Layout Tours 
Mid- Eastern Region NMRA 2018 Convention
Privacy Notice:  Layout addresses and directions will be provided only to registered attendees at the Convention.

Layout Tour Information

Layout tours are organized into time slots:
      Thursday: afternoon (1:00 - 5:00 pm) & evening (6:30 - 10:30 pm)
      Friday: morning (9:00 am - 1:00 pm), afternoon (1:00 - 5:00 pm),& evening (6:30 - 10:30 pm)
      Saturday: morning (9:00 am - 1:00 pm), afternoon (1:00 - 5:00 pm)
      Sunday: after 11:00 am.
The aim is to group layout tours in geographical clusters as close as possible to mitigate the effects of Washington area traffic.
Navigation:   Thursday    Friday morning    Friday afternoon    Friday evening    Saturday morning    Saturday afternoon    Sunday

Layout Tours Thursday

Rockville Hilton—Convention Headquarters
21 Bill Day
—D&D and Allisonville Short Line
22 Nick Kalis—Oahu Sugar Company 
Time and Distance Between Locations
Location 1 21
1    45 min 26 min
 26 mi   22 min
22 14 mi 11 mi  

Thursday Layout Descriptions

D&D and Allisonville Short Line [#21]
Bill Day’s HO and HOn3 D&D and Allisonville Short Line layout is different from most others you’ve seen. He has developed an approach he calls “fine scale animation for operation.” He teaches that subject at clinics at the National NMRA conventions (and will give attendees a handout from that clinic). His compact layout features working coal elevators, tipples, bascule bridges, water plugs, ore lifts, cranes, a turntable, crossing gates, signals, warehouse doors and engine house doors. No carousels or Ferris wheels, just structures that are related to operation. Tony Koester, a fan of this approach, says that animation builds in a realistic tempo for operation. In addition to the layout, Bill will display six of his animated prize-winners at national NMRA Conventions: three coal tipples, a blast furnace, a bascule bridge and a Hulett Ore Unloader.  Although none of these free-standing models will be operating, the Hulett can be seen in motion on YouTube by googling “Hulett NMRA.”  

Oahu Sugar Company [#22]
 Nick’s Oahu Sugar Company railroad is set in 1944 on the Hawaiian island of the same name. He models in Fn3 scale using #1 gauge (45mm) track. The layout fills a third of a large basement room and consists of six viewing boxes varying is size from four to nine feet long around an oval facing inward on three sides, with a combination duck under/swing open double track section at one end for access and continuous running. Each box represents a single complete scene; some are finished, but others have details remaining to be done. This unique arrangement has some interesting advantages; you can detail a scene without having to be concerned with the scene on either side of it and, like any well done model railroad, it’s the little things (animals, people, vehicles, etc.) that make the difference. 

Layout Tours Friday morning

Layout Tours Friday afternoon

#1 Rockville Hilton—Convention Headquarters
#9 Marshall Abrams—Abrams Railroad Empire
#12 Bill Demas—Westmoreland Railroad
Time and Distance Between Locations
Location 1 9 12
1   27 min 13 min
9 8 mi   29 min
12 5 mi 8 mi  

Friday afternoon Layout Descriptions

Abrams Railroad Empire [#9]

The ARE is a 20 foot by 22 foot walk-around freelance HO layout using Digitrax DCC that models the "anachronistic era."  The ARE operates 21 industries, 5 yards, 7 towns, and 2 interchange tracks.  Three towns are fully sceniced and scenery construction is spreading.
   The ARE operations are directed using instructions based on manifests generated by the RailOP computer program. Local trains run from Babel Yard to industries and towns and back to Babel. Local switchers serve Vienna and Carnegie, interchanging cars with the locals from Babel. Through freights run between Babel and Marshal Yards. Marshal, in turn, interchanges freight cars with the world beyond the walls via the Westmoreland Railroad and the Providence & Worcester Railroad. The Westmoreland interchange track is connecting to Marshal Yard and serviced by a local locomotive provided by the Westmoreland.  The Providence & Worcester is a staging track. Both Westmoreland and Providence & Worcester are hidden tracks visible from Marshal by a mirror hung from the ceiling.

    Handicapped access: walk around house, cross driveway, enter directly to layout
URL: ARE web page; layout tour

Westmoreland Railroad  [#12]

The Westmoreland is a freelanced, fairly prosperous Class 1 bridge rail operation during the Transition Era.  The setting is largely eastern and predominately urban with stretches of country in between. Place names are frequently Pennsylvania anthracite coal country names like Tamaqua and Mahanoy City. The layout is point to point or out and back. A recent expansion nearly doubled the size of the road and created more operational options, with new industries to serve and a new Pinellas Power and Light plant east of Mahanoy City now receiving coal at a prodigious rate generating much new traffic. Digitrax is the control source. Train orders are currently the primary traffic control method.

