This website will display the development and construction of Charlie Taylor's O scale model railroad layout of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad during the American Civil War.




2009 - 2010


Whiteside Trestle Over Running Water Creek
One of the foremost scenes in this Memphis & Charleston layout is the trestle near Whiteside, Tennessee crossing the Running Water Creek in the Raccoon Mountain Range. The photographer who took the picture above and below, George N. Barnard described it as follows: "The great bridge at Whiteside, as originally constructed, stood upon four piers of masonry, connected by arches of timber. This structure was destroyed by the rebels a short time previous to the battle of Chickamauga. The present bridge was erected by the First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics, assisted by the Railroad Construction Corps, during the fall and winter of 1863. The trestle is composed of four stories of round timber cut from the adjacent forests."

Other records indicate that the Construction Corps of the Military Division of the Mississippi did the majority of the construction while assisted by the 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics who also did all the fortifications (blockhouses, rifle pits, etc.).

The M&C Layout Advances
The west wall with Running Water Gorge and Lookout Mountain is farthest along. The stitched-together-photo below shows the M&C rail (on the left) crossing the Running Water Valley in the Sand/Raccoon Mountain Range west of Chattanooga and proceeding east toward Lookout Mountain. The peninsula jutting out is Chattanooga. Click on the image to see a larger version.
Will has also begun painting the background for the Tennessee River at Bridgeport, Alabama. Charlie T. built a large easel along the north wall for Will to work on, and the picture below shows him at work using a projected image to lay out the landscape.
Many buildings and structures are in the works for specific spots in the layout. The ACW photos below show the stockade and Officers’ Quarters at the wye in Chattanooga. The test models are shown in position in the photo below.
The photo below shows Charlie C’s test model for the Chattanooga Train Shed which has a footprint of 24" x 60". To the right of it is The Crutchfield House.
Will brought the background painting to completion as well as most of the terrain landscaping after Charlie T. had made all the calculations and prepped the structure that would be spanned by the bridge (photo below).
After several days of hard work, Charlie Taylor is setting the last bent on a middle pier in the photo below.

If you would like to see a description of the bridge construction CLICK HERE.

If you would like to see a description of the making of the bridge components CLICK HERE.

As of August 1st, the main structure is complete, though a good bit of lateral bracing and side cross-bracing has yet to be done (see Barnard's photos above).
What started as one man’s fascination with Civil War trains has grown into a very interesting project with some very talented people.

Charlie Taylor has hand made the track and turnouts and wired the layout. He is now primarily involved with the dimensional planning of buildings and railroad structures.

Will Shirey has painted all murals and miniatures. He has developed molds for cotton bales and other miniatures and is the primary sculptor of the 3-D scenery. He has also assembled and finished some of the rolling stock.

Sara Taylor, the fount of creativity and resourcefulness, has built and finished rolling stock kits, scratch built camp scenes and multiple buildings, including The Crutchfield House, Engineering Officers’ Quarters, and the fabulous ‘Russian Log Church’ stockade guarding the railroad yard.

Andrew Taylor has taken some of Sara’s cardstock models and programmed a modeling laser to cut plywood copies. He has developed some great techniques for assembly and is genius at determining the intersection of two planes in 3-space.

Charlie Curro has assembled several car kits and finished with custom lettering. He scratch built the emergency trestle at Running Water Gorge and is currently building the Chattanooga Train Shed.

Harold Taylor has made custom jigs for turnout assembly and trestle assembly, and also willingly provided hand and power tools for the project.

These three photos show the framing and basic support for what would become the Whiteside Valley.
The photo below is a composite of the layout just prior to starting the bridge construction. Click on this photo to see a larger version.
By the middle of September cross ties and rail have been added and a couple of locos have crossed the valley. See the videos below.
And by the first of October we have ANOTHER great train chase.
Dealing With "S" Curves
In a hard “S” curve in the Memphis yard and two relatively hard “S” curves in Chattanooga yard, opposite sides of coupled trucks lift off track. Curved track is 34” radius. Cars are kits by Charles Cebula with included couplers. The track was modified to incorporate 15-17” intercalary straight track, eliminating the “S” curves and the twisting through the link and pin couplers..
. . . and yet another train chase: