The LK&O model railroad is an HO scale proto-free lance model railroad representing a small section of Lapeer MI, a bend in the Potomac river at Kitzmiller MD, and a swath of property in Akron OH. These areas all have specific relevance to me as explained in previous posts. In real world geography, the three areas are separated by hundreds of miles and have no real relationship to each other, railroad or otherwise. However, on my model railroad these are the three locales and the interconnecting rail lines that collectively are known as the LK&O Railroad.
The name “LK&O Railroad” is really nothing more than a convenient way of referring to my hobby. A quick check of registered reporting marks confirms the LK&O is not a real railroad. Let’s face it… An adult man simply can’t use the term “toy trains” while retaining any dignity at all. If you say “model railroad” then people tend to stereotype you as either nerdy or grandpa. LK&O, on the other hand, causes people to ask “What’s an LK&O?” Well, let me tell ya’…
The components of the LK&O are:
Lapeer MI – The Canadian National Flint subdivision runs through Lapeer. There is an active Amtrak station, Lapeer Grain, and the Lapeer Industrial RR (1.34 miles of track) serving small local industries. Fortunately, all three of these are located in very close proximity to each other and as such are extremely well suited for modeling. Although the tracks are located on the opposite side of town from where we live it is still our neighborhood. Plus, it is close by for observing details so is the most prototypical modeled section of the layout. With the grain mill and assorted businesses served by the Lapeer Industrial RR there are ample opportunities for interesting switching maneuvers to a varied selection of industries.
Kitzmiller MD – CSX hauls coal from the West Virginia and Maryland mines on the Thomas subdivision which follows the Potomac river along the WV and MD border. At a very graceful and picturesque horseshoe bend in the river sits Kitzmiller. This area is scene #2 on the LK&O. While the real life mines are not all that close to Kitzmiller, selective compression allows me to put the Mettiki Coal loading facility in the same relative area on the layout. Coal loading and the transport of loaded and empty hopper cars is the activity here. Kitzmiller is quaint little town nestled along the river bank and framed by steep mountains on both sides. A visual delight!
Akron OH – Specifically, Brittain Yard. This is scene #3, the primary scene on the LK&O, and is the focal point as well as occupying the most basement real estate. Brittain Yard was AC&Y’s primary classification yard. From there the rubber industries of Akron were served as well as manyl other businesses along the right-of-way. Additionally, the Akron Barberton Belt RR interchanged with the AC&Y at the yard limits. The east and west bound mains eventually interchange with CN and CSX respectively. Brittain Yard is the area of constant action on the LK&O.
An operational schematic of the LK&O. This is functionally how the railroad works but, of course, not how it is physically arranged on the layout.
The challenge is successfully and believably integrating the three scenes into a 25 feet by 25 feet space while preserving the illusion of distinctly different locations linked by rail. All the while trying to get the longest possible mainline length so the trains cover some distance before arriving at their destinations. On the track plan tab is my attempt to solve this challenge.