Operating Sessions

For the Liberty Bell Special there will be several opportunities to operate on some of the  truly  spectacular  home  and  club  model

railroads in the Philadelphia Division.  Below are the confirmed layouts.
For more information, please contact Chair Mark Wallace.

Steve Salotti’s New York, Susquehanna & Western (NYS&W)

Set in 1949 in northern New Jersey, the railroad runs between the Hudson River, Little Ferry (major yard) and up thru Hainesburg NJ.  The layout features passenger and mainline freight service, with many locals serving industries, both along the line and on the waterfront.

Location: Collegeville, PA - 10 miles, 18 minutes from the hotel.
Layout scale: HO
Layout Theme: NYS&W set in 1949 just after dieselization.
Handicapped access:  No, but facilities are residential
Train Dispatching system:  Timetable operations (TT&TO)
Car Forwarding method: Switchlists
Layout control system:  Digitrax DCC.  Please bring Digitrax throttles if you have them. Simplex Radio only.

Ops scheduled for:
Thursday evening, October 10th - 7 pm to 10 pm – Registration code: 801
Saturday afternoon, October 12th – 1 pm to 4 pm – Registration code: 802

Fee: $5 per session
Max Operators: 12 per session


St. Alban’s Model Railroad Club (StARR)

St. Alban's Railroad includes railfans and model railroaders from all walks of life. St. Alban's Railroad is located in the basement under the Thrift Shop of the St. Alban's Episcopal Church. The club features a permanent HO scale model railroad measuring 30' x 60' that’s constructed following NMRA standards.

Location: Newtown Square - 10 miles, 25 minutes from the hotel
Layout Scale: HO
Layout Theme: PRR and Reading – Pennsylvania in the transition era.
Handicapped Access: No
Website: https://www.starr-mrc.org/
Virtual Layout Tour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN_7kVPHBHw
Traffic Dispatching System: CTC with FRS radio
Car Forwarding Method:
Layout Control system: Digitrax DCC with operations and signals controlled by JMRI. Simplex, Duplex and Wifi Throttle control.

Ops scheduled for:
Friday Morning, October 11th – 9 am to 12 pm – Registration code: 803

Fee: $5
Max Operators: 24


Bob Zeolla’s Conrail - Conemaugh Division

This layout represents a portion of Conrail's operation in Western Pennsylvania diverging from Conrail's Pittsburgh Line at ConPit Junction near Johnstown, and rejoining Conrail's Ft. Wayne Line in Pittsburgh. The modeled portion is from Avonmore to Pittsburgh. Staging extends this area eastward to Johnstown and westward to Conway Yard. The modeled time period is 1978. The hub of operations during this period on the Conemaugh is Kiski Yard.

Location: West Chester, PA - 16 miles, 23 minutes from the hotel.
Layout scale: HO
Layout Theme: Conrail – 1978 in western Pennsylvania.
Handicapped access: Limited – accessible layout space, but rest-rooms are located upstairs.
Layout Website: http://www.facebook.com/conemaugh78
Virtual Layout Tour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LulQOt8p_pc
Train Dispatching System: Sequence operation with dispatching, please bring FRS radios.
Car Forwarding Method: Car Cards.
Layout Control System: Digitrax DCC. Please bring Digitrax throttles if you have them. Duplex & Simplex Radio, plus WiThrottle/EngineDriver.

Ops scheduled for:
Friday evening, October 11th – 7 pm to 10 pm – Registration code: 804

Fee: $5
Max Operators: 12

     Secondary yards along the line are at Etna and West Tarentum. Operations include through and local freights, unit mineral trains, and branch line and steel mill switching. The layout features fully functioning virtual signals, which will be covered in my clinic during the previous evening.


Bill Blackburn’s Pennsylvania RR Great Valley Division

Set in the earlier 20th Century during the days of steam, the Great Valley Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad is an imaginary Secondary Line using local place names. (The real Great Valley extends northeast and southwest in either direction from King of Prussia.) This layout features 17 daily passenger trains, 25 freights, a helper job, 2 work extras, a high and wide transfer and 3 yard jobs. The theme of operations is mainly local work with the main line freights dropping off and picking up cars at Paoli. All locals originate at Paoli and disperse to West Chester, Octoraro, Devault, Phoenixville and the Main Line. In Phoenixville, there is a dedicated crew for work at Phoenix Iron and Chas. Lackman.

Location: West Chester (Goshenville), PA 19380-5947, 16.5 miles, 23 minutes from the hotel.)
Layout scale: HO
Layout Theme: PRR during the 20th Century just before dieselization
Handicapped access: None, but facilities are residential
URL: ARE web page: To  Be Announced, but layout is well known in operating circles
Train Dispatching system: Dispatcher authorized utilizing PRR style signaling from the CTC Panel. Bring FRS radio with headset
Car Forwarding method: Car cards
Layout control system: NCE DCC.  NCE throttles are available, but feel free to bring a NCE throttle if you have one. Radio only.

Ops scheduled for: Thursday evening, October 10th, 7:00-10:00pm.  Registration code 805

Fee: $5
Max Operators: 9


     Motive power is Brass steam featuring a B6sb, G5s's, H10's, H9's, H8's, H6sb's, I1's, K4's, L1's a GE250 (doodlebug) plus 2 Broadway Limited K4's. All engines are equipped with Soundtraxx Medium Steam Decoders, except the GE250 which has a LokSound decoder. Passenger equipment is made up of Bachmann Spectrum P70's, Bethlehem Car Works B60's and Walthers (P54's and Broadway Limited Cars). The cabins are an assortment of brass and plastic. Freight cars are mainly Athearn, Model Die Casting, Bowser and Walthers. The operations are overseen by a Dispatcher and yard master(s).

Photo by Howard Kaplan


The following groups are setting up modular layouts at the convention.  Sign-ups for op sessions will be available on site.  See the modular layout page for more details on these two impressive model railroads.

Reading Company Technical & Historical Society

New Jersey Free-Mo Group

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