Railroad Prototype Modelers Valley Forge

March 22 to 24, 2024

Layout Tour railroads

Andy Hart

Click on the arrows on the side of the slide boxes to see more photos.

Earl Paine    Reading     12:30PM to 4PM

Representing the Reading Railroad's mainline along the Schuylkill River between Philadelphia and Reading in the early 1970's leading up to the Conrail merger. The modeled portion extends from Falls Yard through to Abrams Yard west through Phoenixville, Royersford, Pottstown, Stowe Yard, Monocacy, Birdsboro where the line diverges to the Belt line/Turkey Path and the Main line thru to Reading Yard. Operations involve heavy freight trains performing industrial switching with some commuter passenger trains. The section modeled was yard limits over half modeled distance in its day, that allows for interesting operating situations for general freight, coal, cement, steel and industrial switching.

Paul Backenstose    WESTERN MARYLAND Ry     12:30PM to 4PM

Paul models the Western Maryland Railway in 1971 from Hagerstown to Connellsville and a portion of the Thomas Sub. Twenty two trains are run in an operating session, including regularly scheduled freights; coal, coke, hopper and grain extras; and 6 trains on the Thomas Sub. Ridgeley Yard (near Cumberland) is worked by many of these trains. DCC is by NCE.

Scratch built breaker

Ron Hoess - PRR     12:30PM to 4PM

The layout is a modest sized switching layout depicting the Pennsylvania Railroad at North Philadelphia circa 1958. Included are a portion of the mainline, the long forgotten Stifftown Branch and the first 3 miles of the Chestnut Hill Branch. All of the structures on the layout are scratchbuilt to better represent the buildings that were there. Major industries that are included are the Budd Company and Midvale Steel. Since this was electrified territory, much of the trackage was under wire. Thus far about 50% of the catenary has been installed.

Coal breaker
PRR Wire car Ron Hoess
Stifftown yard
Sinclair & Valentine
S&V Val in front
Row houses Ron Hoess
North Phila
PRR overpass
Chestnut hill branch
Budd plant
Budd interior
Budd interior 2
Midvale yard
Margie St. Bridge
Margie St.  Yard office
Margie St. yard tracks
Sedgely Ave.
Sedgely Av. overpass
Switcher into yard
yard scene
Early style wire car
Early wire car detail
Workers on the wire
working on the wire
Catenary detail
Catenary view
Cat poles
Red car on the main

George Pahamov    NYO&W    12:30PM to 4PM

The New York, Ontario, and Western Rwy., also known as the O&W, is depicted on George’s layout as it would have been in the post-war years.  This was a period of transition from steam engines to EMD FT’s, F3’s, and NW2 diesels.

     Activity on the railroad is centered on Cadosia, NY, where the mainline from Weehawken and Maybrook to Utica and Oswego joins the Scranton Branch.  

     Local freight trains are sent out from Cadosia eastward to the towns of East Branch and Livingston Manor and westward to Walton, where there is an interchange with the Undilla Valley Railroad.  Motive power on the UVRR is a light steam engine and two GE 70 ton diesels.

     A steam powered mixed freight train, which includes milk cars to Weehawken, runs from Makefield, on the Scranton Branch to Cadosia.  Coal trains are dispatched from a breaker at Makefield to Weehawken and Utica.  Coal and milk are major commodities on the O&W.  Several creameries can be seen on the railroad.

     Scenic features on the railroad include two steel trestles, several small towns, and forests displaying the colors of early Autumn

STARR Model RR Club    12:30PM to 4PM

The St. Albans Model Railroad (StARR) captures the essence of railroading and industry typical ofsouth-eastern Pennsylvania in the steam to diesel transition era (roughly 1930 to 1970). It is an HO scale model railroad thatmeasures roughly 30' x 60'. It has close to one thousand feet of track, 1400 cars, and 200 locomotives. Train crews and operators utilized digital command control to run and route the trains.

See the club website for photos.

Starr Photo Gallery

Steve Salotti    NYS&W  12:30PM to 4PM

Set in 1949 in northern New Jersey, the railroad runs between Little Ferry (major yard) and Hainesburg and features passenger and mainline freight service, with many locals serving industries, both along the line and on the waterfront.

