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Participating Layouts

Allegheny & Western
West Island Club Hicksville, NY
Large club layout based on prototype scenes in NY, NJ and PA 9 mi, 25 min
HO Proto-Freelance Layout Website
Scenery: 35% 5600 sq ft Mainline: 660 ft
Walkaround, Multideck CTC with some unsignaled territory controlled by verbal instructions. NCE DCC with radio
No hazards Has Dog(s) Era: 1955 - 1965

The railroad 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 New York Harbor 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 Scranton, PA and beyond to Buffalo, NY.

The system hub is Allentown, PA, a midsize city with a large manufacturing base.

This is a large and diverse territory; We model representative parts 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 passenger service to New York.
  • Fleetwood, PA - original location of the "Body by Fleetwood" plant
  • Hershey, PA - Home of Hershey Chocolate
  • Harrisburg, PA - Our connection to the PRR system as well as the gateway to the south and southwest
  • Palmerton, PA - Home of the main NJ Zinc plant
  • Wilkes-Barre, PA - A rich source of traffic in anthracite
  • Maybrook, NY - Freight 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 steel mill to the trainmaster overseeing it all, there are a wide variety of jobs for everyone.

Op Session  4/29 1:30pm to 5:30pm 32 spots
Chichester & Sweet Hollow
Steve Gittelman Huntington, NY
Outdoor layout representing a Connecticut secondary mainline 14 mi, 30 min
G Freelance  
Scenery: 100% Approx 2 acres Mainline: 2000 ft
Walkaround Timetable and Train Orders AirWire Radio Throttles
Walking over moderately hilly terrain Has Dog(s) Era: 1958
Host requires vaccinated guests

The Chichester and Sweet Hollow RR is loosely based upon 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 spoils to assist the C & SH in converting an old trestle into a fill. Until the trestle over Sweet Hollow gorge is back in action, much freight traffic is being offloaded at Sweet Hollow Industrial Transfer Co. where trucks swarm around the loading platforms. (This model is some twelve feet long with its own sound system. ) Traffic is heavy here and demands much of the crews. The sounds of a busy transfer depot are heard throughout the valley.

The year is 1958 and the important terminal grain elevator at Middletown is struggling to handle the burgeoning traffic. Local collection elevators fear giving up their forty-foot boxcars out of concern that they will not be replaced. Covered hoppers are being transloaded 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 eighth year, has pioneered many new construction methods. It is 2000 feet long with 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  4/30 8:00am to 12:00pm 14 spots
Delaware & Susquehanna
Phil Monat Bronx, NY
Modern Regional Railroad with CTC 37 mi, 75 min
HO Proto-Freelance  
Scenery: 85% 36 x 38 Mainline: 500 ft
Walkaround with staging on separate level CTC WiFi plus NCE tethered throttles
Ordinary basement steps Has Cat(s) and Dog(s) Era: Today
Host requires vaccinated guests

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 ,Pennsylvania 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 is via 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  4/30 8:00am to 12:00pm 12 spots
Erie 28th St
Vince Lee Manhasset, NY
Switching the urban canyon 7 mi, 20 min
HO Prototype  
Scenery: 100% 15 x 2 Mainline: 0 ft
Walkaround None NCE DCC
Ordinary basement steps   Era: 1953

New York City had many pocket terminals that served the needs of the metropolis. One of Erie's pocket terminals was on West 28th St in Manhattan.

Plenty of business flowed in and out of this terminal to points on the Erie Railroad and beyond. A crew was on duty 24 hours a day to meet the floats hauled across from New Jersey by tugboats and to shuffle cars around the congested trackage.

The host's COVID policy is that guest operators should have the appropriate vaccinations for their age and health status. If you are feeling sick, notify the owner and do not come to the session.

Op Session  4/28 6:00pm to 10:00pm 2 spots
Great Lakes & Iron Range
Steve Gittelman Huntington, NY
Heavy haul iron ore and coal with a busy harbor district 14 mi, 30 min
HO Freelance  
Scenery: 85% 30 x 30 Mainline: 120 ft
Walkaround Dispatcher instructions WiFi and NCE DCC tethered throttles
Ordinary basement steps Has Dog(s) Era: 1960
Host requires vaccinated guests

The Great Lakes & Iron Range is a freelanced iron ore and coal hauler based on the Upper Midwest with some urban flair thrown in. A huge ore dock with giant 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 three yards and ample staging to keep operators on this layout happily busy.

The pandemic made for lots of time in the basement, so there is much new scenery and lighting effects.

Op Session  4/29 8:00am to 12:00pm 14 spots
Great Northern
Ron Engel St James, NY
Great Northern/Burlington Northern in Minnesota 30 mi, 50 min
HO Proto-Freelance  
Scenery: 85% 15 x 6 and 6 x 15 Mainline: 180 ft
Connected, but separate, multideck walkaround Timetable WiFi Throttles
No steps, except to toilet   Era: 1962 and 1972

My layout is a freelanced design with two separate, but connected, parts in different rooms.

The first part is 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 westbound 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.