Navigation:    top    Thursday    Friday morning    Friday afternoon    Saturday morning    Saturday afternoon    Sunday

Layout Tours Friday evening

#1 Rockville Hilton—Convention Headquarters
#10 Brian Sheron, MMR—Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch
#13 Dean Ripple—Baltimore & Ohio's Monongah Division
#15 Ed Rosado—Puerto Rican American Railroad
#16 Roger Sekera—Clinch Valley Lines

Time and Distance Between Locations
Location 1 10 13 15 16
1   45 min 25 min 32 min 13 min
10 19mi   11 mi 19 min 37 min
13 12 mi 24 min   9 min 21 min
15  16 mi 10 mi 4 mi   27 min
16 5 mi 19 mi 9 mi 15 mi  

Friday evening Layout Descriptions

Baltimore& Ohio's Monongah Division [#13]

Dean Ripple's 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.  On the Monongah Division we run regular operating sessions using Digitrax DCC. All operations are by waybill and sequential timetable.   In addition to the requisite coal traffic, there are local freights, traffic between Charleston and Grafton, an interchange with the Western Maryland, and rudimentary passenger service.   I model the area near Buckhannon, with Grafton and Charleston as staging tracks at the end of the layout. Traffic control is by train orders.

 Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch [#10]

Brian Sheron models the Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch, Atlantic Branch, and the City Terminal Zone, circa 1964 (or, if he wants to run his G5’s, K4’s, and  H10’s, he changes out his fleet of cabooses, and dials the era back 10 years to 1954). The layout occupies three rooms in his basement, a 13’ x 19’ room,  a 12’ x 12’ room, and 10’ x20' room. It is primarily a double track, folded dogbone arrangement. One branch (City Terminal Zone) runs into the 12’ x 12’ room where he models New York City, complete with an operating overhead El, Penn Station, including a cutaway of the LIRR underground platforms in Penn Station where the P-54 MU’s would arrive to deliver and pick up the famous “Dashing Dan” LIRR commuter. The newest branch, the Atlantic Branch, goes into the 10’ x 20’ room, where Brian models Holban Yard, Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, and the LIRR car floats in Long Island City. The layout is 100% sceniced, and chock full of detail (Brian estimates he has well over 1800 figures, and over 800 vehicles on the layout). All of his engines are prototypic of the eras he models (although he also has two Atlas C-420s in the 1970’s Metro livery — because he thought they were neat!).  Most of the streets have working streetlights, the buildings on the layout have interior lights, and he has also a large number of of electro-luminescent signs, including many that he custom-made, for many of his industries, all of which contribute to impressive nighttime scenes.

Layout scale: HO 
Handicapped access: No
URL: layout tour
Car Forwarding method: Switchlists
Traffic control system: Sequential
Railroad control system: Digitrax DCC

Puerto Rican American Railroad [#15] 

Ed Rosado’s Puerto Rican American Railroad depicts rail operations on the island during two eras: The Old San Juan portion is set between 1898 and 1928, and connects to a tunnel that transports passengers into the 1940's - 60's depicting many of the island's well known geographical landmarks, including the original fort (Moro Castle) and what remains of the old city wall that once completely encircled it, the cathedral, the governor’s mansion, the ferry pier, and the town hall, most with pictures of the prototypes nearby and all reflecting his main interests in building scenery and structures. He has recreated Aguirre, a company town owned by the sugar cane barons of the time. Ed considers his railroad only about 20% complete, he does have some interesting scenic feature: a bioluminescent bay caused by the live glowing plankton that inhabit it and can only be seen at night from small boats and kayaks; a beach and a resort hotel high above it connected to each other by an operating funicular railroad; a model of the rain forest that includes some projects built by the old CCC in the 1930’s prior to WW II.

Clinch Valley Lines [#16] 

Set in 1959 in the very western part of Virginia, Clinch Valley Lines or CVL is an HO gauge railroad that serves the coal and general merchandise railroad needs of customers. The prototypical backdrop is the Norfolk and Western and the L&N, with the Clinchfield and Southern making appearances.
The CVL has been fully operational for some time, now having held over 40 operating sessions. Hard driven by carcards and waybills, the CVL uses a wireless EasyDCC control system, and a fast clock. All card cards and waybills are typed out on a portable typewriter and each piece of rolling stock has a separate number; there are no duplications. Roughly 2/3 of all engines---all first generation diesel--- have sound. Scenery is (or soon will be) largely complete. In all, the CVL has 200 pieces of rolling stock, half each of hoppers and general merchandise. The majority of structures are scratch built. The CVL has very proudly been the model railroad behind seven articles in The Dispatchers Office, the OPSIG magazine. The CVL is not handicap accessible.

