The Grafton & Cumberland railroad is free-lance railroad that is a division of the Shenandoah System through West Virginia from east to west from Cumberland Maryland to Parkersburg thru Grafton, and south to north from Charleston thru Elkins and Grafton to Wheeling. The setting for the current layout is the Charleston subdivision serving the Tygart River Valley from Elkins to Charleston. A portion of the east-west mainline is also being modeled to service interchange traffic.
The railroad occupies a 29 x 11 foot main room with a 12 x 5 side room and contains over 70 feet of signaled mainline track on the Elkins division and nearly 150 feet of signaled subdivision to Charleston WV. The main junction for these two routes is the West Elkins yard outside of Elkins WV.
The subdivision serves three main industrial areas, Beverly, Valley Bend and Blue Springs. A total of 26 trains run on an average day; 19 locals and 7 through trains, several of which drop and pick up at the West Elkins yard.
The railroad is a mix of hand laid and flex code 70 and 83 rail with several bridges to cross the valleys and gullies of the rugged terrain. Mountains abound with lots of second growth timber. The premier industry on the railroad is coal and the mine at Blue Springs contributes enough that 3 locals are needed to switch it during the course of an operating day. A unique aspect of the mine is that it is built on a module that is stored under the railroad when not in use. A dispatcher at a CTC panel controls train movement using train orders and signals with operators using car cards to determine car movement.
The Shenandoah System has a distinctive two tone grey unit paint scheme that can be seen on any railroad in the system, although several units still retain their original heritage scheme.
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