My model railroad is built in a 23’ x 50’ studio and is based on the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Shamokin Branch and some of the main line of the PRR along the Susquehanna River in central PA between Harrisburg (Enola yard) and Williamsport in 1957.  During the summer of 2010 I decided to back date the layout from 1959 to 1957 which allows me to model the last days of steam on the PRR.  The Shamokin Branch left the PRR main line at Sunbury, north of Harrisburg, and continued East through the valley following the Shamokin Creek to Mt. Carmel, PA where it interchanged with the Lehigh Valley Railroad (LVRR). I also model the LVRR’s Hazelton Branch which leaves Mt Carmel and goes east toward the steel mills and Allentown, PA. 

I began building the layout in August 2005 and have completed the benchwork, track, electric and have begun scenery and specific buildings on some portions of the layout. The main line, 42” above the floor, consists of a South staging yard (Enola), the town of Sunbury, KASE tower, the Susquehanna River bridge, Northumberland yard, the major industries in Milton and a North staging yard (Williamsport).  The main line is double tracked from Enola to Northumberland, then single track with a passing siding in Milton from Northumberland to Williamsport.  The Shamokin Branch consists of the horn track going through Sunbury, Crowl including the General Store, Weigh Scales, the Glen Burn Colliery, Shamokin and Mt Carmel with the interchange with the LVRR.  The branch line is single tracked with passing sidings at Crowl, Weigh Scales, Glen Burn and Shamokin. The LVRR portion includes the shared Mt Carmel Station, the industries in Hazleton and the LVRR staging (Allentown).  The Main line is about 1.5 scale miles and the Branch models over 4 scale miles of the 28 mile Shamokin Branch. 

I am attempting to build the model railroad so that specific real locations, including buildings and industries, are modeled.  Some photographs of the real railroad are displayed on the backdrop and I am attempting to copy these scenes on the layout.  I am also planning to detail and accurately weather all locomotives and freight cars on the layout to represent the prototype.  A number of buildings and rolling stock have been scratch built.  I recently added a number of  2-10-0 I1as steam locomotives, the PRR called them “hippos”, to my locomotive fleet.  These locos were the main power on the Shamokin Branch until the PRR ended all steam operations in late 1957.

In January 2008 I converted the layout to DCC with sound.  I have a NCE radio system with 5 controllers.  The layout is broken up into 3 circuit breaker managed power districts and also has two reverse loop controllers that manage the 3 reverse loop-staging yards and the two turntables.  The switch machines are rotary relays taken from WWII bombers and controlled with home made power sources.

As you will see, areas of my layout are in different levels of completion.  It may interest some to see the various stages of scenery building.  I hope those who were here before will be able to notice some changes since your last visit.

Planning a "walk-in island"  by Chuck Cover
copyright Railroad Model Craftsman September 2010, used by permission.


Schematic of full layout
Branchline layout drawing

Current photos of the layout