Navigation:    top    Thursday    Friday morning    Friday afternoon    Friday evening   Saturday afternoon    Sunday

Layout Tours Saturday Morning

Navigation:    top    Thursday    Friday morning    Friday afternoon    Friday evening    Saturday morning    Sunday

Layout Tours Saturday Afternoon

#1 Rockville Hilton—Convention Headquarters
#2 Mat Thompson, MMR—Oregon Coast Railroad
#3 Pete LaGuardia—New York Central's Western Illinois Division (WID)
#4 Bob Rodriguez
#5 Bryan Kidd—Chesapeake and Ohio Railway's Alleghany Sub-Division
#6 John Swanson—PRR Cresson Branch
#7 Paul Raymond
#8 Todd Herman—Lehigh & New England Railroad's Catasauqua Branch

Time and Distance Between Locations
Location 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1   1.4 hr 1.5 hr 1.4 hr 1.5 hr 1.3 hr 1.3 hr 41 min
2 42mi   20 min 48 min 30 min 6 min 2 min 41 min
3 43 mi 6 mi   47 min 32 min 18 min 22 min 44 min
4 44 mi 26 mi 27 mi   23 min 44 min 48 min 1.25 hr
5 53 mi 15 mi 18 mi 10 mi   28 min 31 min 54 min
6 40 mi 1 mi 6 mi 24 mi 14 mi   7 min 38 min
7 41 mi .4 mi 6 mi 25 mi 15 mi 1 mi   41 min
8 18 mi 29 mi 31 mi 27 mi 38 mi 27 mi 28 mi

Saturday Afternoon Layout Descriptions

Oregon Coast Railroad [#2]

As a PRR fan and a native son of Punxsutawney, PA, John has decided that his first attempt at building a layout should focus on the area of his youth. The PRR Cresson Branch served the people and businesses in the mountains between Cresson, PA, just west of "The Curve," and Punxsutawney and a bit farther west. John's focus is on operations, and he and a few fellow modelers have things moving ahead of schedule, if not under budget, towards ops sessions late in 2017. Using the usual construction techniques and components for bench work, track and maybe some structures, John is using hardware and software that will allow for control of turnouts via Android tablets, and has also installed several of the Rapido Railcrew under the track uncouplers. As the time frame modeled is the transition era, there will be plenty of action from SW's to Decapods to Sharks to Mountains! The rugged terrain over the divide to Punxsy was no match for Pennsy power. Mat Thompson's Oregon Coast Railroad, set in 1957, follows the Columbia River from Portland to Astoria and then south along the Pacific Ocean to Tillamook. Modeled activities include an ocean port with a tramp steamer and car float, a large yard and engine facility, and a large meatpacking plant. This portion of the layout fills a 36' by 32' room in a folded dog bone configuration. The layout has grown with a 50' x 2' U-shaped extension in a second room. Newly modeled industries include a cheese factory, a large lumber mill and a paper mill.
    Scenery is 95% complete with several water features and hundreds of trees. The layout was featured in Great Model Railroads 2014.

New York Central's Western Illinois Division (WID) [#3]

Pete LaGuardia's HO scale New York Central Western Illinois Division (WID), is set in 1953, Operates from Kansas City, Omaha, and Des Moines on the west, through Moberly (MO) and Hannibal (MO), to Danville (IL) and Indianapolis (IN) on the east. Modeled activities include a large yard and engine facility with an 18 stall roundhouse with programmable indexing servicing both Steam and Diesel. Industries include a meatpacking plant, paper mill, city scenery and a harbor with car float.
   Layout style: Walk-around filling a 36 by 34 room. Track configuration is point-to-point for operations to include a Staging yard and Equipment transfer yard. Scenery: Bench and track work are 99% complete. Scenery was started in January 2014 and is 25% complete. Prototype: New York Central, summer 1953, passenger trains, thru and local freights, extras and industry switching.

