News & Reviews News In Memoriam: Allen McClelland

In Memoriam: Allen McClelland

By Cody Grivno | October 29, 2022

Builder of the HO scale Virginian & Ohio influenced a generation of model railroaders

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Photo of man at workbench
In Memoriam: Allen McClelland. The HO scale Virginian & Ohio was the subject of books, videos, and numerous magazine articles. Here Allen McClelland is shown at the workbench doing some maintenance on a couple of road units. Paul J. Dolkos photo

W. Allen McClelland, builder of the HO scale Virginian & Ohio, died on October 28, 2022 following a massive stroke.

Allen worked on the first version of the V&O over the course of several decades at the McClelland home on Walnut Street in West Carrollton, Ohio. The 30 x 33-foot model railroad, expanded to 33 x 51 feet beginning in 1991, was the subject of books, videos, and numerous articles in the hobby press. The V&O first appeared in Model Railroader in the November 1982 issue.

Former MR editor Andy Sperandeo wrote about the influence of Allen’s layout in the July 2008 issue: “An outstanding modeler, Allen nevertheless adopted a philosophy of ‘good enough,’ believing that it was more important to reach a reasonable level of finish and detail over the whole railroad than to build every car and structure to museum standards. Make no mistake about what he meant, though. What was good enough to Allen could be at least a notch or two above what many of us were doing.”

The first version of the V&O was torn down when Allen and his wife, Sharon, relocated from West Carrollton to Miamisburg, Ohio. At the new house, Allen and his modeling friends built a new 43 x 54-foot version of the V&O over the course of eight years. The layout was featured in the January 2009 issue.

Though the second version of the V&O had to be dismantled when Allen and Sharon moved to a retirement community in Centerville, Ohio, in 2008, major portions of the layout were sold to various layout builders.

You can learn more about the V&O and Allen’s influence on the hobby in Allen McClelland and His Virginian & Ohio. The 112-page book, scheduled for release in late January 2023, was written by MR contributing editor and Allen’s longtime friend Tony Koester.

In Memoriam: W. Allen McClelland. To see photos from both versions of Allen’s layout, please visit the Virginian & Ohio photo tribute.

4 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Allen McClelland

  1. Having met him and operated with him, he was such a gentleman and so welling to share information. Such a loss but his memory and what he did for the model railroading world will always be there.

  2. I’ve always admired Allen McClelland and his V&O Story, he continues to influence my modeling techniques today.
    R.I.P Allen McClelland.

  3. I’m saddened by the news of the death of this pioneering model railroader. I first heard of him in 1976 when I bought an RMC featuring his model railroad, although his railroad was in the hobby press before then. I was hoping to visit his layout at the 1992 NMRA national in Columbus, OH but I was too late to get a spot on that tour. He will be greatly missed!

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