2016-06.2: Bob Case's B&O West End

10 Jun 2016

Average: 4.9 (27 votes)
22:35 - June 2016 Act II - Bob Case’s Baltimore & Ohio West End (2016)

Bob Case decided that he wanted to recapture the feeling of being in West Virginia in the spring of 1948 whenever he walked into his basement.  He spent many days on the Baltimore & Ohio’s West End between Cumberland, Maryland and Grafton, West Virginia to gather photos and data to build his dream layout.

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Tbgarland's picture

I admit even though this is a nice model railroad I had to cringe when the documentary went into detail about walking the tracks. As a locomotive engineer I come upon people walking the tracks everyday. Some use it for recreational purposes and others just as a part of their daily routine. What they fail to realize is just how dangerous it really is. I guess because people assume that a train is slow and loud they will have time to get out of the way. But the fact is many trains are very fast and with roller bearing wheels can make little noise when going downgrade. When a train strikes a trespasser the aftermath is more gruesome than any horror movie. I won't go into detail but I can say on my daily run I come across places next to our mainline where crosses have been erected as a reminder of someone's loved one that lost his or her life while walking the tracks. Railroad tracks including up to 50' from the centerline is private property and anyone on or around the tracks without permission is considered trespassing and subject to fines with possible jail time. For that I am disappointed in Model Railroad Hobbyist Magazine and TrainmasterTV for condoning such action in the documentary of this model railroad.


Tim Garland

NS Locomotive Engineer

I am disappointed in Model Railroad Hobbyist Magazine and TrainmasterTV for condoning such action in the documentary of this model railroad.

We're just reporters and we told what happened - plus this was many years ago now. It is what it is, and in our modern times, we've become a whole lot more paranoid about a lot of things. I morn the loss of some of our innocence and our litigation-happy and overprotective society we have now thanks to vandalism and terrorism in this century, along with people just being recklessly foolish. I have many great memories 50 years ago of walking the railroad tracks as a kid and engineers gleefully waving back as they passed. Those days made a great impression on me as to how dramatic railroading was, but I fear all today's kids are going to get is to be told to keep away from those dangerous behemouths and to see trains as something to avoid - large or small.

The world has definitely changed, although I'd really prefer to get a reasonable warning to stay back/be careful (quite appropriately so) without being tarred and feathered for just reporting history as it was from a more innocent time.

--Joe Fugate, MRH and TMTV

Tbgarland's picture


Thanks for the response and I did not mean to tar and feather anyone. I wish it was that easy to just say please stay back and off the tracks. The sad part is in today's society we have all kinds of risk takers and people who feel they can do anything they wish without any repercussion to their actions. I am not looking at this from a company perspective but as a plea from an engineer like so many other engineers in the past who have lived with the same nightmares I have. This is nothing new. The helpless feeling one has when you know there is absolutely nothing you can do but hope somehow a person makes it to safety before impact. I have had numerous close calls and also some that didn't make it in time. The sound it makes when striking a trespasser haunts you and you never forget it. As a young conductor I recall walking back after one such incident to the point of impact. The walk was what seemed like one of my longest walks of my life. I can remember the sound of the ballast under my boots as I took each step. The ticking noise from the air brake system on the cars with the train in emergency. Watching someone take his last breath. I don't wish this on anyone. This is not some kind of game. This is real. Just the other day I had three teenagers playing chicken in front of my train as I was heading straight for them at 60 mph! The stories are endless. Yes Railroading and trains are romantic and captivating. It is what brought me to the hobby and my dream job many years ago. Hopefully my thoughts will make someone think if nothing else. Watch the trains, enjoy the action, take notes you can use in your modeling efforts, but from me please keep off the tracks.


Great layout and story line.


TMTV Station Agent's picture

Note that in his interview that Bob never actually said where he rode his bike.  We could go ahead and assume that it was on an access road along the right-of-way, on a parallel hunting trail or deer path, or even right between the rails (quite unlikely).  He just doesn't say.  Let's not jump to the most horrifying and irresponsible scenario.  It's entirely possible that the biggest risk Bob took on his journeys was getting behind the wheel of an autiomobile or eating at a fast food restaurant.

I think we can all agree that nowadays trespassing on railroad property is tolerated less than it used to be.  I can remember being allowed to roam around unsupervised in CN's busy Spadina Roundhouse in Toronto when I was about 15 years old.  I was told I could go wherever I wanted as long as I didn't move any locomotives.  No one would dream of letting something like that happen today.  It's quite possible that alert, well-bahaved vistors were welcome in a place like the wilderness of West Virginia 15 or 20 years ago.

Tim's comments are valid.  Watching trains from off the property is the best choice.  There are very few places along a railroad that can't be documented without going on the tracks and putting yourself in harm's way.

Now if only Bob had access to drone aerial photography back in the day!

- Barry, TrainMasters TV producer/editor

Extremely well done! I really enjoyed this layout.

sorry for being so late with my comments and viewing of this segment.  I really enjoyed it. The idea of using a bike to ride along a portion of your modeled prototype is a great idea. You can sure eat up a bunch of miles that way. It is unfortunate in today's litigating world where everyone fears one another and trespassing could be tantamount to industrial sabotage, you just might not be able to walk the tracks. I'll spare you the stories of hanging around the SP yard in Martinez in the mid seventies. I learned a lot from the SP guys that ran that little yard and wish I had taken more pictures. In my case the line that I model is abandoned. It runs mostly through the western slope of the Sierra's, so the only danger for me has been a hard look or two by ranchers who've spotted me along the line. There's nothing like seeing what your going to model before you model it.


Tom Ebert

Auburn, Ca