Ed Maldonado’s Colorado & Maryland, Adamstown, MD
Saturday, May 16, 2015

Pictures by Marshall Abrams


I often speculate on what I could have done with my model railroad if I just had more space (other than fill it up with more trains). A different design, certainly, and more storage or staging tracks so that trains could be run out and back without tying up my passing sidings as I have to do now, of course. What if I had a room, say, 35’ by 48’? Would that be enough to build what I really wanted in a model railroad? Well, I was offered the opportunity to see what could be done with a space that large at Ed Maldonado’s home in Adamstown, Maryland, on Saturday, the 16th of May.

His layout nearly fills a basement room exactly that size, with long yard tracks to store trains prior to running them on his three-track continuously operating main line. Although one nominally thinks in terms of the Pennsy when multi-track mains are involved, his railroad follows no particular prototype or era. On that day, he was running a PRR M1 4-8-2, a NS diesel, and a Conrail diesel, pulling long trains of military tanks on flat cars, as would be appropriate to the 1940s and 1950’s. He also had five 8’ display shelves around the walls that contained an assortment of railroads and equipment styles, plus more still stored in boxes and cabinets (I can identify with those boxes and cabinets). And if that weren’t enough, there was a small, separate, N gauge railroad on a 2.5’ by 6’ board against the wall as well. The railroad is controlled with Digitrax DCC and the locomotives all have sound. There were long, lighted signal bridges over the three track main at various locations that were controlled by switches on the side of the layout and are used primarily to inform the engineer that he is proceeding on that track in the right direction; Ed felt that wiring them to change when the train passed underneath would be adding some needless complications to a set up that was already complicated enough because to its size. He described the layout as a double folded dog bone that crosses over itself at least twice, and is intended for train watching rather than operational switching or the dropping off and picking up of cars. The rural and small town industrial atmosphere is nicely done using DPM type buildings and kit and/or kit-bashed factories built down a hillside area that slopes into the valley below, a long row of Walther’s Flats on the wall behind the yard to give both depth and something of interest to an otherwise bare area along with other indications of a pretty much bygone industrial era. The entire railroad is walk-in accessible, with no tracks to duck under, or anything else to impede the movement of operators or visitors around the layout, a feature that I really appreciate personally these days.

If your primary objective in model railroading is to sit back and enjoy watching long freight trains passing each other in both directions on broad curves with a mix of equipment through realistic scenery, rather than spending your time switching cars back and forth around a small industry or two, then the type of railroad that Ed Maldonado has built is for you. Of course, it helps if you have as large a space as he has in which to build it.
                                Bob Rosenberg