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Frank Benenati's Maryland Junction     February 16, 2019

  by Nigel Phillips

It was another layout treat for those prepared to venture into Montgomery County on a Saturday with excellent turnout from across the Division!

Frank Benenati?s Maryland Junction is an operator and visitor friendly basement layout that has lots of operational interest as well as scenic vignettes for the sharp-eyed. It is a multi-level asymmetrical oval track plan (I counted 4 levels) based on one in Model Railroader Track Plans #39. It has subtle changes in gradients along with lots of operational interest, including a turntable.

There were interesting scenic breaks integrated into the different levels that had me looking around the corner to see what was coming next. Frank had an operations crew running trains who were all prepared to slow trains down or stop for a chat. The operations seemed to keep the crew occupied, not surprising given the different depot locations and yards.

The layout has two impressive high trestles over a river gorge, one wood,the other iron, and five steel deck bridges over roads and rivers, with what looked like some interesting action going on underneath, plus an additional girder bridge.

Frank's track work was superb, with mainly ready-to-run turnouts suitably modified to a very high standard. There were also hand operated switches, most using mechanisms from Fast Tracks in Canada. And although the layout is DCC, the locomotives were operating without sound ? a nice change. Coal mine to domestic coal yard, milk churn platform to Model T truck, it kept me occupied all afternoon. You should catch it in its current form while you can. Frank has expansion plans afoot to increase the operational and scenic interest. Many thanks to Frank and the operations crew for an entertaining layout tour.

Photos by Nigel Phillips and Thomas Washburn