Pennsylvania & Berwind
"The Pennsylvania & Berwind Railroad is a 34.7 mile short line railroad that serves a coal, steel and general merchandise customer base."
That's the very first sentence in an over 50 page long document created by BillM001, the original creator of the P&B and the very document that got me hooked on this amazing, freelanced route. Bill first created the P&B in Trainz 2004 and released the route, along with over 50 pages of operating rules and schedules, in late 2008. I downloaded the route and was instantly hooked over the
detailed operations possible. I was working in Trainz 2006 after all and to have a self-sustaining route at this time was remarkable. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before the route was seriously out of date. With the release of Trainz 2009/2010 and eventually Trainz 12, many of the assets used were now broken.
Around late 2009/10 and with Bill's permission, I set out to fix the route by replacing every broken asset with something more up to date. This proved to be a bigger hastle than I had expected and I soon abandoned the idea in favor of rebuilding the entire route, track for track, with the original P&B and Bill's provided paperwork as my road map.
Since then, my update has taken many forms and several rebuilds as each iteration of Trainz continued to modernize and break the assets I was using. Eventually, around 2012 I mostly abandoned the idea and Trainz as a whole out of sheer frustration with the game. Over the years since, I'd often peak back into Trainz to take short glimpses of what had been my dream route for Trainz.
Fast forward to 2015 when N3V contacted me about building a route for their planned Trainz Model Railroad Edition. I began work on the Franklin Avenue Industrial and once again the train bug bit me. Hard this time. After completing Franklin Ave, I began to dabble around along the P&B once again and realized how unmotivated I felt without having a deadline or others interested in what I was doing. That's when I started my YouTube channel. Initially it began as a way for me to keep myself motivated while building the P&B, but it's since grown into something else I had never expected (that's all another story).
So once again the P&B is under development and I'm as excited as ever. After speaking with Bill via Skype I learned a lot of the backstory behind the route, its industry and city names and his overall goal when he first built it. He was also astonished at the degree of excitment my P&B videos have been generating in the community.
To say that my iteration of the Pennsylvania & Berwind is an exact update of the original would be a lie. I'm doing my best to keep the original flavor of a fledgling shortline railroad in the woods all while adding my own building techniques and inspiration. Many of the yards and industries are not built exactly track for track, but more as a distillation of what I loved so much about the original and what inspires me from the world around me. Bill's original paperwork should still be applicable with only slight modifications.
The railroad still begins in the Town of Grafton and travels around 40-50 miles to Juniata yard where it interchanges with the rest of the world. In between are dozens of miles of branch lines, industrial spurs and abandoned towns with a rich history. What fascinated me the most about the P&B was how much it felt like a real place despite being entirely freelanced (although, I later found out that many of the cities and industries were built after actual prototypes).
My intention is to release this route in several phases, probably spanning the better part of a few years before all is said and done. Phase 1 encompasses Juniata yard, Mill Creek spur, Old Town, Vonny and the Babcock Spur and should provide plenty of operational fun while I build the next phase. My hope is to have it ready for release early this fall.
The Pennsylvania & Berwind route will be freeware with payware add-ons, including loco's and freight cars.
I always make sure to emphasize that I am not the original visionary of this wonderful route. All of that credit goes directly to BillM001, who spent months building this route from scratch, really for his own enjoyment. Luckily he was willing to share it with us years ago and has been generous enough to not only allow me to rebuild it for the public but he often joins in on my live streams to answer viewer questions.
My background is in film making and I like to use that analogy that if the Pennsylvania and Berwind was a film, Bill is the writer and I'm simply the art director.