A Hard Day’s Work

Written by: Gary Dolzall

The upcoming Baltimore & Ohio Kingwood Branch route will put your skills as a railroad engineer to the full test!

Just how good of a locomotive engineer are you? You’ll find out on the upcoming and remarkable 1960s-era Baltimore & Ohio Kingwood Branch route for Train Simulator!

Classic Appalachian branch line coal railroading was a tough business. It was about unforgiving grades, often of 3- and 4-percent; of tight, twisting steel paths up rocky slopes and into remote hollows; it was of switchbacks and lugging heavy hopper trains laden with tons of bituminous coal. Simply put, the railroad “hogger” who was not skilled with throttle, air brakes, and dynamic brakes quickly found himself looking for another career.

From VNHRR, the talented team that created the acclaimed Virtual New Haven Springfield Line, the upcoming B&O Kingwood Branch is set in West Virginia’s rugged and remote Appalachian coal country – and this new Train Simulator route is guaranteed to test your talents as a locomotive engineer and deliver captivating and authentic 1960s-era railroading experiences.

Based upon the West Virginia Northern Railroad, a short line coal hauler once located in northeastern West Virginia, this upcoming Train Simulator route is semi-fictional in that it re-creates the railroad as an early 1960s-era Baltimore & Ohio branch line. The route includes a 10-mile roller-coaster, saw-tooth-profiled main trunk extending between an interchange with the Baltimore & Ohio main line at Tunnelton and the Kingwood Branch’s namesake town, a steep and twisting 7-mile branch to a large coal seam at Birds Creek, two additional short branch lines, and numerous spurs serving a total of 14 coal mines and loading facilities.

Accompanying the route will be a superb selection of 13 realistic career scenarios which will put you to work at the throttle of the route’s classic Baltimore & Ohio Electro-Motive GP9 diesels – and put your skills as a hogger right to the test!  You’ll tote empties to the mines, you’ll perform switching tasks, and return with loads of “black diamonds.” And while coal-haul railroading is at the heart of B&O Kingwood Branch operations, you’ll also work local freights and even take the throttle of branch line “flag stop” passenger trains (governed by working flag stop and train order signals). To guide you, the route includes a highly detailed and informative manual providing operating information and advice, operating rules, maps, and timetables.

Along with its authentic operating challenges, another highlight of this upcoming route is its variety and range of included equipment. The route’s EMD GP9 is provided in both original Baltimore & Ohio livery and B&O’s 1960s-era “Capitol” scheme. A traditional heavyweight 65-foot coach in B&O blue and gray livery is provided for passenger service, and the route’s extensive selection of freight equipment includes B&O class I-5, I-5D, and I-12 cabooses; 36-, 40-, and 50-foot boxcars in multiple liveries (including B&O, Chesapeake & Ohio, and Western Maryland); a B&O flatcar; B&O 52- and 65-foot gondolas; 55-ton and 70-ton coal hoppers in multiple variations and railroad liveries; a 1950s/60s-era tank car, B&O Airslide covered hopper; and wood- and steel refrigerator cars.

Traditional, tough – and captivating – 1960s Appalachian railroading is soon coming to Train Simulator with the B&O Kingwood Branch route. Will you be up to the challenge? – Gary Dolzall

Appalachian coal railroading of the early 1960s guaranteed to test your skills as a railroad engineer is coming soon to Train Simulator with the remarkable Baltimore & Ohio Kingwood Branch route! Hard at work, a trio of B&O EMD GP9s toting coal from Bird Creek Mine #4 make their way over one of route’s numerous wooden trestles. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.

At Marion, a pair of iconic B&O Geeps – one dressed in original livery and one in B&O’s 1960s “Capitol” scheme – swing onto the branch that leads to Baltimore Mine with empty hoppers in tow. Note: Screenshots depict content still in development.

Coal-hauling is at the heart of the B&O Kingwood Branch route. Near Snider, a duo of B&O GP9s pass Church Creek Mine (above), while on the Pringle Run branch, a set of the classic EMDs are working Pringle Run Mine #2 (below). There are 14 coal mines and loading facilities on the upcoming B&O Kingwood Branch route.

Set in the early 1960s, the B&O Kingwood Branch still has many steam-era facilities in place, such as the turntable at Birds Creek (above). Lugging coal from Birds Creek Mine #4, a trio of Baltimore & Ohio Geeps are making their way along the rugged Birds Creek branch (below).

It’s a bright but snow-covered winter day at the route’s northern terminus, Kingwood, West Virginia, as a set of Baltimore & Ohio GP9s work the yard. The EMD GP9 is ideal motive power for the B&O Kingwood Branch route, and the Baltimore & Ohio rostered 193 such units.

While coal-hauling dominates on the B&O Kingwood Branch route, there’s other challenging and captivating work to be done. At Kingwood, a local passenger train is preparing to depart for points south (above), while at Tunnelton, a local freight is swinging off the B&O main line and onto the branch (below). That’s Tunnelton’s main line brick station to the left.

Along with rugged scenery, captivating flag-stop stations, and realistic, challenging operations, another highlight of the upcoming B&O Kingwood Branch route is its selection of rolling stock. B&O 324372 is a 55-ton outside-braced steel hopper (above) and Chesapeake & Ohio 69340 is a 70-ton offset hopper.

The authentic freight equipment provided with the upcoming B&O Kingwood Branch route is diverse, and includes a 1950s/early 1960s-era general-service tank car (above), and a classic B&O wooden I-5-class cupola caboose. The upcoming route also includes B&O’s I-5D caboose and the railroad’s distinctive and famous I-12 “Wagon Top” bay-window steel caboose.

A pair of B&O EMD GP9s are twisting their way upgrade with empties and approaching Towson, West Virginia high in the Appalachians. Classic, tough 1960s coal-country railroading will soon be coming your way – and the Train Simulator Baltimore & Ohio Kingwood Branch route promises to fully test your skills as a railroad engineer!

We’re always happy to receive your comments below but please ensure they are related to the subject of the article, we’ll remove any that appear to be unrelated.

Gary Dolzall

10 Comments

  • Will this include a NEW GP9 model, or is this the same one we have seen in previous older routes?

    • I believe it’s the existing GP9 model Stephen

  • Can’t wait to get this route! Any date when It will be released? Thanks!!

    • I have no details for you right now Jean but I’m sure you won’t have too long to wait 😉

      • I wonder why It is written “Now available” on the left side ??

        • It’s on the background image advertising Train Sim World Jean

      • Will that available on Steam?

        • Yes

          • Thanks Trainsim-Steve for infos! 😉

  • Thank you for the B&O route, this is what we need for train simulator. MUCH APPRECIATED!

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