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Great Model Railroads By Allen Keller Vol. # 11


Volume 11 - W. Allen McClelland's Virginian & Ohio
The Virginian & Ohio of W. Allen McClelland needs little introduction to long-time model railroaders. This world class railroad is always included in the list of legendary layouts. Careful planning and fidelity to the prototype are two of the reasons for its fame.

This Master Model Railroader has built more than a Great Model Railroad; he has built a following among fellow modelers because of his innovations-walkaround operation/design, interchange with other railroads beyond the basement, the good enough philosophy, and pioneering command control work.

By listening to Allen you'll learn that challenging the conventional hobby wisdom of the 1960's was not easy. At times his ideas for prototype design and creating a railroad that did work by actually traveling between two points were considered revolutionary.

Allen shows you his weathering and car distressing techniques, and a new method for building open car loads. These techniques stem from his overall philosophy that no facet of the hobby outshines any other. All aspects of the hobby must blend into a cohesive package.

Like a real railroad, the 31-year-old V&O, stays current. New operating ideas, track arrangements, and time periods are part of the railroad's continuing growth..


By George Ardwin

The Virginian & Ohio R.R. is HO scale, and covers the mid 1970 era. This layout is quite well known among model railroaders. It has been featured many times in the press. The fellow that put this model empire together is Mr. Allen McClelland. As I write this review, I have the knowledge that this layout no longer exists. To put this into railroad terms, "The right of way was abandoned". But in it's place, a new V & O is taking shape, and a future review will cover it in great detail.

The motive power is all diesel. The railroads represented are the V & O and the C & O. The topography includes many Hills and mountains, along with the associated rivers, bridges and tunnels that are a part of this section of the country. The scenery is so believable that the viewer thinks he is seeing the actual scene, and not a modeled version of it. The weathering is likewise, and Allen gives a demonstration later of how he does it.

This layout used carrier control with computerized CTC for operation. He also uses a prototype "Procedure Manual" to make it work like the real thing.

The structures are a combination of kits, kitbashed and scratchbuilt.

Around 1975, a professional film crew made a movie about the V & O. A good portion of it is included in this video. Allen has a varied background in the arts, and uses that knowledge to the fullest extent in his modeling.

Here are the demos and subjects covered:

This layout was a good one, and I can hardly wait to see what the new one has to offer. I did get to visit Allen's house to see it under construction. It is a model railroaders dream and covers a large area. I'm looking forward to the next V & O review.

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