Layout Tours

Seeking Layouts for Susquehannock Convention

The layout tour and operating session subcommittee for the Susquehannock convention is looking for layout owners who would like to host tours and operating sessions.

Tours and op sessions are a key feature of MER conventions. Convention attendees are given a guide for the layout tours and drive themselves to the open layouts. Layouts are typically open for 3 to 4 hours, once or twice during the convention. It is an opportunity for you to share your modeling with your fellow modelers.

Convention op sessions give convention attendees opportunities to operate on layouts in the division. Attendees pre-register for op sessions so the number of operators can be limited to a number appropriate to your layout. If you already host an established operating session on your layout, please consider hosting a session for the convention. We’re looking for layouts that can accommodate a minimum of 5 guest operators. You should plan on having some of your regular experienced operators on hand to help the guest operators.

The convention takes place October 12 through 15, 2017. Please consider hosting a layout tour and/or operating session on your layout. If you’re interested in hosting please fill out our online form to express your interest:


Layout Tours

There will be multiple self-driven layout tour opportunities during the convention. More information will continue to be added throughout the year.

Although the convention is still a ways away, we already have commitments for the following layouts to be open for self-guided tours during the convention.  This list is subject to be changed without notice.


Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad

Hosted by:  Columbia Historic Preservation Society

The Columbia Historic Preservation Society Model HO Model Railroad covers 1000 square feet and is HO (1:87) scale. The Columbia area is prototypical (based on what actually existed). The time era of Columbia is 1920-1940.

Columbia covers approximately 200 sq.ft. of the layout, and is home to a large roundhouse facility, a major yard, coaling and diesel facilities as well as two railroad stations (Pennsylvania RR and Reading RR).


Pennsylvania Railroad Middle Division

Hosted by:  Jerry Britton

Operations-based HO scale model railroad set around Lewistown, Pa., during the 1950s. The Pennsylvania Railroad’s busy four track main line is depicted as it passes Lewistown. The Lewistown yard is modeled, with the Lewistown and Milroy secondaries stretching outward through Mifflin County.

The layout fills a 24’ x 32’ basement and is nearly fully functional but has only has some scenery completed. The layout uses Digitrax DCC and JMRI/CATS. This site is not ADA accessible.


Western Maryland

Hosted by:  Jim Long

The general theme is the Western Maryland in West Virginia. Lots of mountains, streams, logging and the start of some coal mining facilities and the big WM yard at Elkins. There is about 300 feet of main line and several yards. Scenery is about 60%, 100% in some areas and “in process” in others.

Most of the engines have sound, some from the factory and some I installed. There is a mix of steam, some early diesel and some modern diesel (just cause I like them but not exactly true to the time frame). A mix of lots of freight and three passenger consists. Other features include a lumber mill with dump and pond, two engine facilities, one with coaling tower, water and sand, one a diesel engine house with fueling and sand facilities, and one, under construction,(Elkins) with a round table, 6 bay engine house and machine shop (finished +/-). Coaling, sand and water not finished at this yard yet.


Pennsylvania Railroad Buffalo Line

Hosted by:  Steven Mallery

Steven Mallery, who just happens to be a retired prototype Dispatcher for Norfolk Southern working the same geographical area that he models, runs his mid 1960’s era PRR Buffalo Line from South Williamsport, PA, to GJ interlocking outside of Buffalo, NY, as a point to point model railroad with three staging yards representing Enola, PA, Buffalo, NY, and Erie, PA.

The principal classification yard at Renovo is supplemented by four small local yards. Half of the 250 feet of HO scale single track mainline with passing sidings is on two levels allowing plenty of space on the center peninsula single level half for the main physical model railroad feature, the heavy helper grade necessitating helper assistance for both up hill shoves and down hill braking. Depending on traffic, two helper crews are often required. The model railroad is located in a 28′ x 34′ room.


Green Ridge & Big Spring RR — HO and N scales.

Hosted by: Green Ridge Village Model Railroad Club

Based on the Cumberland Valley RR with names of towns served (Carlisle, Oakville, etc.). Train room is 44′ X 36′. Layout is a rectangle with 3 peninsulas and 2 levels connected by a 3% grade. Layout has 1472 ‘ of track in the form of a 2 track main with folded loops.Most of scenes are rural with the background walls painted by a commercial artist.


PRR Cumberland Division — HO scale, NCE.

Hosted by: Bob Jan

Multi-decked, J-shaped layout with 3-track helix in 27′ x 15′ garage. Steam – Diesel late 1950’s era. PRR 2-track mainline with B&O trackage rights and hidden staging loops.


Keystone Midland Railroad — HO scale, Digitrax.

