A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

January 21, 2017

Piney Branch Mill Revisited

The water wheel and race are long gone. The building received new siding in 1963

I took my mom for a drive today to Manassas to work on Marty McGuirk's backdrop. He said he would be blogging about that on his Central Vermont RR blog. 

On the way out there we took a "short cut" along Pope's Head Road in Fairfax County. That took us past the mill at Piney Branch. This mill served as the prototype inspiration for the mill on my layout.

Here are some photos I took of the prototype mill and my finished model of it.

Meanwhile work continues on track laying at Aquia Landing. I glued down a bunch of ties for the complex east end of the yard. There are five turnouts that are adjacent to each other here.


  1. Very nice! Would love to see your photo as part of the backdrop, if it will fit.

  2. Bernard, your ties are simply amazing! Do you use some kind of jig for the spacing or you just plop them on the roadbead as it was done back then? If possible, I'd like to contact you about your stub switch bridle. I'm trying to replicate that in S scale. You can contact me at matlac (at) gmail (dot) com.

    1. Thanks for the note. I cover how I make the bridles in my book, "Model Railroads go to War" in the chapter on civil war track. The same technique should work in S scale.