Elkhorn Iron & Timber Co. no. 25 inches her way along the Rocky Top bridges. The tall trees were hand built using balsa trunk armatures, caspia branches and Woodland Scenics green foam. This scene used about 25lbs of Plaster of Paris and Bragdon rubber molds. The top of the mountain (the seam is just above track level) slides out of the way to permit access to the far back corner of this 270 degree curve. The slide mechanism uses standard kitchen drawer glides screwed to ¼" plywood which is screwed and glued to the 2" foam insulation board.
A Journey Through the Southern Appalachians:
The Elkhorn Iron & Timber Company Railroad
By Steve Austin/Photos as noted
The Elkhorn Iron & Timber Co. was inspired by the Little River Railroad, the Laurel Fork Railroad and the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad. You see, I was raised in East Tennessee with what used to be these railroads in my back yard. Numerous trips to Cass, West Virginia, Chama, New Mexico and Camp 18, Oregon furthered the love for steam engines and big-time logging operations.
My EI&TCo. is a prototype freelanced backwoods seat-of-the-pants operation. The territory, the structures, the rolling stock and motive power are adapted from the ways these types of railroads went about their business. If the trainmaster said, "We need such-and-such," the machine shop built it. There was little money for buying from the usual car builders, so the car shop supervisor scratched out a sketch of what was needed and oversaw the construction. Bailing wire and binders twine were important materials in keeping the railroad running! The setting is 1947, a significant year in my life...
The EI&TCo.'s 3 truck Climax #25 hauls a train of poplar logs over Kohl Creek Trestle toward the Braemer sawmill.
I have been a model railroader since 1968. A 10-year sojourn into HO resulted in my Clinchfield layout being featured in the June 1995 Model Railroader. My first On30 article appeared in the Summer 1982 issue of Model Railroading starting at page 37 and including the back cover. That article featured a small back woods operation; I haven’t advanced much past that in the last 35 or so years! My scratchbuilt On30 Shay placed second in the steam locomotives category at the 2000 NMRA national convention. And then, along came Bachmann! On30 is the best thing since sliced bread!
The busy and detailed waterfront on Steve Austin's Elkhoron Iron & Timber Co. Railroad
I am a member of the ET&WNC Historical Society, the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, the Little River Railroad, the Carolina Clinchfield Chapter, NRHS, and the Marble Valley Chapter of the NRHS (building a 7' x 21' N scale layout to be placed in the Tate, Georgia depot). At one time I was part owner of a Pittsburg and West Virginia caboose operating on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
The EI&TCo. will be open to visitors during the 2013 NMRA National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. Please visit my web site to see even more photos of my layout.
—The full version of this article appeared in the 2012 On30 Annual.