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Participating Layouts

IslandOps is postponed until the fall, September 25-27, 2020.






Steve Gitleman's Great Lakes and Iron Range Railroad

Great Northern

Island Central




Sweet Hollow







Allegheny & Western
West Island Club Hicksville
Large club layout based on NJ and PA
Scenery: 25% 5600 square feet 660
Walkaround Train lineup, passengers run on schedule NCE DCC w/radio
No hazards Late 50s

The layout is based on a "what if?" scenario where the Alphabet Route railroads were allowed to combine into a system as an efficiency move during WW II. (This is similar to the Family Lines during the 1980s where several railroads painted equipment in the same scheme even though they were not legally one entity.) So there is equipment of the combined Allegheny & Western system along with equipment of the member roads.

The modeled A&W mainline runs from the Port of NY to Harrisburg, PA. There are two major subdivisions branching off from the main. One goes from Phillipsburg, NJ to Maybrook, NY. The other goes from Topton, PA to Wilkes-Barre, PA and beyond to Buffalo.

The hub is Allentown, PA, a midsize city with a large manufacturing base. Real locations are modeled, including Fleetwood, PA - original location of the "Body by Fleetwood" plant.

This is a diverse territory and we model representative chunks of it. Major locations are:

  • Greenville in Jersey City, NJ - busy waterfront with a refinery and car float operations.
  • Bethlehem, PA - the main Bethlehem Steel works.
  • Allentown, PA - our company offices and our main yard, a modern rider hump. It is also the terminus for short-distance service to New York.
  • Hershey, PA- home of Hershey Chocolate
  • Harrisburg, PA - our connection to the PRR system as well as the gateway to the south and southwest.
  • Wilkes-Barre, PA - a rich source of traffic in anthracite as well as connections to the north and west.
  • Maybrook, NY - Gateway to New England

It takes a lot of people diligently working to keep a Class One railroad fluid. From the switcher plugging away at the docks to the trainmaster overseeing it all, there are a wide variety of jobs.

Op Session Sunday 2:00 PMHicksville9 mi., 20 min.
Bacardi and Northern Railroad
Steven Torborg East Rockaway
90s era Conrail spinoff in northern NJ
HO Proto-Freelanced
Scenery: Ongoing, mostly complete 18' by 18' Approx 120'
Walkaround Dispatched by Verbal Permission NCE DCC via Tethered Throttles
No steps Late 90s
The Bacardi and Northern Railroad is a fictitious revival of what is currently known as the CSX Northern Industrial Track between North Bergen, New Jersey and Orangeburg, New York. Based in the late 90s, the line is an almost exact duplicate of each of the industries that existed along the line at the time, providing extensive switching operations that will prove both challenging and fun. Modeler's license adds to the mix with a variety of run through freights, local passenger service and additional industries. The line is operated with a mix of first and second generation Alco power and standard freight equipment. Nearly all prototypical structures and scenery are in place, fitting the layout to northern New Jersey where the actual line exists.
Op Session Saturday 9:00 AM East Rockaway 7 mi., 20 min.
Op Session Sunday 9:00 AMEast Rockaway7 mi., 20 min.
Chichester and Sweet Hollow
Steve Gittleman Huntington
Connecticut secondary mainline
G Scale Freelance
100% scenery 14 acres 2000' long mainline
Walkaround TT&TO Radio Throttles
Moderately hilly terrain 1958 New expansion!

The Chichester and Sweet Hollow RR is loosely based after the Middletown to Willimantic segment of the New Haven RR. This 1:29 scale railroad is designed for true timetable and train order operations. You can't see the next siding from most locations, so you have to be sharp!

A reservoir under construction near Barnesville is providing a small percentage of its fill to assist the C and SH convert an old trestle into a fill. Until the trestle over Sweet Hollow gorge is back in action freight traffic is being offloaded at Sweet Hollow Industrial Transfer Co. where trucks swarm around the loading platforms. Traffic is heavy here and demands much of the crews. The sounds of a busy transfer depot are heard throughout the valley. (SHITCo. Is some twelve feet long with its own sound system. The year is 1958 and the important terminal grain elevator at Sweet Hollow is struggling to handle the burgeoning traffic. Local collection elevators fear giving up their PS-1 boxcars out of concern that they will not be replaced. At Sweet Hollow covered hoppers are being loaded at a rapid pace allowing the now more primitive boxcars to be returned to smaller local elevators. Grain is being sorted and transferred to brand new 100 ton hoppers while grain doors are being removed from the forty footers that will soon be taken out of grain service. But it is the harvest and there are never enough cars to handle demand.

