Scheduled Layout Tours
Prior Layout Tours

March 30, 2019
April 27, 2019
May 18, 2019
June 22, 2019
July 20, 2019
August 17, 2019
September 21, 2019

Saturday, March 30, 2019, 1:00 to 4:00 PM - Ashburn, VA
James Zarnick's Butler & Western New YorkJames Zarnick's Butler & Western New YorkJames Zarnick's Butler & Western New York

The layout is not handicap accessible.

A freelance HO scale railroad incorporates various scenes from my childhood home of Butler, PA, and my first adult home of Rochester, NY.  The double decker railroad is built in a 11 x 41 foot room and offers continuous running on  a double track mainline that is 3.7 scale miles  (225 feet) long.  This DCC layout is controlled by an NCE system connected to a computer running JMRI.  The mainline is fully signaled with the signals being controlled by CTI Electronics hardware and software.

This is our first visit to this railroad.
 Saturday, April 27, 2019, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM - Silver Spring, MD
Dick Kafka's Colorado MidlandDick Kafka's Colorado MidlandDick Kafka's Colorado Midland
Note: Railroad is in the basement, no handicap access.  Ceiling over the Basalt operating area is 6 feet, main basement ceiling is 6' - 10 1/2"

I model the Colorado Midland, HO scale, in the late 1890's period.  Main view is of the town of Basalt, Colorado, with trains headed to Leadville and Grand Junction via hidden staging.  

Most of the operation at Basalt can be simulated, even if tracks not quite the same.  I will not have the Aspen Branch done by the time of the open house, but the towers and spans for the Maroon Creek Trestle have been assembled.  Structures built so far are scratch built or craftsman kits.  

This is our first visit to this railroad.
Saturday, May 18, 2019, 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM, Silver Spring, MD
Gil Fuchs' Haifa & Jerusalem Railroad (H&JRR)Gil Fuchs' Haifa & Jerusalem Railroad (H&JRR)Gil Fuchs' Haifa & Jerusalem Railroad (H&JRR)
Handicapped access:  The layout itself has wide aisles, >5’  except for one corner which is also accessible by wheelchair.  My house is a split level and leading down to the basement and layout there are 5 steps.
My railroad is HO Marklin based, 3-rail converted to DCC using Digitrax and DIY circuits of my own design.   The layout is about 26' x 14’ with 2 levels, and the theme is Israel Railroad in 1950. This allows me to mix steam and Diesel. However, the rolling stock of early days Israel Railways was unique as it was custom built by various foreign manufacturers, mostly of British origin, American (Baldwin steam engines and Whitcomb Diesels) and German (as part of the compensation received for WW II), operated for a relatively long period (The Baldwin 4-6-0s served from 1919 until 1960). By 1950 most of the steam and rolling stock had undergone conversion and looked nothing like its original form. This means most of the models would have to be built from scratch or kitbashed at best. My equipment is comprised mostly of Marklin models of European prototypes, and I am gradually adding Israeli prototypical models.

The layout is about 50% scenicked as of now. Structures are mostly representative of the area and period. Backdrops are a mix of airbrush drawn scenery, cutout buildings and panoramic photographs. There is a good representation of self designed, 3D printed structures and model cars.

The layout has 8 towns/locations each with a few industries; I use switch lists generated by JMRI Operations software.

By trade I am a EE major and a programmer, most of my engines carry DCC decoders which I have designed and built, including several sound decoders.  Turnouts are DCC controlled by self designed and built accessory decoders.
This is our first visit to this railroad.
Saturday, June 22, 2019, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM - Prince William
Bob Rodriguez's Nickel City LineBob Rodriguez's Nickel City Line
The layout is entered from the interior stairway. It is not handicapped accessible.
A modern, turn of the century HO-scale model railroad set in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania in the late 1990s. The railroad is a free-lanced short line railroad which operates 102 miles of single track mainline between Harrisburg and Ridgway Pennsylvania. Leased trackage rights extend the line west to Pittsburg and Erie, Pennsylvania.