Don Richards PRR Chesapeake Division 1967     12:30PM to 4PM

Bruce Friedman - CSX     12:30PM to 4PM

My HO layout is based on the CSX Philadelphia Subdivision.  I model the current day. It is 42' X 56' in size and has 4 levels.  The layout is completely finished and has 1000' of main line. There are 2 helixes and 3 staging areas which is one of the levels. Another level is the ESPN shortline that interchanges with CSX in Wilmington, Delaware. The layout is run with Digitrax DCC and is fully signaled with operating detection and is dispatched with Railroad and Company software.

The layout has wide aisles but you do have to use steps to get down to the basement. 

Greg & Angel Shindledecker WM     12:30PM to 4PM

Greg and Angel Shindledecker's HO version of the Western Maryland Thomas Subdivision is set in the mid-‘70s. The island-style layout fills our 30' x 57' basement and is still under construction.  Roadbed is constructed on Masonite splines with Homabed under the track.  Mainline track is code 83, yard and branch lines are code 70/75.  The benchwork was constructed by using Sievers’ modular system.  All trackwork is complete and scenery is in progress.

The railroad is based on the prototype's operations on the WM’s Thomas Subdivision.  The segment modeled is from just west of 21st Bridge (east of McCool, MD) to Elkins, WV.  Two large staging yards represent points east - Cumberland, MD and beyond; the other being coal branches radiating from Elkins to Durbin, Webster Springs, Dailey and Belington.  In between lies the Blackwater Canyon, in which the famed Black Fork Grade required multiple helpers on almost all trains moving coal eastbound.

Online industries include coal load outs and mines, pulpwood and wood chip loading, the Westvaco paper mill at Luke, MD, coal-powered electric generation at Mt. Storm, a tannery, the Kingsford Charcoal plant and car shops for maintenance and repair at Elkins.


The railroad is operated by verbal train orders given by the dispatcher.  Crews sign up for trains on the Call Board and are given clearance to proceed by the dispatcher.  The railroad has train order signals at key stations along the line, so crews may be required to call in usings FRS radios to receive orders if the signal indicates.  A typical operating session will yield 18-20 trains.  These will be a combination of through coal (and empty coal) trains and locals, switching industries and tipples.

Elkins Yard is crewed with a yardmaster and a yard crewperson.  Other yards are Thomas, Bayard and Beryl.  Other than Elkins, yards are self-serve.  Staging is provided on either end of the run by two, 10-track yards.  

Joshua Blay

U shaped point to point switching layout based on the towns of Homer and Cortland, NY located along the Syracuse Branch of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad set in the Summer of 1957.  Layout built with every effort to capture the prototype.  Variety of scratch-built structures from field measurements and period photos.  Waybill operation; off layout staging.  First generation diesels with period equipment.    DCC control (Digitrax).  

An OO layout (English equivalent of HO) is in progress above. 

Delaware & Susquehanna Model Rail Road Club 12:30PM to 4PM

D & S Scene
D & S Scene 2
D & S Scene 3
D & S Scene 4
D & S Scene 6

Ken McCorry

The Desmond logo
Registration button
Clinics button
Vendors button

Bob Zeolla    Conrail Conemaugh Line     12:30PM to 4PM

The Conemaugh Line represents a portion of Conrail’s operation in western Pennsylvania diverging from Conrail’s Pittsburgh Line at ConPit Junction near Johnstown, and rejoining Conrail’s Ft Wayne Line in Pittsburgh. The modeled portion is from Avonmore to Pittsburgh. Staging extends this area eastward to Johnstown; westward to Conway Yard; also westward to Butler; and northward to Kittanning. In addition, an interchange with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (Chessie System) is modeled at Etna. The modeled time period is the year 1978. The hub of operations during this period on the Conemaugh is Kiski Yard. All traffic either originated or terminated here, or at least stopped at Kiski for set outs and pickups. Secondary yards along the line are at Etna and West Tarentum. The West Tarentum yard also served the Allegheny Ludlum steel mill in Brackenridge Externally, the Conemaugh was served by Conrail’s classification yard at Conway.

Operations involve running 18 trains, taking about 3 hours to complete, including through and local freights, unit mineral trains, and branch line and steel mill switching. A maximum of 12 operators can be accommodated including 1 dispatcher, 3 yard masters, and 2 yard crew positions. The balance of the operators work as road crews cycling on and off the railroad as needed. Car forwarding is by car card and waybill. Traffic is controlled by the dispatcher at a CTC panel built using JMRI PanelPro.

Model Displays button
Ops session button
Layout tour button

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