Philadelphia Convention 2006

The 2006 NMRA and LDSIG Conventions will be held in Philadelphia. More information on the NMRA Convention, Independence Junction 2006, is available by clicking here.


Layout Tours

On Wednesday, July 5th will be the layout tours and picnic. The layouts selected for the tours show many state of the art techniques, plus some adaptations of older designs to modern thinking.

Accessibility for the layouts are average. Most of the layouts are in basements, but most are newer homes with easy stairs. One has narrow steps, but it can be accessed from the house where there is a hand rail. One is in a garage with walk in access, and there are two that are unknown.

Bruce Friedman's CSX system is based on today's CSX, focusing on the Philly Subdivision. All trains are based on real life operating patterns, and the industries modeled are all based on actual locations along the line and include automobile manufacturing and distribution, plus many other industries. Many of the scenes, both on and off line are modeled after the actual locations. The railroad is double decked; with the bottom deck standard L girder, and the top deck 2" foam on metal shelf brackets. The layout includes two helixes, one that is 8' tall! There is a large staging yard, operational B&O signals using Integrated Signal Systems, and DCC by Digitrax. The railroad is 100% complete, with only minor scenery work to be done.

Carl Huth models the Reading in the era from 1952 - 1976. The main line from Pottsville to Philadelphia is double tracked, and the line to Newberry Jct. is single track. Reading PA. is the hub of the layout, and most trains will pass there and make large pick-ups and setouts. Freights will vary in length with some up to 80 cars long. There are 24 scheduled trains in an operating session and many extras. Operation is with waybills and Easy DCC by CVP Products. The main line and branch lines are point to point for operation, but continuous run is available for open houses. Two years went into the planning of the layout. It has 23 corners, multiple stairs a workshop, storage room, and a restroom! The bench work is open grid, with the roadbed laminated wood with spacers. Yards are plywood and homasote. Wide aisleways and no duckunders are the norm. A slide up section with 5 levels of track in front of the men's room door is the only duck under during operating sessions!

Paul Cappeloni models the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western in 1945-1953. The layout has a double tracked main line around the room, with the Bangor& Portland branch on a peninsula down the middle. The main line features continuous running. The layout is triple decked with staging on the lowest level. Many of the scenes are of a specific geographic location, and include the Delaware Water Gap and the concrete arch viaduct across the river. There is continuous staging around the room with many of the local railroads including the L&NE, the Lehigh Valley, the PRR, and the Northampton & Bath. The railroad is built with foam insulation board.


E. Winfield Gross' Pennsylvania theme railroad is a classic island style railroad with a number of new design ideas added in recent years. The old portion of the railroad is plain grid bench work with plaster scenery, while the new portions are shelves about 18" wide hung from the walls. The railroad features mostly PRR equipment, with Reading, Jersey Central, Lehigh Valley and Lackawanna interchanges included. The railroad is operated with car cards and hand written switch lists, and includes passenger and freight traffic. There are several branch lines and much local work to do. Control is by Digitrax DCC.


John Rogers models Northern New England railroading in the classic transition era. Included on this multi deck railroad are the Boston & Maine, Canadian Pacific, and the Maine Central. All traffic is controlled by timetable and train order. The railroad is a linear walk around design with a dual helix, and includes multiple main lines and branch line operations. There is a Dispatchers desk and telephone system in place for communications. All of the work on this current version of the railroad was completed in just over a year, and except for extending a branch line, all trackage and much scenery is in place. Control is by Digitrax DCC.

Larry Reynolds models the PRR from Huntingdon to Tunnel Hill. Operations feature passenger trains, symbol freights, and locals over a 4-track main line. Activities at Altoona and the operations through Horseshoe Curve are a focal point of the railroad. The railroad is a single deck linear design built around the walls of the room. Staging operations require an additional operator to control trains in and out of the active railroad. This operator supports the Dispatcher at Alto. There are a number of future projects in the works including an extension of he mainline west that will partially double deck the railroad, a signaling system, and a total redesign of Altoona yard.


Jim Hertzog's well known Reading Lines layout features the Anthracite coal region of eastern Pennsylvania during the steam to diesel transition era. Trains run under the control of the Dispatcher, and include passenger and through freights with numerous locals. Lenz DCC is used for control, and some units are equipped with sound. The layout is a linear walk around design that is single level and includes three helper districts. When facing the railroad West is always to the left. Staging is accomplished in a large double deck staging area. Bench work and track are complete, and most of the railroad is sceniced.


Joe Lofland's Erie -Lackawanna railroad focuses on the Lackawanna side of the lines from Stroudsburg to Binghamton. The railroad is around the wall with two islands, and is double deck at some points. Construction is L girders made from plywood, with risers and spline sub-roadbed. Homasote is used for the roadbed. The layout is constructed using cantilevers off of the wall studs with no posts or wires. When facing the railroad West is always to the left.


Jim Dalberg's prototype based layout is set in the transition era, and follows the Lehigh Valley and CNJ between Jersey City and Pittston. This double, and at points triple deck layout places towns in correct order and includes numerous interchanges with many other lines. The railroad is point to point and there are three staging yards and two helixes scattered throughout the railroad. Operation includes passenger and through freight, plus locals. Also included are car float operations to various NYC terminals.


Gale Smith's Lehigh Valley railroad occupies a 21' X 25' room with an around the room, double deck linear design. There is 365' of double track main line that runs from Allentown to Rockport Tunnel. There are staging yards at both ends (8 tracks East and 16 West end), with three major online yards. Traffic includes 5 local drills, two coal mines, and a cement industry, as is typical of the area served by the Lehigh Valley. Track work is almost complete and scenery is under way.

Paul Backenstose has recently completed the change of his PRR based layout to the Western Maryland. The original design was based on John Armstrong's PRR Schuylkill Division plan, to which three staging yards were added. The current operation reflects the WM from Hagerstown to Cumberland and Connellsville and the Thomas Subdivision. The railroad is built around the walls with a center peninsula, with portions multiple decked. Track work is almost completed, and many areas of the railroad are fully sceniced.

Steve Salotti models the New York, Susquehanna & Western railroad in 1949. The double deck, linear design occupies two large rooms in the basement. The railroad closely follows the operations of the Susie-Q in '49, with many actual industries and cars from the time period included on the railroad. Traffic includes commuter and express trains running on actual NYS&W symbols, with all freights run as extras. All passenger trains are first class and run on timetable, while freights run only by train order. There is a three to one fast clock, and phone system used to relay orders (Form 19). Track work is nearing completion, with only the Edgewater Branch with the large Ford assembly plant to be finished, and scenery is about 60% completed.

Ken McCorry is the host for our picnic this year, and his large layout, housed in its own separate building, will be open for you to visit. Ken's railroad models the ex PRR Buffalo line from Rockville tower near Harrisburg to the Ebenezer yard terminal in Buffalo NY. Current time period modeled is 1976-1983. RR requires 3 dispatchers Rockville, Kase and Lyco to handle operations on the 1450' long mainline. 20 operators are required for full operations. Signaling is currently in operation from Buffalo to Renovo. Scenery is about 65% Digitrax DCC.

In addition, Brian Good from our layout design challenge will have his basement space and collection of research materials open for you to look at. With a list of layouts like this, there are sure to be many ideas you can glean for use on your layout! Will we see you at the Junction this year?