The Momentous Mountain Subdivision
Written by Gary Dolzall
Baltimore & Ohio’s fabulous Mountain Subdivision – the railroad’s historic and legendary “West End” crossing of the Alleghenies – is coming soon to Train Simulator in a momentous route!
In the long and renowned life of the Baltimore & Ohio, the railroad’s steel route stretching deep into West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains was called “The West End.” In the Chessie System era – and today as part of CSX – it is the Mountain Subdivision. By any name, it is one of the most historic, iconic, demanding, and awe-inspiring railroad main lines in America.
Soon, in a highly detailed route set during the Chessie System era, the B&O Mountain Subdivision is coming to Train Simulator in a route which will feature 140 miles of main line, four locomotive models in multiple liveries, more than 20 types of freight equipment, and thirteen realistic career scenarios!
The Mountain Subdivision, B&O’s original main line across the Alleghenies which opened in 1852, extends from Cumberland, Maryland to Grafton, West Virginia, a distance of 101 route miles. Also included in the upcoming Train Simulator edition are more than 30 route miles of the Western Maryland Railway’s Thomas Subdivision, B&O’s sprawling Cumberland Terminal, and portions of several other B&O subdivisions.
Created for Train Simulator by High Iron Simulations with the team of expert and renowned developers who built the popular CSX Hanover Subdivision route, the upcoming B&O Mountain Subdivision will recall the early Chessie System years (circa 1973-75), a remarkably captivating time when the Mountain Subdivision was not only alive with endless coal trains, but host to manifest and priority intermodal traffic.
Anchored by two of America’s timeless and classic railroad towns – Cumberland, Maryland and Grafton, West Virginia – the route will feature four grueling Allegheny Mountain B&O grades – 17-Mile Grade, Cranberry Grade, Cheat River Grade, and Newburg Grade – each with daunting and twisting gradients of more than 2 percent. And the B&O Mountain Subdivision route will also be host to extensive yards and terminal facilities, plus large lineside shippers including coal mines and cement, paper, steel, and manufacturing plants.
The Train Simulator B&O Mountain Subdivision route will recall the years on the Mountain Subdivision when helpers were based at three locations along the rugged line to help lift tonnage over the Alleghenies and when traditional railroading remained the norm as nine open towers and operators helped move traffic across the Alleghenies. Guiding you across the line, too, will be masterfully re-created B&O color-position-light (CPL) signals!
Highlighting the B&O Mountain Subdivision route’s locomotive fleet will be an all-new Electro-Motive six-axle SD35 in Chessie System, Baltimore & Ohio, Chesapeake & Ohio, and two Western Maryland schemes. And the SD35 will be joined by a Chessie System EMD GP40-2, two versions of the EMD GP9, and EMD’s SW-series switchers. Each of the diesel locomotives included with the B&O Mountain Subdivision will feature extraordinarily authentic air brake systems (24L for the GP9; 26L for the SD35 and GP40-2, and 6BL for the EMD SW-series) as masterfully developed especially for this route by Mike Rennie of Smokebox.
An expansive fleet of 20 types of freight rolling stock wearing Chessie, B&O, C&O, WM, and other CSX predecessor liveries, along with thirteen highly authentic career scenarios, will bring superb realism and nearly endless operating experiences and enjoyment to the route.
The B&O Mountain Subdivision promises to be an extraordinary, historic, and challenging Train Simulator route – and it is coming soon from High Iron Simulations. Stay tuned here at Dovetail Live and we’ll be sharing much more about the history and operations of the famed “West End,” as well as more details about the upcoming Train Simulator B&O Mountain Subdivision route! – Gary Dolzall
Soon, the B&O Mountain Subdivision is coming to Train Simulator in a route which will feature 140 miles of main line, four locomotive models in multiple liveries, more than 20 types of freight equipment, and thirteen realistic career scenarios! B&O EMD SD35 7418, wearing the brilliant Chessie livery, is making the tough eastbound climb of Newburg Grade as its passes below a set of classic B&O color position light signals. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
The B&O Mountain Subdivision route will be bookmarked by two of America’s timeless railroad towns – Cumberland, Maryland and Grafton, West Virginia. At famed Grafton, an eastbound coal train is making it way past the landmark B&O station and towering Willard Hotel (above), while B&O SD35 7414 is leading a coal drag past Cumberland’s legendary Queen City Hotel and B&O station (below). Note: Screenshots depict content in development.
