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2021 Layout Tours Scheduled

In person "visitation" layout tours have been cancelled due to the coronavirus - 19 until further notice.

Information about Open House Layout Tours

  Thoughts on Open Houses by Nick Kalis         Hosting a Home Layout Tour by Bob Rosenberg

2020 Layout Tours Scheduled

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
Alex Belida’s Eureka & South Pass RR


Lincoln Lumber Parker's Peak Mine

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 that he delivered. 

Alex urges visitors to follow his blog: https://esprrblog.wordpress.com

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.

This is our first visit to this railroad.

Saturday, August 15, 2020, 1 – 4 PM, Gainesville, VA
John Swanson’s PRR Cresson Branch

Cancelled due to Coronavirus - 19 

Accessibility:  The railroad is accessed up 2 steps and through a narrow door, not considered accessible.

The PRR Cresson Branch served the people and businesses in the mountains between Cresson, PA, just west of the famous Horseshoe Curve, and Punxsutawney, PA. As a PRR fan and a native son of Punxsutawney, John decided that his first attempt at building a layout should focus on the area of his youth. So, his Cresson Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad not only connects Punxsutawney to the PRR main line at Cresson, PA, but also provides interchange with the B&O in Cloe and the NYC System in Mahaffey. The primary focus is on operations, and in just over 4 years from the start of construction, "The Branch" has enjoyed more than a dozen TT&TO (timetable and train order) operating sessions, keeping as many as 17 people busy for several hours. Operations represent the fictional necessities of the railroad on February 2, 1955 - Groundhog Day, with steam and some diesel operations. John's version of conditions includes more mixed freight and less coal, as that's what the fictional customers demand.

Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, 1 – 4 PM, Poolesville, MD
Brian Sheron's LIRR Port Jefferson Branch

Cancelled due to Coronavirus -19

Accessibility: Brian's layout is down a set of basement stairs, the main floor of the house is reached from a set of front steps.
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 1900 figures, and over 800 vehicles on the layout). All of his engines are prototypical 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.
Click here to learn about our prior tour here.

Saturday, November 14, 2020, 1 – 4 PM, Manassas, VA
George Meyrick's The Tri-State Line

Cancelled due to Coronovirus - 19

The layout is not handicapped access.
This is a fictional railroad running is a fictional part of the country.  The railroad is currently set in the transition period permitting both steam and early diesel.  Because the layout in under construction it has no official name.  But people keep asking why I doing certain things with the design.  So I created the following backstory to justify elements of the layout.  Some of this is based on the room and the planned stages of construction.  Other things permits me to running any roadname motive power on the layout.  So on to the backstory.
The History of the Tri-State Line
The Central City and Southern Railroad was formed shortly after the Civil War to connect Central City (the northeast terminus) to the mill town of Emporia and the river port of Fort Down.  As the country grew, management decided to build a trestle across the river to new markets on the south side.  About a week after completion, an old river boat caught fire, broke away from its mooring, and drifted into the trestle destroying everything but the northern approached out of Emporia.  Being short of funds, the railroad could not rebuild the trestle leaving the south side markets in the hands of the riverboat owners.
Just before the turn of the century the Central City and Southern decided to merge with The Summit and Western Railroad (a shortline on the south side of the river.)  Together, their funds permitted the construction of a steel bridge across the river.  Soon the traffic increase, justifying double tracking the new mainline from Central City across the river into Summit and on to Middlebury (the new southern terminus).
At the start of the Great War (World War I), the railroad again merged permitting a connection from Middlebury to the ocean port of Saint Denise, creating the railroad of today.  Through connections and changes in management, today’s railroad serves as a connector line between Class I railroads to the north and east of Central City and other Class I railroads to the south of Middlebury.  The railroad leases most of its power from these railroads in exchange for trackage rights.
Because of the several mergers and management changes, the railroad lost its original identity and is only known as the Tri-State Line to the local railfans.
Oh, by the way, the three states that make up the Tri-Start Line are:  The State of Confusion, The State of Disarray, and the great State of A fair.  (Remember this is hobby for having fun.)

This is our first visit to this railroad.

Saturday, December 12, 2020, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM, Falls Church, VA
Todd Hermann's Lehigh & New England Catasauqua Branch

Virtual Layout Tour using Zoom

The Zoom meeting information will be sent out via email.

Access: The layout is not open to visitation due to the Coronovirus 19 restrictions.
The layout is an HO scale tribute to the Lehigh & New England Railroad’s Catasauqua Branch circa the summer of 1956. It occupies about two-thirds of Todd's 29 foot by 24 foot basement of his house located in Falls Church,Virginia. The 6-mile long Catasauqua Branch served local industry in its namesake town (located just North of Allentown, PA) and featured key interchanges for the L&NE with the Jersey Central, Lehigh Valley, Ironton, and Reading Railroads. Along the way, the branch included a tunnel, several extremely sharp curves, and crossed three other rail lines at grade. The modeling focuses primarily on the western end of the branch as it enters the Catasauqua borough and makes its way across the Lehigh River to reach the busy interchange points in West Catsauqua, PA. The modeling goal is to capture selected scenes as faithfully as possible and with minimal compression. The layout is under construction with the track work complete and scenery and structure building underway. The layout is run using the NCE DCC system.
This layout tour will be a live presentation conducted using the Zoom video platform and the first virtual layout tour conducted by the Potomac Division. The goal of the session is to provide a an "open house experience" and allow the layout owner to share his layout with other NMRA members. Todd will briefly introduce the prototype location he is modeling and then take a walk-a-round tour of the layout from one end to the other. Along the way he will talk about some of the techniques he is using to build the railroad, the choices and challenges encountered along the way, and this goals for the work that remains to be completed. One the line is toured he will "chase" a train as it moves Eastbound over the branch to wrap up the session. There will be a Question and Answer period at the end of the tour.
This is our first visit to this railroad.

Nick Kalis,     Layout Tour Coordinator        Layout-Tours@potomac-nmra.org

Last modified: August 01 2021 12:31:30.