The Thomas Subdivision is the CSX line that runs through Kitzmiller MD. Actually, it goes through Blaine WV which is the itsy-bitsy little town just across the Potomac river bridge from Kitzmiller. Nevertheless, it is the coal mine haul that will be modeled on the LK&O. Thanks to an email advertisement from Pacific Western Rail Systems this weekend I happened across the perfect locomotive for the application – “The Spirit of Cumberland” SD70MAC. And it was on the clearance sale page! If you have never been a customer of Pacific Western Rail Systems then you owe it to yourself to check them out. Their customer service is top notch. For example, having read so many forum posts about troubles with the trucks on 6 axle diesels, I requested PWRS unpack the locomotive and verify that all of the axles are square and true to the rails before shipping it to me. Not only did they do just that but I also received an email explaining in detail the appearance and operation of the unit on their test layout. You can’t beat that kind of one-on-one personal service. Their web site is here.
Cumberland MD is where CSX has a large locomotive service facility. More information about the Cumberland CSX shops can be found here. Cumberland is also the closest major city to Kitzmiller. Kitzmiller residents go to Oakland for general shopping but if it can’t be had in Oakland then Cumberland is the shopping destination. Cumberland has important association with the folks in Kitzmiller and that is what the LK&O is all about – a railroad with relevance. Eventually, the LK&O will need CSX motive power anyway so why not now and what could be better to pull coal through Kitzmiller than The Spirit of Cumberland?