Welcome to the home of the

Kelley's Creek & Northwestern (KCNW)

Model HO Railroad


The KCNW Model Railroad is an  HO Scale (1:87.1) model of former existing railroad. The KCNW was an eight mile short line that  traveled from the mine site in Mammoth, WV down Kelley's Creek Road (WV Route 81) to the river tipple on the banks of the Kanawha River. This railroad was in operation for 90 years (from 1903 until its closing on April 3, 1993).  Most of this railroad was on a 2 1/2 to 3 percent grade. The railroad averaged moving around two million tons of coal annually.  The mine operated in two shifts and each shift on average pulled 50 cars per shift. The coal from the mine is Bituminous coal. Bituminous coal is a mineral coal that contains volatile hydrocarbons and tarry matter and burns with a yellow, smoky flame; soft coal. The company owned the two MP1500DC locomotives road numbers KCNW #1 and KCNW #2. They were later sold to Alaskan Railroad becoming ARR #1553 & ARR #1554. These were eventually sold to another company and became GMTX 205 & GMTX 206 The railroad also owned a fleet of 140 one-hundred ton quad bay bottom dump doors coal hoppers that were never interchanged these were send to Florida after the mine closed. 

In the mid 1980's, the coal company was purchased by the Quaker State Oil Company. Quaker State decided after a few years that they did not want to be in the coal business any longer so they sold all their contracts along with the equipment. Between all the men who worked at the mines and the railroad, they put around 500 people out of work.

My father Keith Richard (CB Handle FatRat) worked in the Track and Train shop when the mine closed its operations, I believe he had been with them for almost 25 years. It was always his dream to have a working HO Scale model of the railroad. The track layout was sketched by him by memory and I plotted it out.

The 8 mile railroad converts into 8 ft of HO Track. To Create this layout will be a big challenge. Not only will I have to use flex tracking to create the roadbed that had many little twists and turns, but I will have to also paint the train engines to match the paint scheme of the railroad, paint and road number 140 one-hundred ton coal hoppers quad bay bottom dump doors.

The biggest challenge of all will be my plan to have the railroad be actually operational. The cars will be loaded at the mine load-out system which was close to the actual mine site. Each car was loaded one car at a time using gravity to move the car from the track to the load chute then into the siding track to be picked up. The next challenge will be the river tipple.

For the mine river tipple, the loaded hopper cars were pulled one car at a time into the tipple, the doors were opened up and the coal fell from the bottom of the car into the waiting conveyor belts below which transported the coal to the barge on the river. Then using gravity the unloaded hopper car was released from the tipple and switched into the siding track to later be picked up by the train.

A couple of the interesting features of doing this will be the line was crossed by a CSX (Conrail) line, because KCNW was first in. When the coal trains from KCNW were moving through the 90' crossing any trains on the CSX line had to stop and wait for the KCNW trains to complete their cross.

My plan for this is to have sensors which will kill track power to the CSX main line for as long as train operations are going  across the 90' crossing. I also plan on having the load-out and tipple operations automated using sensors' and robotic operations to move the cars around in both the load-out and river tipple operations.

As I create these automatic operations I will document and even video their operations.

The picture below shows a map layout of the lower end of the KCNW rail line in red, the blue is the CSX (Conrail).

More to come later as this system project progresses.