Hosted by: Keystone Model Railroad Historical Society

The Keystone Midland is a freelanced “Bridge Route” running East to West and serving towns across Pennsylvania. You will see both “varnish” and freight from various roads using trackage rights on the KM. The track plan is a series of folded dog bones with two end points that share a common physical plant. The towns and scenes represent the various markets served by Eastern railroads and the obstacles they faced in moving traffic from large centers like Chicago and New York City.


South Penn Division — HO scale, NCE.

Hosted by: Bob Charles

Proto-freelanced operations based model railroad modeling the planned South Penn Railroad between Philadelphia, PA, and Pittsburgh, PA.


Lancaster & Atlantic Railroad — HO scale, Digitrax, JMRI.

Hosted by: Wayne Betty

The L&ARR covers that portion of the Pennsylvania Railroad from Enola eastward to Columbia and Lancaster, with the Northern Central line to York for added traffic. Point to point operation through several levels on this DCC layout with a JMRI CTC machine. The date on the railroad is January 31st, 1968 the last day of the PRR. Motive power is the latest of the PRR. Scenery is still in the Imagineering stages, but hopefully advancing. Digitrax DCC for track control, detection and routing. Using Tam Valley boosters with PSX circuit breakers. All main line tracks are detected with signaling provided by repeater panels (computer monitors) at each interlocking. Dispatcher control is via JMRI.


West Penn Railroad — HO scale, Digitrax DCC

Hosted by: Dave Trone

The WEST PENN railroad was started in the new location in April 2005. The layout is the largest HO Scale mushroom style layout in South Central PA with a 1700′ mainline in a 2700 sqft space. The West Penn is built as a switching layout with lots of running between the 13 main industrial areas. A live load system for coal with working tipple and rotary dumper are examples of the type of engineering the owner likes to do. The track work, code 83 with hand laid turnouts, is almost complete and hardshell is throughout with scenery started at the upper level.


PRR/RDG/WM South Central Region — HO scale, Digitrax DCC

Hosted by: Jeff Warner

The PRR/RDG/WM South Central Region represents the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), Reading Railroad (RDG), and Western Maryland Railway (WM) in South Central Pennsylvania and Maryland. It is an HO scale layout comprised of two decks in a 22′ x 36′ basement. It is set in the transition era of the mid 1950’s with electric, steam and diesel locomotives. It is a “proto-freelance” railroad. That is, it is not meant to be an exact “replica” of the actual railroad, but rather capture the “flavor” of what these railroads were in the 1950’s.


Susquehanna and Jersey — HO scale, DC

Hosted by: Jim Richards

Major interest in craftsman structures. Moved here in late July so the layout is in very unfinished condition with the exception of 3 modules being re-assembled.


Northern Central Railroad — HO scale, Digitrax DCC

Hosted by: Guy Wilson

My HO scale Northern Central is planned as a 1600 sq ft layout set in the Lebanon Valley between Harrisburg and Reading Pennsylvania in summer 1953. The layout is mostly single deck with the exception of an upper deck over about one third of the layout. The second deck is a large integrated steel mill. The main yard at Harrisburg is 64′ long and features east and west bound 5 track yards. Each yard has a dedicated A/D track. I’m also modeling a detailed engine service area for steam and diesel. I am a Baldwin locomotive fan so the bulk of my fleet is Baldwin. Steam still exists on the Northern Central but it is quickly being replaced by newer 4 and 6 axle Baldwin AS series road switchers.


Griffis Junction — HO scale, Digitrax DCC

Hosted by: Scott Griffis

Freelance double track mainline serving five towns, two yards, and a coal mine. Layout is single level with minimal grades. It has approximately 600 pieces of rolling stock and 40 sound-equipped engines; most BLI in PRR schemes. The main yard is served by a wye and is 4 feet wide and over 30 feet long, the second yard is 3 feet wide and 25 feet long, four of the towns are 30 inches wide and average 20 feet long, the small mountain town is atop a 4 foot x 9 foot section of the layout. The three track coal mine fills operating tyco hopper cars that get delivered to dump stations around the layout. The layout has scenery over about 3/4 of the railroad at this moment. The railroad is about 30 feet wide and 50 feet long. The mainline run is almost 2 scale miles.


Jefferson Central Railroad — S scale, DC

Hosted by: William Fraley

Freelanced model railroad based on a bridge line in central Pennsylvania that is being consumed by the Reading Company.


Central Grove Lumber Company — 1/4 inch O scale with 3 foot gauge track, Digitrax DCC

Hosted by: Tom O’Connor

Point to point logging with related industries. Featured recently in Timber Times and O Scale Trains magazines.


PRR Middle Division — HO scale, DC

Hosted by: Ken Dunn