Dale Latham's Piedmont Southern, Waldorf, MD

December 5th, 2015

Pictures by Thomas Gaffuri

Dale Latham's Piedmont Southern, Waldorf, MD
By Bill Mosteller
Dale’s wonderful railroad is located in his garage, insuring ample space.  You enter from his house.  My plan is to take you around the railroad.  As the slide show demonstrates, all the scenes are exquisitely done and very well detailed.
The first thing you see as you enter the room is South Branch, and its two-track coal pier.  The scene includes waterfront, a light house, and a coal barge.  The Piedmont branch begins here, there’s a scrap dealer behind the pier approach track.

Moving on, we come to Shenandoah, the most recently rebuilt area of the railroad.  Dale decided that the aisle way into the railroad here was too narrow (or perhaps that we visitors are too wide).  He pruned the railroad back a foot, and re-arranged the scene.  Included are a station, small yard, feed company, coal dealer, and fertilizer warehouse.
We cross a stream and come to Ann Marie, with a small siding and building for American Wood, which handles pulpwood.

From there, we pass by Anitasdale (named for Dale’s wife) with a prominent station and feed company.  The turnout at Shenandoah Junction puts us onto the main line.  From there, if we were to reverse direction, we’d pass through Anitasdale and enter hidden track that leads to staging. 

Instead, we proceed to South Blue Ridge, which features Knickerbocker Furniture and a passenger flag stop.
Just beyond is Blue Ridge, the Piedmont Southern’s main yard, including fueling and repair facilities and a turntable.  Incoming cars are sorted here for the Piedmont and Shenandoah turns and through freights.

From here, the railroad has another branch that leads to Piedmont.  Major industries here include the Anita Latham Bakery, North Piedmont, an urban scene with several industries, and an interchange track.  When operating a railroad, I like scenes that are a challenge, but not a switching puzzle.  From several enjoyable sessions I can say that this area is exactly that.  Entering North Piedmont, there’s room for your locomotive and one freight car.  So you need to think out what you’re picking up and whether the siding is facing or trailing point.  Accessing the interchange track may require moving existing set-outs.

Getting back on the main line at Blue Ridge, we proceed to the Piedmont Station and Piedmont Heights, which features a pet food company and small station.

From there, we cross a high steel trestle to Adora Run, with a station, grocery distributor, and coal dump.  The house in the foreground features details on the front porch including a VectorCut® rocking chair.  Dale took four hours to assemble the chair while watching a Redskins game.  Good thing the team isn’t so good this year!  From Adora Run we have access to Popes Creek, which features a major coal tipple with a three-track yard and a pallet and stave supplier.  Meanwhile, the main line passes the coal tipple and enters a helix that allows the train to descend.  Adora Run and Popes Creek sit on a new peninsula that Dale only recently recreated.

Exiting the helix, we arrive at Sean Creek, site of a flag stop and large concrete plant, including a kiln.  The plan is another switching challenge, but stops short of being a puzzle.  The passing siding can be used to hold cars temporarily while switching the plant, provided one pays attention to the timetable.

Finally, we arrive at Hanover Junction, which includes a team track, coal dump, and entrances to staging tracks.
As you can see, Dale’s railroad combines real operating potential with excellent detailing and scenic-ing, a rare combination.  Dale’s railroad is part of The Chesapeake Trainmasters Club, a local operating group.