The second part is loosely based on the Burlington Northern in the same area, but ten years later. It also consists of a helix and three decks. The Superior, WI yard on the lower deck interchanges with the GN yard in the other room. It has an eight car barge, interchanges with CN and Milwaukee Road. And two local turns from Winnipeg thru 5 towns also using 4 step waybills and car cards with pictures. Scenery is progressing well on this part of the layout and is about 70% done.

Op Session  4/30 8:00am to 12:00pm 6 spots
Island Central
Howard Dwyer Farmingville, NY
Fully finished operational classic 36 mi, 40 min
HO Freelance Layout Website
Scenery: 99% 15 x 29 Mainline: 0 ft
Semi-walkaround Voice Control NCE DCC
Ordinary basement steps   Era: 1950s

ICRR has an urban setting during the steam to diesel transition era. Most switching is performed by diesel road switchers. Operating session jobs 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.

The layout has been expanded and improved since the Model Railroader article appeared.

Op Session  4/29 8:00am to 12:00pm 7 spots
New York & Atlantic
Dave Barraza Wading River, NY
New York & Atlantic freight action with necessary LIRR moving scenery 51 mi, 70 min
HO Prototype Layout Website
Scenery: 1% 35 x 60 Mainline: 700 ft
Walkaround with a lift gate Visual Rule 251 on multiple track; CTC or Timetable/Train Order with Manual Block overlay on single track. WiFi Throttles (Digitrax base system)
No steps, except to toilet Has Cat(s) Era: 1997-2017
Host requires vaccinated guests

The 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; beginning 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 about 700 feet of 1, 2 and 4 track main line which includes LI City to Fresh Pond, Jamaica to Floral Park, and Westbury to Greenport.

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. The Port Jefferson, Atlantic, and Hempstead Branches are represented.

Train 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.

The layout is partially signaled using the distinctive LIRR position light signals with more getting cut in as things progress.


  • Dispatcher (Room 204)
  • Jay Train Director
  • Divide Train Director and Operator
  • Fresh Pond Yard: 2 people
  • Road Crews: 6 people, (2-man freight crews or 1-man passenger crews)
Op Session  4/28 6:00pm to 10:00pm 12 spots
Nicolo Platas New Hyde Park, NY
Regional spinoff in New Mexico with some urban flair 4 mi, 15 min
HO Proto-Freelance  
Scenery: 100% 25 x 36 Mainline: 100 ft
Walkaround Verbal Track Warrants NCE DCC Radio
Ordinary basement steps   Era: 2022

It's 2022 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, NM. 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 freights use switchlists to direct car movements.

Op Session  4/28 6:00pm to 10:00pm 9 spots
Stone Canyon
John Feraca Shirley, NY
Intermountain West in all its splendor 42 mi, 55 min
HO Freelance Layout Website
Scenery: 100% 25 x 28 Mainline: 120 ft
Walkaround Dispatcher instructions WiFI (Digitrax base)
Handicapped hostile Has Dog(s) Era: 1950s
Host requires vaccinated guests

The Stone Canyon Railroad is a fully operational freelanced single deck layout based in the western U.S. Timeframe is 1950s in the steam/diesel transition era. UP and ATSF are the predominant 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 completely lighted city scene. The SCRR has expanded with a new logging branchline and sawmill complex. 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, six towns, a large freight yard, lumber branchline for a total of more than 30 industries. An interesting industry is a full service steam/diesel engine facility that includes a 130 ft. turntable, 12 stall roundhouse, and diesel shop. A typical three 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 9 operators are required. The layout has hosted over 75 operating sessions since 2013 and has participated in every IslandOps weekend. It's proven to be enjoyable for everyone who's visited.

Op Session  4/28 6:00pm to 10:00pm 9 spots
West Side Lumber
Vinny Pellitteri Upper Brookville, NY
Backwoods California Narrow Gauge Logging 8 mi, 25 min
S Prototype  
Scenery: 100% 30 x 40 Mainline: 200 ft
Walkaround Verbal track warrants NCE DCC
Ordinary basement steps   Era: Early 1950s

An Sn3 version of the Westside Lumber Company in the early to mid-1950's. The setting is the woods of the Sierra Nevada mountains, about 120 miles east of San Francisco. The layout occupies a 30’ x40’ basement room. The layout is about 1000 square feet. Track work is hand laid, with about 30% dual gauge. The scenery is highly detailed, and about 98% complete.

Motive power includes WSLC Shays, WSLC Heislers (both narrow gauge and standard gauge as per the prototype), a WSLC Porter, a Sierra Railroad Climax, an early Sierra diesel, one standard gauge Sierra Railroad 2-8-0, a WSLC Plymouth Diesel and a WSLC Railbus for passenger service into the woods. All engines are DCC with sound.

Operation is at a relaxed pace, closely following the actual traffic patterns of the company in this time period. Three Town Shays work the delivery of empties from Tuolumne to Deadwood, while three Woods Shays deliver reloaded lumber from Deep Gorge to Deadwood. The standard gauge Sierra Railroad works the Tuolumne Drying Yards and the town. Work trains deliver oil, water and sand to the camps, while an excursion train brings visitors up to Camp 24 to have lunch with the camp crew and return to town in time for dinner.

The primary objective of the operating scheme is for the engineers to have fun!

Op Session  4/29 8:00am to 12:00pm 11 spots
Webmaster 2023-08-17 14:04