Hilton & Ohio [H&O] Division
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 Bison Yard

       BISON Yard is an HO-scale emulation of a former large classification yard of the same name near Buffalo, N.Y. On the Hilton & Ohio, Bison Yard is located adjacent to the (imaginary) South Buffalo Junction which serves freight and passenger traffic, including a station stop for passengers of the interurban trolley line from the Hilton Module.

The Bison Yard, seen often by this writer from the windows of New York Central trains in days not only past, but now gone, no longer exists, having given way to the proliferation of the nation’s superhighway system and the merger fever and fervor of the railroads themselves. But our attempt to remember this one-time great enterprise – albeit in a miniature and condensed form – resulted in a decision to sacrifice our one-time workshop to obtain the space for building the yard as a part of the H & O empire. So we used risers about a foot high to raise the workbench surface level to a height which permitted constructing the yard and containing it (along with the “Mainline Service & Interchange Module”) within the large oval which was to circle the room, providing access to and interchange with these two major facilities.

Surrounded by parts in cabinets, tools, supplies and HO maintenance-of-way equipment, Ferroequinologist Norm Wright (the "iron horse doctor") points out his operating plan for starting the restoration of Bison Yard on the H & O Division of THE NORMANED.

       So, from the “Hilton Module,” the restoration work progressed to the workshop room and the extended layout.


Two general purpose GP diesels (Conrail and Chessie System, both later to become parts of CSX) await on holding tracks near the yard entrance for their turn to couple up to their assigned consists.
On the right, a Lehigh Valley passenger train passes by on the main line, as an Erie RR consolidation waits on an adjacent lead track to follow. The steam loco in the engine house will remain where it sits until long-needed repairs are completed.

This far-sighted worm's eye view of the west end of Bison Yard highlights the approach tracks, including a three-way track switch and other special track arrangements designed to allow traffic in and out of the yard.

A commemorative boxcar produced in observance of the 50th anniversary (in 1987) of the Rochester Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society was photographed on a staging track near Bison Yard.


A westbound Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 2-8-8-0 Mallet articulated with a Vanderbilt tender and a freight consist swings past the caboose holding area at the west end of Bison Yard.


This complex double-crossover switch allows yard switching engines to shuttle cars around the yard without blocking the approach and departure tracks while assembling and breaking up consists of cars.

A railroad scale was used on the prototype Bison Yard to weigh cars, such as those with bulk lading like coal, stone, or grains, for billing purposes. Although the H & O Bison Yard car scale (left) does not actually measure anything, it can add the fun of switching cuts of cars for weighing during operating sessions. Since railroad scales required calibration about twice a year, scale test cars (above, right), basically weights on wheels, were used to check them.

Plenty of activity is already evident at Bison Yard as the morning sun begins to burn through the South Buffalo smog.

The newly-acquired Shay geared locomotive arrives on the upper level of the Bison Yard of the H & O Division with its first load of freshly-cut raw lumber from the Adirondack Mountain Region of New York State. On the lower level, three maintenance-of-way work supply cars await their trip to wherever they may be needed in the now ongoing revived model railroad restoration program.

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