978 by Chip Syme. Chip says that it caught fire in early 1990's, but is fairly silent on how that fire started.|
|Extra 1772 South, Hopedale turn, nearing Watheys siding. Looks like the track inspector has parked his vehicle at the shanty. The crew will have to look out for him.||Extra 1709, Hudson local, Alliance, Ohio (MP67). This assignment reports on duty at Alliance and switches industries at Alliance, Ravenna, and Hudson, Ohio. Extra 7380 East, MD2, is standing on Number 2 main track, near Alliance (MP 71).||Extra 1772 South, Hopedale turn, entering the siding at Bergholz, Ohio (MP 60.8), to meet Extra 3014 North, PF1, bringing loaded hoppers from Piney Fork to Minerva yard. As on the prototype, northbound trains have superiority. The empty hoppers are awaiting loading from trucks.||Extra 1709, Hudson local, with caboose PC 21704, standing on north leg of wye at Alliance, Ohio (MP 67). Extra 3014 North, PF1, is standing on the connecting track which permits continuous running on this point to point layout.|
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