About the CH&FR Railroad
The Chestnut Hill & Frost River Railroad is a fictional short line railroad situated in the Appalachian Mountains, in present-day Southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. The railroad serves the towns of Chestnut Hill, WV and Frost River, KY, along with the town of Glover's Bend, WV.
Note: Because this website is both a (fictional) “prototype” corporate site and a site showcasing a model railroad, this red italic font is used in non-model-specific areas to indicate the equivalent model version of the prototype information, or to indicate model-specific rules or information.
The main runs roughly from the (fictional) town of Chestnut Hill, near real life Thurmond, WV, Westward toward Huntington on a mix of owned track and trackage rights on the CSX/C&O Kanawha Sub. Once there, a branch line runs south to the (fictional) town of Glover's Bend (near real life Delbarton, WV), and the main follows the old (now abandoned) C&O main from Huntington toward Lexington, KY. The line terminates at (ficitional) Frost River, KY, which is either somewhere between (real life) Paris and Winchester, KY along the CSX CC Sub, or at (real life) Burgin, KY along the NS CNO&TP First District. I haven't decided exactly where Frost River is, yet, and may just have it be both...
The CH&FR is modeled very loosely upon the real life RJ Corman Railroad, though considerable liberties have been taken with the story.
The railroad was founded on June 20, 1863, on the same day as West Virginia's birth, as the Chestnut Hill Logging Railroad, hauling timber out of the hills around Chestnut Hill. Later on, as its founder (James Chestnut) expanded his horizons, it merged with the Frost River Railroad, a coal and grain hauler working its way eastward into the Eastern KY coal fields. It is the second oldest continuously operating railroad in the US, after the Union Pacific. The railroad has always enjoyed a close working relationship with both the C&O and N&W railways, and later with CSX and NS, as much of its traffic is bridge or alternate-route traffic for the two Class 1's.
For a few years during the 1970s, the Chestnut and Frost families (co-owners of the railroad) held a significant financial stake in the Chessie System, and the CH&FR was considered an "operating partner" of Chessie, though it was not actually merged into the larger entity. During that time, the CH&FR relied heavily on Chessie for locomotive power, as its own fleet was aging and funds were tight. As the CH&FR's fortunes returned, they purchased many of the leased/loaned Chessie equipment to replenish the fleet. To this day, a number of the CH&FR's locomotives sport the colorful Chessie paint scheme.
Today, the CH&FR interchanges with NS at Williamson, WV and Danville, KY, and with CSX at Winchester and Ashland, KY, and Thurmond, WV. The Frost River Locomotive Shops and Frost River Leasing Company, subsidiaries of the CH&FR provide locomotive maintenance/repair/rebuilding and leasing services (respectively) for the CH&FR and for client railroads.
Primary revenue sources include coal, timber, and chemical products origination in WV and Eastern, KY, plastics, grain and other industrial products in Central KY, and bridge traffic between CSX and NS throughout the route..