Bill Henderson’s Coal Belt model railroad is a freelance based on Eastern Pennsylvania. It is a small helper district between two towns on a larger railroad. Bill chose to model this area because he worked there for a time and was fond of its appearance. He enjoyed the 80 year old equipment they used and the beautiful country.
Based on the Redding and Delaware and Hudson in 1910, he was drawn to both the equipment and the camelback engines. He admired the wood cars of the old and unusual era. All historical eras are still documented in the books; modelers can find a railroad with photos from 1860 to the present. Henderson poured over these books when making his layout because they were his only source of information.
The layout is a relatively small 8 by 20 with a double oval. However, Bill managed to include a lot of scenery and operation. the scenery was made very dense to mimic the profuseness of nature. Bill built his layout in a small shed. To accommodate his layout in the limited space, he designed the layout in a closed loop configuration.
Having a double loop double oval track, Henderson had to ensure that viewers would not feel as if they were going around in circles. He managed to avoid this by making the viewer only focus on one scene at a time rather than viewing the whole layout at once. Locomotives are kept running smoothly by running them together in multiple units. Running two good engines together front to back means that if one loses contact, the other picks up the slack. Bill simply had to make them start within half a volt of each other by matching the engines with trial and error.