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Chessie the Sleeping Kitten

Chessie and the Billboard

By  Bob Schneider, TCA#10-65561                                             Spring 2021

Passenger Trains run by the C & O: George Washington, Sportsman, and Fast Flying Virginian (FFV)

Schneider's 4x6 O Layout

Photographed is small 4 x 6 O-Scale layout that features a outside loop with an inside loop.  It was a joint effort of my granddaughter TCA Family Member Emma and myself.  We laid the track and glued the wood ties in place. We also arranged the buildings and added the scenic effects.

Trackside Billboard

The one prime focal point of my small layout is the trackside billboard for the C & O Railroad. The billboard features the map of the C & O track system with the famous kitten in the upper right corner. The marketing campaign that featured "Chessie" the sleeping kitten debuted in 1933. It was the marketing genius of Lionel Probert who was an assistant to the C & O's President. "Wake up refreshed after sleeping like a kitten aboard the C & O's premier passenger trains."  This campaign lasted till the end of C & O passenger service in 1971.


Some other interesting items are featured on the layout. The Good Humor Ice Cream Truck (I spent 7 years selling ice cream from trucks like that for Goodie Bar in Pittsburgh), the Greyhound Bus, Wawa Dairy Truck, Menards Lionel 1948 Truck, an old Ives Water Tower, all along with a Lionel Water Tank.

  Who remembers the grocery store Thorofare?

In the one picture is a Thorofare Supermarket, a Pittsburgh based grocery chain we shopped at. 

Lighted Chessie Billboard

Even with a lack of space for a large layout, these vintage Lionel trains provide the excitement for the young ones. The smoke from the engine, flashing lights, gate crossing, plus much more.  All a part of a hobby that lets us relive some of our past.

While the C & O billboard shown here is no longer available. they have a new one that features Chessie the Kitten.  It is available from the C & O Historical Society which is located in Clifton Forge, Virginia or via their website. (

Editor's Note:  The billboard is handcrafted and comes complete with landscaping plot, lights, shrubbery and operating search lights.

Second Decade.
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