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
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.
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.
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.
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