Scheduled Layout Tours
Prior Layout Tours

August 17, 2019
September 21, 2019
November 9, 2019
January 18, 2020
February 22, 2020
April 11, 2020
May 30, 2020
June 20, 2020

Thoughts on Open Houses

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.
Saturday, November 9, 2019,  1-4 PM - Reston, VA
Glenn Downing's Milwaukee Road - Superior Division; Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee

Handicap Accessibility: None (in a downstairs basement)

Scale: HO

Description: Multi-level layout depicting two railroads with an interchange in Racine, Wisconsin. Set in 1948. First time hosting the Potomac Division.
Saturday, January 18, 2020, 1 – 4 PM - Broad Run, VA
Cam Green's Maine Central Lower RoadCam Green's Maine Central Lower Road
Cam Green's Maine Central Lower Road

Access: Down a flight of stairs, not handicapped accessable.

Purpose of Layout: Simulate the operations of the Maine Central Railroad between Yarmouth Junction
and East Augusta in the mid to late 1970’s.  Modeled sections of Maine Central: Lower Road Between Yarmouth Junction and Augusta, ME.  Lewiston Lower Branch, Cobbosseecontee Branch, Rockland Branch (Staging only).

Lower Road (West to East) - Yarmouth Junction, Hillside Siding, Brunswick West Yard, Brunswick East
Yard, Rockland Junction, Richmond Siding, Gardiner, Cobbosseecontee Branch, Hallowell, Augusta, East
Lewiston Lower Branch (West to East) – Androscoggin Bridge to Topsham, Pejepscot Paper mill, Lisbon  Falls (Chip Board Mill), Lewiston lower team and industrial (Mill) tracks and yard.

Layout type: Double Deck, Operated as a Point to Point but is essentially a loop through staging. One Double Track Helix.

This is our first visit to this railroad.
Saturday, February 22, 2020, 1 – 4 PM - Gaithersburg, MD
Dean Ripple's Baltimore & Ohio's Monongah DivisionDean Ripple's Baltimore & Ohio's Monongah DivisionDean Ripple's Baltimore & Ohio's Monongah Division

Access: The layout is in the basement down a flight of stairs with handrails.

The Baltimore & Ohio's Monongah Division is an HO model railroad, set in West Virginia, circa the mid 1950s. The B&O’s lines south of Grafton, West Virginia, ran on light rail and tight curves.  Small steam locomotives ran until the end of the steam era—no big Mallet steam engines were found here!  I model the area near Buckhannon, with Grafton and Charleston as staging tracks at the end of the layout.  The layout attempts to capture the backwoods feel of these lines, without getting picky about the actual trackwork or geography of any locale.  Constructing the benchwork in a set of modules facilitated several changes in residence. The layout is now about 12' x 16'.  We operate regularly, using train orders.  Now that the scenery is nearly 100% complete, I am taking the time to scratchbuild the last few structures on the layout.

Read more about the model railroad at:
To read about our last visit, click here.
Saturday. April 11. 2020, 1 – 4 PM - Arlington, VA
Brad Stanford's Cowan, TN, NC&STL Helper DistrictBrad Stanford's Cowan, TN, NC&STL Helper DistrictBrad Stanford's Cowan, TN,  NC&STL Helper District

Access: Entrance is a backdoor off our driveway onto a stair landing that allows access after three steps down. I would characterize it as “approachable” rather than “accessible”.

My layout is set in the World War II years (circa 1941-1945), and focuses on Cowan,Tennessee, as the high point on a major route of the Nashville, Chattanooga and St Louis Railroad midway between Nashville and Chattanooga. I chose this because it is a helper district, modeling several scenic spots and commercial activities, as well as a 2000-foot tunnel and 2% grade up and down the mountain. It is in N-Scale to enhance the scenic to trackage ratio, and faithfully follows the track plan of the actual railroad of this era. It will feature the helper yard, the main street of Cowan and its depots, the Cumberland Cement factory, Cumberland Mountain and its tunnel, and a branch line to Tracy City and its coal operation.

The layout was built by Lance Mindheim over about six months in 2016-17 based on a design we collaboratively developed. It has a wood frame, 100 switches, and a sky-blue aluminum backdrop. All track segments are separately powered by an NCE DCC Compatible Command Control System.

This is our first visit to this railroad.
Saturday May 30, 2020, 1 – 4 PM - Vienna, VA
Brad Trenkamp's State Line Feed Co.

Handicap Accessible: No; down basement steps

A proto-freelance of a Cargill feed mill on State Line Rd in the West Bottoms of Kansas City.

This is our first visit to this railroad.
Saturday, June 20, 2020, 1 – 4 PM - Rockville, Maryland
Lincoln LumberParker's Peak MineAlex Belida’s Eureka & South Pass RR

The layout is not handicapped accessible. It’s upstairs on the 2nd floor.

Alex Belida’s Eureka and South Pass Railroad is a fictional HO scale railroad located in Nevada in the late 1890s. It is built around two mines, one located at Parker’s Peak and called the Parker’s Peak Mine, and the other, called the Flack Mine.

The town of Eureka is home to Adam’s Shipping and Storage, the bank, an assay office, the Coombs family bakery, Milner’s General Store, Lily’s Pleasure Palace, the blacksmith shop, Kee’s Chinese Laundry, Adam’s Miners’ Supply and the Eureka Gazette newspaper office as well as a firehouse with horse-drawn fire engine.

The town features a small train yard with turntable, repair-in-place building and various out buildings.
South Pass is a village above Eureka. It is home to the Lincoln Lumber Company, named after the illustrious President Abraham Lincoln, whose picture adorns a sign on the sawmill.

Among the layout’s other features are Calum Creek, a narrow body of water running down from the hills adjacent to the Parker’s Peak Mine, and a statue honoring Pioneers of the West, also near the creek.
The small DCC layout runs along three sides of a 2nd floor bedroom. There are plans for expansion to allow around-the-room runs through a liftout.

Guests are invited to sign the E&SP visitors’ logbook, called the “Keep Calm and Carry On” register, the motto of the railroad.

Alex notes that after starting his layout he discovered a real Eureka in Nevada, founded by miners in the 1800s, and serviced by a narrow gauge railroad called the Eureka and Palisades RR. The discovery was the subject of a Potomac Division clinic he delivered:

Alex urges visitors to follow his blog:

This is our first visit to this railroad.

The Eureka and South Pass Railroad is a project that was conceived in the 1960s but had to wait until 2017 to become a reality. Alex Belida is a retired foreign correspondent and news executive who worked for the Voice of America. Besides postings in Europe and Africa, he traveled extensively in the U.S. and abroad while assigned to the White House and the Pentagon.

Layout Tour Coordinator Nick Kalis

Thoughts on Open Houses:
Open House Hosting Recommendations
Open House Wisdom by the late Bob Rosenberg

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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