My past few visits to the East Broad Top and it’s phoenix like resurrection have given me an itch, and V scale, or virtual modeling, has given me an easy way to scratch it.

How can you not love the EBT? It’s one of those things, like Horseshoe Curve, that is tough to visit and come away without thoughts of “how would I model that?” rattling around on your way home.

Reality quickly set it on my latest visit though. Doing a passable job would include acquiring expensive equipment that isn’t readily available. And even then, you need a decent amount of space (especially in scales where operation would be reliable, like O) that would be filled with a layout that almost certainly would not really fulfill my operational interests. The EBT is, essentially, a conveyor belt. So building a physical model railroad just didn’t make a lot of sense.

However, this is where “V scale” really shines. It allows you to model something that would be prohibitive to do in real life on a computer. Another great thing about it is that you can do it wherever you’ve got your laptop: allowing for easy modeling while traveling. I travel a bit for work, and building an EBT layout while I do it seemed like a lot of fun.

I have Trainz Rail Simulator 2022 installed, so that’s what I’ve used.

There are ways to import real life terrain into the game, and someone seems to have already created a map of the real EBT doing that very thing, but I wasn’t a huge fan, and I didn’t want to really dig into building the whole railroad. Instead, I created a virtual version of a switching layout that would be a perfect bite sized project. The layout I created is a fictional branch line terminal with a coal mine (it is the EBT, after all).

I started by doing some recon on what EBT assets were available. Having access to free and cheap building materials is a real benefit of virtual model railroading too, after all. I found a number of EBT models on the Auran Download Station, including, to my great surprise, models of the early EBT equipment (including the Billmeyer & Small hoppers that were the majority of the fleet prior to the 1910s). This made me realize that not only could I do some EBT modeling virtually, but I could make something that would be incredibly challenging to do in physical form.

That’s what I’ve accomplished with the combination of the “EBT Switching Layout” and the two sessions I’ve created for it.

The layout itself consists of a small town (lets call it Wanksburg) where the branch line ends. The railroad has a few support buildings and a water tank for locomotives. There’s a two track yard with a runaround and a pair of coal mine sidings. There is also a wye for turning the locomotive.

I have also create a pair of “Sessions”, one using 1910s equipment and one using the later 20s+ equipment that everyone’s familiar with.

Each session works generally the same. The train starts at a starting point out of town and runs into town with some empty hoppers and a passenger car. Drop the passenger car, turn the engine, and then swap loads and empties at the mine before watering up and leaving town. Personally, I like the older stuff, so that’s what the screenshots below are from.

If you want to try this out… I have no idea why the files aren’t appearing on the Trainz Download Station, but you can download the EBT Switching Layout CDPs here. I don’t know which dependencies aren’t easily available right through the DLS, so drop me a note if you’re having issues and I’ll try and sort them out with you.