The layout is medium size, filling an 18’ x 22’ space in the basement.  A new 7’ x 24’ section of triple deck layout expansion is under construction in the adjacent room.   The layout is operations focused, hosting six to nine operating sessions per year. Operations include freight, coal, local freight, passenger, and commuter service running against a 2:1 fast clock. The layout is controlled by Digitrax DCC connected to several computers running JMRI software. JMRI software runs the Computer Aided Dispatch and Yardmaster computers, signals, route selection, train detection, and fast clocks. Click here to read about our last visit.
Saturday July 20, 2019, 1 – 4 PM - Burke, Virginia
Douglas Hess’ Ohio Central RR – East Central Ohio

Entry into the 11’x13’ train room is via a 42” duck-under.  The basement is accessed by a stairway that is not handicap-friendly.  However, if weather has been dry for a day or two, the basement also may be reached down a short gently sloping lawn.

Set in the gently rolling hills of east central Ohio, this HO-scale layout represents a freelanced section of the short line Ohio Central Rail Road (OHCR) about the turn of the 21st century.  This is an around-the-walls shelf switching layout with an interchange off of the Norfolk Southern and a branch running to a small stub yard in a mid-sized city where local industries are served.  The Wheeling & Lake Erie has trackage rights to serve a small coal-fired power plant.  Trackwork has been laid and is operational.  Scenery is in very early stages of completion.  Digitrax DCC is installed.
This is our first visit to this railroad.
Saturday, August 17, 2019, 1 to 4 pm - Waldorf, Maryland
Paul Hutchins, Modern Day CSXPaul Hutchins, Modern Day CSXPaul Hutchins, Modern Day CSX

My layout is in my garage so it is handicapped accessible. I model current era CSX, Conrail, and Norfolk Southern in HO-Scale.  I call my railroad the "P&D Railroad," it's close to a circle eight, horizontally and in a dog bone vertically. My operating system is Digitrax.
This is our first visit to this railroad.
Saturday, September 21, 2019, 1 – 4 PM - Alexandria, Virginia
Engine HousePaper Company HQMark Gionet’s Boston & Maine Western Route

The layout is not handicapped accessible. The easiest access is down about a half flight of stairs from our outside backyard terrace. It is in the rather compact, low-ceiling, mostly unfinished 1936 basement of the older part of our home, so it’s a bit tight to move around. Aisles in the railroad room are about 3 feet wide.

My grandfather was a conductor on the Boston & Maine. I have photos of him in front of the Flying Yankee, and he often worked the Western Route from Boston to Portland, Maine. The inspiration for the layout comes from an article “Crossing Gates at Dover” from the February 1965 Model Railroader magazine. It describes an urban scene in Dover, New Hampshire. I’ve modeled a number of the structures visible in the article’s illustrations or inferred from information contained within it. The balance of the layout will feature small towns and New England scenery and structures, based on real and imagined scenes.

The period modeled ranges from 1955 to about 25 year later, allowing me to run worn passenger equipment, the Budd RDCs that replaced them and diesels from the maroon and dulux gold to McGuinness Blue era. The period of modeling has been significantly longer, as parts of the layout were retained from prior efforts dating back decades, constructed in layout spaces far, far away. Much remains to be done.

This Western Route is of modest size, about 9’ x 18’; essentially 2 peninsulas. The plan is a point to point double track main line from Dover to a fiddle yard. A branch line diverts off and doubles back to create a continuous loop for entertaining less prototype-demanding visitors. Sidings serve a creamery, bakery, paper mill and more modern industry.

This is our first visit to this railroad.

Layout Tour Coordinator Nick Kalis

Division open houses are members-only events. However, members are allowed to bring family and friends to open houses.  Host's street address is not published here.  Instead, the address of the layout tour is published in the version of the Potomac Flyer distributed to members and the reminder that is typically emailed about a week in advance.  So please inform the division of any changes in your E-mail address, thanks.  NMRA members who are not receiving the Flyer and reminder should please send their NMRA membership number and effective date to All NMRA members are welcome, members who live outside the Potomac Division may subscribe to receive the Potomac Flyer and all notices.
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