Reincarnation of the Switch Back Gravity Railroad By Walter Niehoff II SC
Reincarnation of the Switch Back Gravity Railroad By Walter Niehoff II SC
Reincarnation of the Switch Back Gravity Railroad By Walter Niehoff II SC
Reincarnation of the Switch Back Gravity Railroad By Walter Niehoff II SC
Reincarnation of the Switch Back Gravity Railroad By Walter Niehoff II SC
Reincarnation of the Switch Back Gravity Railroad By Walter Niehoff II SC

Reincarnation of the Switch Back Gravity Railroad By Walter Niehoff II SC

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Reincarnation of the Switch Back Gravity Railroad By Walter Niehoff II SC
The Reincarnation of the Switch Back Gravity Railroad  By Walter Niehoff II The story of the Switch Back & the Switch Back operating model Soft Cover 1995  110 Pages
When I started this book, my intent was to write an article for a model railroading magazine that would relate aspects of planning, design, and construction of a model of the historic Switch Back Gravity Railroad. There are aspects of the model that are unique to model railroading, and I thought other modelers would find them interesting -- perhaps interesting enough to stimulate them to model other historic gravity railroads. But I found that the Switch Back was unique in so many ways that the research and subsequent writing got out of hand. Hence, the book.
Although I originally intended my audience to be other model railroaders, as the work expanded I realized it would be interesting to a broader audience -- in particular, visitors to the Mauch Chunk Museum and Cultural Center where the model is exhibited. A book was something visitors could carry home, having seen the model for the first time, and subsequently use to recall the Switch Back and stimulate them to return.
In Chapter 1, I introduce the subject of the book by presenting a capsule history of the Switch Back Railroad and its significance to the region and the nation. And I summarize the objectives of the Switch Back Gravity Railroad Foundation, its central role in sponsoring construction of the model, and its long-term goal of reconstructing the Switch Back itself on its original right-of-way.
I have enjoyed reading many so-called layout stories about model railroads where the writer used the device of an imaginary tour or description of a day's operations to present the railroad and its features. I have taken this approach in Chapter 2, where I describe a ride on the prototype Switch Back through the eyes of a visitor. The ride provides continuity and background for a description of points of interest on the model.
The planning that preceded design and construction of the model was unique in several respects. I present these architectural issues in Chapter 3.
In Chapter 4, I outline the construction of the model itself. Overall, I have presented only a summary of modeling techniques and methods because they are so well documented elsewhere. However, I have presented detailed material where the Switch Back model is unique or where the modeling was particularly difficult. Mechanically and operationally, the inclined planes are as unique on the model as they were on the prototype Switch Back. Hence, I describe their design considerations and key construction details. I also describe the process of "kit-bashing" a Switch Back "pleasure car" from a ready-to-run N-scale trolley. Also, although the techniques for modeling the scenery are quite conventional, I discuss them briefly because the scenery is frequently the subject of visitors' questions.
When I originally volunteered to "help out" with the construction of the Switch Back model, it was only to build structures. Later, when the project was in jeopardy, I signed up to build the entire model. Subsequently, I viewed it as a treat when I finally got to the point where I could tackle a building or two and a joy when the time came to build the Mount Pisgah trestle. The structures proved challenging, most being built from scratch. Even the process of figuring out what the buildings might have looked like was challenging. I describe the structures and the focal points on the model where they reside in Chapter 5. Again, I use the device of a tour to present the points of interest, but this time the tour is on the model.
As I proceeded to learn about the Switch Back, I gained a personal appreciation for the level of innovation and good, solid engineering that went into the prototype. In fact, on a couple of occasions, I felt that I had "spiritual contact" with whoever was the "chief engineer" on the prototype. I decided that, as impressed as I was with his works, he deserved that I find something out about him. I quickly discovered that he was Josiah White, the father of any number of things in early Pennsylvania, particularly in the Lehigh Valley. His works included the Lehigh Canal and the Switch Back Railroad. I included the lengthy Chapter 6 believing that others also would appreciate discovering this engineering pioneer.
Finally, I have included a bibliography as Chapter 7 to guide readers who may be motivated to follow up on the history of the Switch Back or on model railroading.

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