This layout now in its sixth year has pioneered many new construction methods. It is 2000 feet long with a new terminal facilities at Barnesville, our connection to the rest of the national rail network.

In case of inclement weather, we will operate the Great Lakes & Iron Range indoor layout. Please see that description for details.

Op Session Sunday 9:00 AM Huntington NY17.1 Miles, 25 Min
Delaware & Susquehanna Railway
Phil Monat Bronx
Modern Regional Railroad with CTC
HO Proto-Freelanced
Scenery: Ongoing, 70% Complete 36' by 38' 500'
Walk around CTC Rail Command by CVP
Handicapped hostile Modern Operations
The D&S is a proto/freelance layout loosely based on the Lehigh Gorge area in Pennsylvania. The railroad is centered between Wilkes-Barre and Allentown, with each city having a large classification yard. The single track main line is fully CTC controlled with US&S type S signals (searchlight), communications are FRS radio when needed. Traffic is widely based, dense and typical of the modern era of “ double stacks, TOFC, unit coal, ethanol, and trash trains along with heavy manifest traffic going into the New Jersey, Philadelphia and south eastern US from New England and points north west. There are many locals and serious switching, as well as block swapping and other work.
Op Session Sunday 9:00 AM Riverdale, Bronx25 Mi., 60 min due to traffic
Great Lakes & Iron Range
Steve Gittleman Huntington
Heavy Industry with a busy mainline
Scenery: 75% 30 x 30 120
Walkaround NCE
Handicapped hostile 1960
The Great Lakes & Iron Range is a freelanced ore hauler based on the Upper Midwest with some urban flair thrown in. A huge ore dock with full size lake boats alongside is one of the highlights of this layout. We are John Deere fans, so a plant is located online as well as many other substantial industries including a busy urban waterfront. We use NCE DCC for train control and the scenery is 75% complete. There are two yards and ample staging to keep operators on this layout happily busy.
Op Session Friday 7:00 PM Huntington, NY 17 mi. 35 min.
Great Northern
Ron Engel St. James
Great Northern Railroad in Minnesota
HO Freelanced
MRC Radio
Handicapped hostile 1950's and 60's New expansion!

My layout is a freelanced design loosely based on the Great Northern RR in Minnesota late '50s and '60s. The main yard is St. Cloud with additional towns of Hinkley and Elk River. I use the standard car cards and 4 position waybills along with a train order card. My operating session is laid back and consists of one east bound turn from Minneapolis (staging) to St. Cloud and one west bound turn from Duluth (staging) to St. Cloud. Operations consist of local and yard switching. I also have a mine branch run, along with passenger and reefer runs. I dispatch with verbal train orders. Jobs would be: 1)yard master (local pickups and delay, sort arrival and departures and turn locos on Turntable); 2) Road turn - (local pickups and drops at two towns); and 3) mine run (empties and loads) , reefer run, and passenger train.

I have recently added a connecting RR room to my Great Northern. It also consists of a helix and three decks. I describe it as the Burlington Northern connection. The Superior WI yard on the lower deck interchanges with the GN yard. It has an eight car barge, interchanges with CN and St Paul. And two local turns from Winnipeg thru 5 towns also using 4 step waybills and car cards with pictures. Not yet scenic.

Op Session Sat 8:30 AM St James, NY 33 mi. 50 min.
New York & Atlantic
Dave Barraza Wading River, NY
Freight Operations on the LIRR
HO Prototype
Scenery: 0% 30' x 50' 500 linear feet of main line.
Walkaround 2 Decks Visual on multiple track; CTC or Clearance Card on single track. Smart Phone (Digitrax)
Handicapped: No steps, except to toilet Modern Operations  

