Railroad Model Craftsman

Building a Modern Short Line: Hazard County

Building a Modern Short Line: Hazard County

Modern railroading is exciting. Massive high horsepower locomotive haul strings of high capacity cars in seemingly endless strings over continuously welded steel right of ways. Even though most of us don’t see it in our daily lives, railroads are the back bone of the modern transportation network. They are integral to every aspect of modern life from the electricity that powers our nation to the consumer goods that stock retail shelves.

As model railroaders capturing these major operations in our limited space can prove difficult if not almost impossible. However, by focusing on some of the out of the way short line and industrial operations that continue to feed the major railroads we can model the modern scene in a believable manner. The Hazard County Short Line was conceived, designed and built with the average model railroader’s time and space constraints in mind.

This fictitious short line is located in Hazard County, a section of central Georgia which happens to have rich deposits of kaolin clay lying just below the topsoil. The railroad’s sole customer is the Georgia Kaolin Processing Corporation that mines and processes kaolin for distribution to various commercial manufacturing firms across the nation. Since the clay is shipped in a number of forms ranging from slurry in tank cars to bagged powdered clay in boxcars or bulk in covered hopper a wide range of rolling stock can be used to service the processing plant.

A normal day on the Hazard County Short Line begins with the delivery of empty cars to the processing plant that have been picked up at the CSX interchange yard a few miles down the tracks. Loaded cars are switched out and empties take their place. Afterward the loaded cars are transferred from the Hazard County Short Line by a set of first generation industrial switchers back to the interchange yard in Hazard to be picked up by the CSX local to begin their journeys nation wide. The local also sets out empties to be returned to Georgia Kaolin for loading in the next cycle. During the day several runs are usually made between the plant and yard punctuated by CSX run throughs and locals on the main line.

With the stage set and the story told, we will take you step-by-step through the process of constructing this model railroad. Join us here in Hazard County each month for another informative installment. Y'all come back now, ya hear?



Genesis of a Track Plan

By George Riley/photos by the author



Building Up Your Railroad's Roster

By George Riley/photos by the author



Building the Benchwork for Hazard County

By George Riley/photos by the author

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