Cumberland was one of the most important cities on the entire B&O system. A quartet of venerable EMD GP9s are bringing manifest freight CU94 into Cumberland, crossing the arched span at Viaduct Junction (above). Viaduct Junction is the junction point between the Mountain Subdivision (West End) and Keystone Subdivision (Sand Patch Grade). Nearby, adjacent to Cumberland’s William Street Yard, B&O EMD SW1200 9615 is toting steel pipes and coils from one of the route’s lineside industries (below).
Located 23 miles west of Cumberland on the Mountain Subdivision, Keyser, West Virginia was another busy location on the railroad. At West Keyser yard, Chessie SD35 7412 rides the turntable (above). West Keyser was also home to B&O’s Tower Z, one of the numerous towers on the line which helped to control traffic flow. Behind a set of Chessie EMD GP40-2s, B&O manifest Train 196 rolls past Tower Z (below).
One of the many large industries served by the Mountain Subdivision was the sprawling paper mill at West Virginia Junction. Operating a turn from West Keyser, B&O GP9 6553 and a sister a crossing the North Branch of the Potomac to serve the plant. Both the B&O and Western Maryland’s Thomas Subdivision served the massive plant.
In addition to the complete 101-mile B&O Mountain Subdivision, the upcoming Train Simulator route, from the expert team at High Iron Simulations, includes 30 miles of Western Maryland’s Thomas Subdivision. Still wearing “Wild Mary” liveries, two ex-WM SD35s and a Chessie sister are bringing a coal train across the Potomac at Bloomington, West Virginia. To keep tonnage moving, the B&O Mountain Subdivision route will include the EMD SD35, GP40-2, GP9, and SW-series switchers, and each locomotive will feature ultra-authentic air braking systems.
Atop the Mountain Subdivision’s Allegheny plateau, a local is working a lineside shipper at Deer Park, Maryland as an eastbound manifest rolls past with a distinctive B&O “wagon-top” caboose carrying the markers. The B&O Mountain Subdivision route will feature more than 20 types of rolling stock in numerous accurate liveries and thirteen realistic career scenarios.
On a railroad where stunning and rugged scenery was (and is) the norm, few locations were more memorable than Tray Run Viaduct west of Rowlesburg, West Virginia. With the Cheat River far below in the valley, one of the hottest trains on the Mountain Subdivision – the “St. Louis Trailer Jet” – is making the climb of the Cheat River Grade.
Deep in the hollows of West Virginia, the Mountain Subdivision made its way through numerous small but often picturesque towns. On the upcoming Train Simulator B&O Mountain Subdivision route, B&O SD35 7400 and kin have coal loads rolling through wintry Tunnelton (above), while at Newburg (below), “Circus colors”-dressed Western Maryland SD35 7436 works upgrade on the Newburg Grade under an angry summer sky.
Coal was king on the Mountain Subdivision, with the railroad moving seemingly endless loads east from West Virginia’s mines. Coal was drawn from connecting B&O subdivisions and originated at lineside strip mines and deep mines. On the Mountain Subdivision’s Austen Spur, B&O 7418 and two sister SD35s have just arrived with empties ready for loading.
B&O EMD GP40-2 4118 is on the point of the St Louis Trailer Jet as it climbs the Alleghenies in a classic scene. The B&O Mountain Subdivision promises to be an extraordinary, historic, and challenging Train Simulator route – and it is coming soon from High Iron Simulations!
The Momentous Mountain Subdivision