logo: Black River Valley Model Railroad



Since 9/8/2004

Updated 01/21/2018


Like its namesake model railroad, the Black River Valley Model Railroad Website is a work in progress and always changing. I try to update the content of the website periodically to give people a reason to come back. If this is your first visit to the Black River Valley Model Railroad Web Site, Welcome! If you have been here before, Welcome Back!

You can navigate around the BRVRR site using the buttons at left on the main pages and the arrows at the bottom of every page. The BRVRR Logos located at the top and bottom of every page work as my Home Page buttons and will return you to the Home Page from anywhere on the site. All of the photographs, with the exception of my picture on the Home Page, the images in the 'photo essays' and the background image, are presented as thumbnails. If you want to view a larger image, simply 'click' on the desired photo. If you have any comments or suggestions, send me and E-mail via the button located at the bottom center of each page.

It has been very slow on the BRVRR since early summer. Now that winter has arrived things have picked up a bit and I have decided to make a few changes on the layout. I intend to replace Berea Station with a larger structure and replace the Redwing Flour Mill with a different industry/structure. Photos of the beginnings of these projects are on the What's New page.

I purchased a pair of E7s and one new E8 locomotives for the layout at a train show in November 2017. All of them will require stripping and painting as I intend to add them to my New York Central roster. Photos of them as they arrived are on the What's New page.

I have completed the modifications to one of the E7s. It is now NYC #4034 and equipped with a Soundtraxx DSD100LC decoder and 1-inch speaker. A short photo essay of the striping, painting and decoder installation are on the How'd You Do That page.

I made coal loads for five second hand hopper cars I purchase at a local train show in October. The sequence of construction is shown here on the How'd You Do That page. As always, there are some new photos taken while "running the trains" on the Railroading page. Some other recent additions to the BRVRR's rolling stock, are on the What's New page.

The short video I made with the Mobius video camera I received for Christmas 2016 is on the Video page. More experimentation is needed with locomotive/ train speeds and camera angles before I'm ready to make an new "Around the Black River Valley" video. The process for converthing three Athearn BB box cars into track cleaning cars for the railroad is still on the What's New page.

A photo of an old-new structure on my Structures page. Grafton Tower, I believe a Bachmann kit structure, has been on the layout for years, but somehow got left off ot the Structures page until now. There isn't anything special about the structure, but it is lighted with a red bulb and does have a tower man visible from the east side. I have had plans for a long time to replace it with a replica of the actual Grafton, Ohio control tower. Until then this little structure will have to do.

Videos on the Video page feature the newest locomotives and other recent and not so recent additons to the railroad. As mentioned in an earlier update, Christmas 2014 added a couple of new locomotives to the BRVRR roster. They can be seen on the What's New page and in the new videos. A short description of of a lighting project on a PRR Parlor car with strip type LED lights is on the How'd You Do That page.

The video of a Santa Fe passenger train and a Santa Fe local freight taken during an operating sesson a couple of months ago on the BRVRR layout is on the Video page. Our July (2014) train ride on the French Lick Scenic Railway is posted there too. Our visit to the National New York Central Museum in Elkhart, Indiana is documented in a short photo essay on the What's New page.

The links to the Glossaries of Railroad Terms are on the Links page. My thanks to the Union Pacific Railroad and the Catskill Archives for permitting me to link to their sites.

A link to my short video of the Nickel Plate Road #765's arrival at Boston Mills Station in August 2013 is on the Video page. Click on the thumbnail of #765. Some time ago I tinted the glass on two Santa Fe dome cars. I recently finished the job by tinting the windows on the rest of my Santa Fe streamlined consist. A photo of a couple of the finished cars is on the What's New page. While working on passenger cars, I converted the truck mountings on our mixed consist of Pennsylvania RR cars by replacing the push pins with #6 screws on the Rivrossi/ConCor cars. While I was at it, I weighted them to NMRA standards. My conversion of an Athearn BB bay window caboose in NYC livery into a caboose for the home road is still on the What's New page. There is a brief 'how to' photo essay on the window tinting on the What's New page. Just 'click' on the thumbnail of the dome car or caboose to see the essays.

