Benchwork and track support construction at Moonville
Member Charles working on the Meade Paper industry complex. Note
the diagram hanging up.
As part of making the layout as accurate as we can, large industrys are
modeled as close as we can
to the real one in the space that we have to do it in.
In 1984, when the club was
first started, a small group of HO scale modelers started construction
of a group of modules. These modules were portable and could be
set up at different locations, and often were on display at various
locations on DelMarVa. The HO modules in turn attracted more
members to the club and HO scale modeling.
In 1985, after the club found a
permanent home, a
committee was appointed to design a large HO-Scale layout,
and construction was started. Although it had very little
December of 1985, we had our first open house. The layout at that
time was an L-shape with 2 proposed additions which was to make it
E-shaped. However, it was decided that no additional areas will
started until scenery has been competed on the existing portions.
Different modelers were assigned, or chose, different towns and
sections of the layout to complete. As a result, some
spectacular scenery has been constructed on the layout.
This original and permanent club layout was
not designed for operations, but
instead as most layouts start out, was a Christmas tree loop or in this
case 3 loops. The layout started as a double track
“L” shaped loop with
a single-track line making a loop somewhat in the middle. This
was fine for open house displaying and for letting members just run
In the early 1990's, a few
members started thinking
about trying to set up some type of prototypical operations on the
existing layout where trains and cars would serve the existing
industries. Walk around DC control and block control panels were
added to the layout. Next, an operational scheme was devised and
few sessions were tried with many problems found. The layout had
many things that did not allow it to operate successfully, so
operations stopped and reworking the problems started. The
Railroad also needed a place to come from, and go to. There was a
fiddle yard area on the back of one leg of the “L”, so
to make the loop point to point, the “fiddle” yard was cut
in half and the loop opened up, at least on paper. With this
there were now two staging yards, one at each end of the layout.
there was a place to go to and come from.
In 1997, a
digital control system was installed. This allowed more trains to
be run on the same sections of track at the same time, which added to
the operations that were being set up.
As part of operations, the
layout needed a
"place" to represent. But where was this place? There were
some design elements already in place that had to be lived with, a
small port with a yard, a yard with a wye that had a double track main
on two of the legs and a single track main on the other leg.
Other design elements included a junction of two double track
mains (one of the double track mains goes to the new addition which at
this time was not yet built), a small quarry line with a small town and
also a busy port with a yard. The place that seemed to fit what
was there was Parkersburg, WV, right on the Ohio River along the WV
& OH border. It appeared to have a PRR (Pennsylvania Railroad)
junction across the river from Parkersburg. So after much discussion,
it was chosen as a starting point. So the modeled yard would be
Parkersburg and the junction on the layout would be Belpre. The
existing main line was now the B&O main from Baltimore to St. Louis
and PRR was given joint trackage rights into Parkersburg.
Also in 1997, plans where
started for expanding the original permanent layout. These plans
for expansion were a direct result of finding a "location" that the
layout would represent. The modules were relocated in another
area to make room for the new expansion, and to see
what kind of room was available for it. As far as prototype
operations were concerned, the layout, with the new expansion, would
represent the B&O Railroad from Cincinnati OH to Grafton WV.
An upper level was also planed, and this would be part of
the Ohio River Subdivision from Hunting WV to Wheeling WV.
Construction was started on the
new section in 2002. One mainline was completed and running for
the December 2003 open house.
In February of 2004, adding the
second level was approved and the backdrop for the new section was
started so it would support the upper level. Construction on the
actual upper level started in February 2005.
In March of 2005, the West
Junction trackwork was completed.
In 2008, 90% of all trackwork
was completed plus some small
amount of scenery in two locations was in work. Work continues on
the large industrial areas and on the upper level representing the Ohio
River Subdivision. Prototype operations are now being held once a
month, and scenery work on the new section continues, as well as
scenery re-work in the port area.
In early 2008, installation of
DCC block detection and signals was started. Detection and
signals were completed in the towns of Grosovneor, Athens, and Hamden
in early 2009, and Belpre was selected next to be signaled and work
started immediately after completing Hamden. To aid in operations
and with the new signal system, a "tower" was built. This enabled
the HO computer to be set up there with a magnetic dispatching board.
The Tower floor
Some new Signals