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A visit to Dan Zugelter’s C&O Railway


Deep in the New River Gorge, Sewell (above) and Kaymoor (opposite page) are important revenue sources for the C&O in 1938. Sewell has a bank of coke ovens that fills the sky with smoke by day and fire by night. The tracks of the narrow gauge Mann’s Creek R.R.. lead to the tipple behind the black workers’ shacks and bring the coal for the coke ovens here. Even with the smoke the railway has kept the combination station/tower in good shape. Quinnimont also has one of these distinctive buildings. Though quiet today, Kay- moor Mine is switched by the C&O’s huge H-4 Mallets working out of Thurmond.


West Virginia in the late 1930’s. At the same time, Dan and his son, a partner in the business, began a “spec house” in a nearby community, as they had done before. Then, the U.S. mortgage and housing industries collapsed and Dan had a nearly finished house waiting for a buyer who never came. While the spec house sat, he and his


wife, Ann, found that their house was quite salable, even with the downturn in the market. Why not sell the one that will and move to the one that won’t? It wasn’t long before the real- tors’ signs on both houses came down. The spec house had a nice pool, full landscaping, and a pool house with its own kitchen, bathroom and utilities. The pool house’s main room, its great room, if you will, was 21 by 31 feet with no interior walls or posts. Great room? For a model railroader it was better than that. It was fantastic.


The C&O in West Virginia


Dan has been a fan of the Chesa- peake & Ohio for his entire model rail- road career. He is originally from the “Ohio” part of the C&O, and one’s home town road is always a contender when


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choosing a modeling subject. He also recalls his first train ride, a trip on the Sportsman when he was ten. Then there was the famous C&O painting of the George Washington behind steam with the Capitol and monuments on the skyline. He saw it somewhere. Of that painting, he says “This steam engine really blew me away! The head- light was mounted low on the smoke- box, unlike other railroads where it was in the middle or at the top of the smokebox. In addition, all kinds of oth- er stuff was on the front of the engine. There was an Elesco feedwater heater on the top, the bell underneath, and two large air pumps on either side of the smokebox front. What a look!”Right there and then, this was my railroad!” With “what to model?” settled, the when and where didn’t take long. He chose West Virginia: coal country, the land of John Henry and the Big Bend Tunnel, the New River Gorge. The year was set as 1938, when the railroad was busy. Even during the De- pression the nation still needed coal, and the mines along C&O rails provid- ed it by the trainload. By then the com- pany had the steam locomotives it


MAY 2012


Staging yard (lower level)


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