Scheduled Layout Tours
Prior Layout Tours

December 29, 2018
February 16, 2019
March 16 2019 To Be Rescheduled!
April 27, 2019
May 18, 2019
June 22, 2019

Saturday, December 29, 2018, 1:00 to 4:00 PM - Ellicott City MD
Albert Pugliese's Pugsburg Rail RoadAlbert Pugliese's Pugsburg Rail RoadAlbert Pugliese's Pugsburg Rail Road

The layout is not handicap accessible but has a easy ground floor no steps entrance through the garage.

The Pugsburg Rail Road is a freelance 23x32 ft floor to ceiling West Virginia-like mountain range which features the town of Cass, West Virginia, and the Cass Mill all scratch built. The town of Cass sits on a mountainside 7x20 feet  and the mill is about 17x4 ft as a complex.  A two track main line with heavy Chesapeake & Ohio and Pennsy late 50s steam with a point to point logging line.  The late Harry Clark (featured in Alan Kellers Great Model Railroads vol. 8) was my mentor and scenery guide teaching me to extensively use real natural materials on the layout. Some of his work is featured on the layout as well as dozens of scratch built buildings.  Fine Scale Miniatures and other craftman kits. A large art deco city is also under construction inspired by George Sellios and Howard Zane with large art deco like skyscrapers .Although Baltimore city is not modeled the fictitional  city of Pugsburg has many historic Baltimore city structures. Late spring to summer is the season.  The layout is DCC Northcoast and is 80% finished. It is more of a rail fan like layout featuring long double headed trains with multiple siding stops for deliveries. It is more scenery and structures than track but can keep 4 operators busy if needed. 

Historic Ellicott City is 2 miles away and the oldest RR station in the country The B&O Ellicott city station is open before hand and also has a nice HO-scale display layout . The cost to visit the station can be googled along with hours of operations. The town also has nice restaurants and antique stores that can be seen before hand.

This is our first visit to this railroad.
Saturday, February 16, 2019, 1:00 to 4:00 PM - Damascus, MD
Frank Benenati's, Maryland JunctionFrank Benenati's, Maryland JunctionFrank Benenati's, Maryland Junction

 Being a basement layout, there is no handicap access.  The carport/kitchen door faces the stairs to the basement and is the most direct access.

My 20x12 foot HO railroad was started while I was living in Germany and is "modular" by design.  The railroad remains “room-sized”;  however, the added scenery (weight) will make it more challenging to move a second time.  It currently uses Digitrax DCC, and most turnouts operate manually using Fastrack "bullfrogs".  Steam is not-in-service, and first generation diesels provide the motive power.  Trains run point to point working interchanges with N&W, PRR, B&O, and WM.  Car cards, a time table, and a fast clock are used to simulate operations.  A variety of Campbell, Bar Mills, Foss, etc., and scratch built structures provide texture and interest to this Western Maryland themed railroad.

There  have been several modifications made to Maryland Junction since I last hosted a Potomac Division Open House; all were needed to enhance operations.  Most importantly, the eastern end of the railroad now has a yard, turntable and engine service facilities.  I also added a passing siding along Security Branch to improve Brunswick operations.

 For those who are interested, I will explain/demonstrate how I use Decoder-Pro and a Sprogg to re-program DCC engines and adjust sound levels, speed curves, and other CVs.  I've had good results with the exception of first generation WOW sound steam.  

To read about Frank's last open house, click here.

Caution:  Just about every road into and out of Damascus has a speed camera cleverly located to generate revenue for Montgomery County.  Remember to keep an eye out for "safety corridor" and other warning signs.  Occasionally there are "doubles" placed to catch those who speed up after passing the first camera.
Saturday, March 16 2019, 1:00 to 4:00 PMTo Be Rescheduled! - 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, VA, Double Header
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. It is operations focused, hosting 6 to 9 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.
Prince William County Model Railroad ClubPrince William County Model Railroad ClubThe Prince William County Model Railroad Club
The club is handcapped accessable.
The club welcomes all model railroaders. The members operate their home layouts and collaborate on an award-winning modular club layout displayed at events in Virginia & Maryland. At the Historic Quantico Depot in Quantico, Virginia they are building the HO layout of their dreams. Click here to read about our last visit.

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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