My oldest grandson and I made a trip to Cass, West Virginia in July 2013 and took a Western Maryland Shay #6 powered train to Bald Knob and back. Zachary has always been fascinated with Shay locomotives and enjoyed himself immensely. We also visited the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum on the way home. A short video of our trolley ride has been posted on YouTube. Just click on the thumbnail of the trolley car on the Railroading page. A few photos of our family railroad excursion through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and from recent operating sessions posted the Railroading page. Enjoy!

Many past articles, photo essays and videos from the BRVRR are still to be found on the site. The conversion of an A/B set of Proto 2000 E8s in the Atlantic Coast Line's blue and yellow livery into Pennsylvania passenger locomotives is still being featured on the How'd You Do That page. I added a few lights to the team track area and the loading docks of the Redwing Flour Mill to brighten the night time operations a little. Photos of the Farmer's Market and the improved lighting are on the What's New page.

Because of an inquiry and a request on the Model Railroader forum I made a video demonstrating the operation of my under table diesel sound decoder installation. Those of you familiar with the BRVRR know there is a description on the The Layout page. The link to the video is on the What's New page. Just click on the thumbnail of the under table speakers.

Other recent acquisitions for the locomotive roster and the changes to the Team Track scene are still on the What's New page. The progress on a small scene near the Farmers Union Elevator where I modified an Athearn Freightliner to give Shockers Electric a service vehicle. My Pennsylvania F7A #9822 and F7B #9663 and the Santa Fe FP-45 projects are posted on the What's New page. Just 'click' on the thumbnails to see larger images.

My short video, "The Pennsylvania RR on the BRVRR" still posted on YouTube. There is a link on the Video page. Just 'click' on the thumbnail of the Pennsylvania RR F7A. A link to my video of a Norfolk-Southern freight negotiating Horseshoe Curve is also there. Just 'click' on the thumbnail of the NS locos.

I put off striping the front and rear of my NYC RDC #53 for a long time because I didn't have any of the red chevron stripes I needed. I ordered them from Microscale Decals in July and began the project in early September of 2010. After working out the methodology the application went quite well. A brief description together with a photo are still on the What's New page.

The details of the caboose light installations where I installed interior lights in a couple of Athearn BB Bay Window Cabooses have been moved to the How'd You Do That page. My 'photo essay' on the construction of a pasture scene I used to fill in an empty corner of the Black River Valley Railroad layout is on the How'd You Do That page. The essay covers building a couple of small hills with foam bead board, filling in the cracks and rounding things off with Sculptamold. The application of ground cover and the staining of a rock faced cut are also documented. Click on the thumbnail of the Holstein cows on the to view the essay. The Photo Essay of our June 2008 trip to see the Great Train Story Layout at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is still on the Railroading Page.

My 'photo essays' on the conversion of standard Atlas twin-coil surface mount switch machines to under table machines, the installation of cross bucks and an infra-red control module from Berkshire Junction, my project modifying inexpensive plastic cars for use on the BRVRR, are all on the How'd You Do That Page. Just click on your choice of the thumbnail of the Switch Machine, model cars, or the RR Crossing to view the essays.

The photo essay of our summer of 2009 visit Horseshoe Curve and the Altoona Railroad Museum and Steamtown is on the Railroading page. 'Click' on the Big Boy thumbnail. My 'photo essay' on the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay Railroad's excursion train to Petoskey, Michigan in August 2006 and our summer of 2005 visit to the Strasburg Railroad and to the Railroad Museum Of Pennsylvania are there as well. Click on the thumbnail of the T&SBRR GP35s, my grandson or the N&W #475 steam locomotive, respectively.

A word about cameras and images for those of you interested in photography. All of the photo images on the site until March of 2006 were taken with a HP PhotoSmart 435, 3.1 Mega-pixel camera. In order to present better images with more detail, I took the plunge in March 2006 and purchased a HP PhotoSmart 415, 5.2 Mega-pixel camera. In May of 2009 I added a Kodak C813, 8.2 Mega-pixel camera to the mix. In June of 2009 I received a new Sony DCR-SX41 Video Camera as a Father's Day gift. For Christmas 2015 I received a Mobius Miniature Video Camera. Future videos of the railroad will likely be made using the Mobius. The videos posted on You Tube, with the exception of "One Minute Freight" and the "Mobius Demo" were taken with the Sony camera and edited with Sony's PMB or Windows Movie Maker.


logo: Black River Valley Model Railroad
Copyright by Allan Coates 2004-2016. All Rights Reserved.