Ken McCorry

Pennsylvania Railroad - Buffalo Line (HO)

Friday 12-4 Ken McCorry Downingtown, PA 19335 22 minutes
PRR - Buffalo Line     HO Scale 196 Miles
Size: 3120 sq. ft. Scenery: 90% Theme: Late PRR / All Penn Central Era
Era: 1964-1976 Style: Multi level, around wall in multiple rooms Region:  Central PA
Multi-level, multiple rooms, extremely large railroad, one of the biggest privately owned railroads in the country.  Takes 30 people to do an Ops session.  This is a must see!
Not Handicap Accessible


The Pennsylvania Railroad Buffalo line runs from Rockville tower at the east end of the Rockville Bridge in Harrisburg Pa. to it's namesake city in Buffalo NY. It follows the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg to Keating Pa just west of Renovo. From Renovo it runs west to Emporium Pa where it begins it climb over the Alleghenies. Once over Keating Summit it begins a slow descent towards the state of New York. Along the route it passes through the towns of Dauphin, Halifax, Sunbury, Northumberland, Williamsport, Lock Haven, Renovo, Port Allegany in Pennsylvania. In New York it passes through Portville, Olean, Machias, Delevan and Ebenezer before entering it's terminus in the city of Buffalo NY.

     What you will see here is my rendition of this section of the PRR in the 1956-1957 time period. Previously I have modeled both the Conrail 1976-1982 and late PRR/PC era from 1962-1976. The barn was purpose built in 1991 for a model railroad. Original dimensions were 32' x 80'. An addition 24' x 32' was added in 1998. Square footage is 3120 sq.ft. Railroad construction was started in February 1992. A group of 6-8 friends and myself built what you see here. The Golden Spike was placed in June 1993 one month before the July 1993 NMRA convention, which was held in Valley Forge. At that time the mainline was operational but yard operations and actual operating sessions did not start until April 1994.

     The RR was built with the purpose of operating it as a miniature transportation system. Operations mimic the real world operations of the era. All cars on the railroad have car cards which control where the cars are delivered. Industries on the RR are mostly based on real industries located along the Buffalo Line. I have also added some fictional industries using what is called modelers license. This allows me some creative license. 3 dispatchers control the railroad, Kase from the Harrisburg area to West Aliens located just west of Williamsport . Renovo controls the Renovo area from Drocton at the east to Drury at the west. Lyco controls from West Aliens to Drocton and Drury to Buffalo. . 2 dispatchers are located downstairs in the garage area and the other is located in the Renovo area. The dispatchers control the signaling and switches located in interlockings. An old Pentium computer located in the garage handles signaling logic. Signaling hardware used is by TDP products. Crews follow their trains with radio-operated handsets and communicate with the dispatchers using FRS radios and a phone system.

     It takes a crew of 30 people to operate the railroad. 3 dispatchers, 4 yardmasters, 5 yard crew, 3 local crews, 7 road crews, 2 helper crews, 3 crews in the steel mill area in Buffalo. A normal operating session takes about 4 to 4 1/2 hours to complete. Approximately 45-50 trains are operated during a session.

RR facts:
Length of mainline: 1425' from Harrisburg to Ebenezer yard in Buffalo
Total track: about 10,000'
Number of trees: 22,000 plus currently
Number of locomotives: 200
Number of cars: 1,600 freight, 100 passenger
Number of operators required: 30
Control System: NCE-DCC
Benchwork construction: All plywood
Scenery construction: Plywood forms w/screen wire covered with plaster gauze


Photos by Howard Kaplan

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