New York, Ontario & Western FT's lead a short train headed for interchange with the Lehigh Valley in Coxton, Pennsylvania. The NYO&W shut down completely in March 1957, but a combination of interesting equipment and scenic beauty have long made this line a favorite for modelers and railfans alike.
Reflections on modeling the Ontario & Western
by Wayne Sittner/photos by the author
Over the years my layout has hosted representations of several different northeastern railroads in a few different time periods. Lately I've turned back the clock to 1955 for an operating scenario that's focused on the New York, Ontario & Western as it served the anthracite mines below Mayfield, Pa. While I grew up in the Wilkes-Barre and Scranton area of Pennsylvania, it wasn't until I moved to New York's Ulster County that I became aware of the O&W. This was in 1968 and by then the railroad had been gone for nearly a dozen years. Of interest to me was an attempt to piece together what had been.
Nearest to my new home were the remains of the O&W's Kingston Branch. As the old line worked it's way up from the main line in Summitville I found all the stations, coal, lumber and feed dealers, and creamery buildings were still intact. The draw to model the line was strong but, modeling a rural area with no real industry in the small space I had available, was out of the question. When I expanded my interest to include the anthracite mining area of the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley's of Pennsylvania I had a solution. I could easily include the O&W with the coal carrying railroads I was already familiar with: Lehigh Valley; Central Railroad of New Jersey; Delaware, Lackawanna & Western; and the Delaware & Hudson. Does it get any better? The following pictures represent a small servicing area on my layout that caters to the needs of the crews that handle the mine runs and interchange points with the other railroads in the area.
Poking around the yard
This view is looking across the caboose track, with a typical O&W maintainence shed and coal bin nearby. Both structures are scratchbuilt from photos and measurements I made from the prototype.
Fueling a cab unit
An NYO&W F3A waits patiently on the fueling track. This model was extensively rebuilt from an Athearn F7.
Everything is clear from up here
An overhead view of the service facilities. The concrete foundation pads that appear next to the F3 are all that's left of the coal pocket. As diesels take over, the water tank will be gone soon as well.
Checking in at the Yard Office
Here's a look at the yard office. This model was built from plans of a building that existed in the O&W's Mayfield Yard.
The "Small Hook"
The small 25-ton crane and flat car were scratch-built based on photos that are in the O&W Historical Society archives.
The yard from above
Another overview of the modeled area on my layout. A coal dealer appears in the distance. This model is scratchbuilt based on structures that still exist in Beacon, New York. In the area of the engine servicing tracks an NW2 has a short train of cars set to go out on a local.
Our local is nearing the switches to the main. An Armour reefer at the Franklin Beef Co. has been unloaded and awaits a pull.
One last look at the yard office
Passing the yard office the local heads for the main with it's short train.