Bob Rodriguez placeholder [#4]

Chesapeake and Ohio Railway's Alleghany Sub-Division [#5]

 Bryan Kidd models the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway's Alleghany Sub-Division (Clifton Forge, VA to Hinton, WV). Set in 1952, the scenes he's included are those that are operationally interesting to him: the changing of engines at Hinton; the helper service that ran from Hinton to Alleghany, VA (utilizing C&O's massive H-8 mallets); the unique "middle of nowhere" passenger yard that served C&O's regular and special passenger trains (and regular freight service) destined for the Greenbrier Hotel at White Sulphur Springs, WV; and the Greenbrier Sub-Division (that served Cass and Durbin, WV) junction at Ronceverte, WV. The doubletrack mainline is mostly Shinohara track and turnouts. The run is about 145' with a minimum radius of around 32". Turnouts are powered with Tortoise motors and controlled, for now, by Digitrax throttles (via Loco Net) on the mainline, and rotary switches in the local yards. The plan is to have the railroad centrally dispatched using CTC (i.e., computer and JMRI). Future-world plans also include a staging yard to represent Clifton Forge and points east; a representation of the Westvaco Paper Mill at Covington, VA, and the mixed-train service to the Homestead Hotel at Hot Springs, VA.

PRR Cresson Branch [#6]

John Swanson's PRR Cresson Branch Note: The railroad is accessed up 2 steps and through a narrow door. Heritage Hunt is a gated community, so visitors should have a driver's license and John's address handy for the gate attendant. Although parking is limited on Birkenhead Place, it is plentiful on either side of Arthur Hills Drive and in the club house parking lot across the street, depending on club house events. Please enter through the basement door as marked by the outdoor signs.
With a significant amount of basic construction completed and track installed, trains are running over the branch and demonstrating several advanced control techniques.

Paul Raymond placeholder [#7]

Lehigh & New England Railroad's Catasauqua Branch [#8]

Todd Hermann's layout depicts the Lehigh & New England Railroad's Catasauqua Branch and interchange connections circa 1956. The six-mile branch allowed the L&NE to connect with the Reading, Lehigh Valley and CNJ railroads in the town of Catasauqua, PA, just a few miles north of Allentown, PA. Thanks to its proximity to the traffic-rich cement producing region north of Allentown & Bethlehem, the branch was one of the busiest interchange gateways on the L&NE. Those interchange operations, along with local industry switching in "downtown" Catasauqua, are the focus of the layout.

The scale is HO with the primary emphasis placed on on depicting prototype scenes on the last two miles of the branch's west end as faithfully as possible. The railroad covers approx 23'x16' in the my basement of my home in Falls Church, VA. Saturday or Sunday are preferred for hosting times, but I could make Friday evening work, if needed. Access is via the basement stairs only.

Here's a link to an album of pics covering the construction of the layout to date. As you'll see, the layout is still very much under construction (and will be for years), but what has been built so far is operational.

Layout Tours Sunday

#1 Rockville Hilton—Convention Headquarters
#17 Bob Reid, MMR
Allegheny & Shenandoah Railroad
Time and Distance Between Locations
Location 1 17
1   2.3 hr
17 79 mi  

Sunday Layout Descriptions

Allegheny & Shenandoah Railroad  [#17]

Bob Reid's  Allegheny & Shenandoah RR is a very large double decked HO railroad with a logging branch the extends upward from the upper level. Radio DCC is used to control the trains over the main line that extends for over 720 feet. It is October 1, 1925. The layout is over 75% scenicked and has over 500 cars and 50 sound equipped steam locomotives. Operations occur on a regular basis usually with a crew of 7-10. The layout depicts a mountain climbing journey from Strasburg Va. to Elkins WV. The A&S is partially owned by the Western Maryland RR so lots of WM equipment is seen on the line. The traffic is mainly agricultural products such as grain and cattle hauled in 20-30 car trains. Petersburg is the division headquarters and locals are assembled in and depart from the small yard there.
     The mythical railroad has branches from Alexandria Va. and Waynesboro Va  through Strasburg Va. to Elkins WV. Only the western branch from Strasburg is modeled. The scenery is plaster over extruded foam and the benchwork is 37 sheets of 3/4" plywood and 25 sheets of 1/8" masonite. The layout completely fills a 975 square foot basement. The railroad area is full carpeted and skirted and over 35 fluorescent fixtures provide ample lighting. Seven towns are modeled, each with a 25'+ passing siding and multiple industrial locations. Over 200 structures occupy the layout, many are craftsman kits and kitbashed industrial structures. The impressive mine complex in Dry Fork is over 3' long and features a breaker building and a company town. A 40' ten track staging yard supports the operation.

Bill Demas, Layout Tour Coordinator