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HO Scale - Kitbashing Through Coal Country

    I am an Eastern expatriate: New Jersey until 1967 when I enlisted in the Army. I've been around the world and back seven times...retiring in 1987 from 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, CO. Model railroading became one of my numerous hobbies when growing up starting with the mandatory Lionel layout, graduating to HO scale - a Tyco set at Christmas when I was in sixth grade.

    My layout, Coal Belt Lines, owned and operated by the Allegheny & Eastern Transportation Corporation is HO scale...The theme or purpose of the CBL (Coal Belt Lines) is coal hauling...from the central region of Pennsylvania, the Hazelton - Wilkes-Barre areas. The setting is the transition period of Penn Central to Conrail c. 1972 - 1985. The CBL is a product of major corporate frustration with the current rail transportation situation in 1968. The CBL is a hodge-podge of prime movers and rolling stock purchased third hand, but the new owners of the CBL soon became a major player in the rail transportation system in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The intent was to work with as much of the actual area as I was able and to fill in with towns I literally had to dream up.

    The layout literally fills the basement of the house....1,092 sq ft...four ft. wide at major points to eighteen inches...picture a capital C. The first section built is what is now Radnor; South Palmerton was second: I pretty much worked in reverse order on the towns, Porterville, which represents the big anthracite coal mining town and its attendant railroad was somewhere around last. Higgins Corner, a small Allegheny mountain mining town is itself another story.

    As you can see, I have attached several pictures of DPM structures that I have severally kitbashed and a couple that were built using the modular kit sections. Also, note that all but three of the railroad stations are boarded up...the late 70's and rail passenger service on a steep decline and regional service is all but gone. The apartments, which I modified...I got that idea long time ago from an article in MR on kitbashing add-ons which again in real-world practice seems to go without saying in major eastern cities.

    The structure I used for both buildings was the Laube's Linen Mill. The only change I made to the Recycle Center was to add the dust cyclone. However, the Abandoned Tool & Die company was a bit harder to decide what I wanted to do with the building. Recognize the truck? I e-mailed these to a guy at work who is just getting started in the hobby for his critique. He asked me, "Where did you find the truck? That's Great!" I explained to him about DPM (and) Woodland Scenics line of vehicles, many of which fit the region and era I am modeling.

    I couldn't remember if I sent the pictures of the back side of the same Town House set that I used in South Palmerton, I used them in Porterville. I added the backsides to change the appearance of the buildings. I did similar with the ones in South Palmerton.