HO scale New York & Atlantic focuses on freight operations run by contractor New York & Atlantic Railway over the Long Island Rail Road. Given the LIRR setting, there are commuter passenger trains as well. The era modeled is 1997 to 2017; after the arrival of NYAR and ending before the addition of the second track to Ronkonkoma. With that said, there are a number of Alco’s about because… “model railroading is fun.” The current passenger fleet might best be described as being in a time warp.
The railroad is under active construction with 0.9% scenery complete. The verdant landscape so closely associated with Long Island has been represented at this stage by a vibrant hue of dark grey paint. Monthly operating sessions have been hosted since 2019 using the current run of 500 feet of 1, 2 and 4 track main line which includes LI City to Fresh Pond, Jamaica to Floral Park, and Westbury to Brentwood.
Freight Jobs run out of Fresh Pond Yard and Pine Aire. Diesel Passenger trains run to/from Long Island City and Electrics run to NY Penn which is staging.
Tower Directors at Jay (Jamaica) and Divide (Hicksville) control train movements under the direction of the Dispatcher. Primary communication is using a PBX telephone system supplemented by FRS radios. At this time, multiple-track main line is run as Quasi-Rule-251 “Right hand running and lookout ahead”. CTC (Rule 261) signals are installed to protect the single main line track from Farmingdale to Deer Park.
• Dispatcher
• Jay Tower Director
• Divide Tower Director
• Fresh Pond Yard: 2 people
• Road Crews: 6 people, (2-man freight crews or 1-man passenger crews)

Op Session on Saturday 8:30 AM Wading River, NY  
Nicolo Platas New Hyde Park
A short line operates a former BNSF secondary line in New Mexico
HO Proto-freelanced based ATSF/BNSF
Scenery: 95% 25' by 36'
Multi-Level Switch lists NCE DCC Radio
Handicapped hostile Modern- 2017
It's 2018, and the NPSF has purchased a secondary line in New Mexico from the BNSF. The NPSF has a substantial subset of all modern railroad traffic running across its well maintained route through the desert, and the city of Albuquerque. Passenger trains from Amtrak and RailRunner compete for track space with unit trains, mixed manifests, coal drags, ethanol trains, and local switch runs. The NPSF is proto-freelanced, based on the practices of BNSF. The layout is double decked, and the desert scenery is 95% complete. The railroad uses NCE DCC with radio. Trains are dispatched via verbal train orders, and local frights use switchlists to direct car movements.
Op Session on Friday 7:00PMNew Hyde Park4 mi., 10 min.
Stone Canyon Railroad
John Feraca Shirley
Steam/Diesel Era Layout with Big Steam
HO Proto-Freelanced
Scenery: 100% Complete 25' by 28' 150'
Continuous run Through freights and switching Digitraxx DCC
Handicapped hostile 1950's

The Stone Canyon Railroad is a fully operational freelanced single deck layout based in the western U.S. Timeframe is 1950's steam/diesel transition era. UP and ATSF are the predominate roads. Overall layout size is 26' x 39' including staging. The mainline is 200' double track closed loop plus 120' of hidden staging that can accommodate up to 10 pre-staged trains. Scenery is 100% complete and ranges from rugged mountains to a complete lighted city scene. The SCRR has expanded this year with a new logging branchline. DCC is Digitrax Super Chief Duplex Radio. Throttles will be provided. Motive power includes a variety of steam engines as large as 4-8-8-4 Big Boys. Diesels include switcher and road units along with E and F units for passenger operation. Operations include passenger, local freight, coal and through freight. Switching opportunities include a coal mine, lumber industry, over 30 industries, six towns, a large freight yard, lumber branchline and a full service steam/diesel engine facility that includes a 130 ft. turntable, 12 stall roundhouse and diesel shop. A typical 3 hour operating session involves the movement of approx. 200 cars, 18 locomotives and up to 12 trains. Operator positions include; Dispatcher (layout owner), Yardmaster, Motive Power Hostler, Engineer and Conductor. Communications between dispatcher and operators are via radio/headsets (provided). Car forwarding is done with car cards and waybills. In addition to the dispatcher, a minimum of 5 and maximum of 8 operators are required. The layout has hosted over 65 operating sessions since 2013 and has participated in every IslandOps weekend. It's proven to be enjoyable for everyone who's visited.


Op Session Fridday 7:00 PM Shirley44 mi., 90 min due to traffic
Island Central Railroad
Howard Dwyer Farmingville
May 2012 Model Railroader Layout
HO Freelanced
Scenery: 100 % 15' x 29'
Continuous run NCE DCC Wireless
Handicapped hostile 1950's
ICRR has an urban setting during the steam to diesel transition era. Most switching is performed by diesel road switchers. OPS sessions include main line, coal hauling, yard operations, and limited branch line runs. The ICRR is freelanced and 100% scenicked. The layout is NCE DCC equipped. The ICRR was featured in the May 2012 edition of Model Railroader. A track plan of the layout is included in the article.
Op Session on Saturday 8:30 AM Farmingville, NY

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