Self Guided Tours

of the

2020 Mid Central NMRA Region Convention

Self Guided Tours in the Pittsburgh Area

Also for your enjoyment information will be available for the following:

  • Carnegie Science Center
  • Heinz History Museum
  • Phipps Conservatory
  • Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium
  • Pennsylvania Trolley Museum
  • Duquesne Incline
  • Monongahela Incline

Self Guided Tours of Layouts

The Steel City Express 2020 is pleased to have numerous layouts around Pittsburgh that will be open for Operating Sessions and display on the Self-Guided Tour. The map for all the layouts will be available in your convention packet at the Registration Desk.

Here is a brief preliminary description of the layouts participating in the Sunday Layout Tour, a final description we be received at the convention:

  • Alden McBee – This HO layout models the B&O between Grafton and Terra Alta, WV, 1977-1978.  It has 4 scale miles of double track main line with three grades, the steepest being Cranberry grade at 2.5% and requiring helpers. The towns of Grafton, Irontown, Hardman, Independence, Newburg, West End, Tunnelton, Rowlesburg and Terra Alta are currently or will be modeled. The layout is double decked and point to point with a staging yard at each end.  Trackwork is a combination of hand laid, Central Valley, and Micro Engineering track laid on Homabed and composite roadbed.
  • Anthony Kulfan - Anthony’s O scale layout is intended as a depiction of Conrail in the Western Pennsylvania-Eastern Ohio region. Motive power is mainly Conrail diesel power, with incursions of Pittsburgh & Lake Erie, Buffalo & Pittsburgh, and CSX locomotives. The track design is a folded dog bone including a seven-track yard on the main level, and a hidden staging yard. The layout features a realistic signal system with PRR-style position light signals governing the double-track mainline and interlockings. The layout is designed for operation using command control.
  • Andy & Charlie Blenko - The “Pittsburgh Mainline” is a HO scale layout representing Conrail’s Pittsburgh Division between Pittsburgh and Johnstown and is set in the early 1980’s. It features a 160-foot-long two tracks mainline with two hidden “through” staging yards to allow continuous loop operation. It interchanges with the Chessie System, Union Railroad, and the Allegheny Valley Railroad. Major industries include the USS Edgar Thompson Works, Clairton Coke Works, the USS Irvin Works, Pennelec’s Conemaugh generation station, and Westinghouse Electric’s East Pittsburgh plant. The layout occupies two rooms; one is 13’ X 25’ and the other is 16’ X 20’.
  • Beaver County Model Railroad - The Beaver County Model Railroad is an HO scale layout. While it doesn't model any particular prototype, it is designed to represent much of Western Pennsylvania’s rich railroading history and associated industries. The layout features both conventional DC and Digitrax DCC and is located in a former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad station.
  • Bob Prehoda - The freelanced HO “Pittsburgh & Cumberland” depicts a railroad connecting those two cities in the year 1962. This 24’ X 26” layout depicts prototypical operations, and is typically run by 8 to 11 operators. Scenery is fully completed.
  • Brian Budeit - Brian’s HOn3 layout depicts a mythical connection between the East Broad Top and Tuscarora Valley Railroads. The layout is set near the town of East Waterford in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Appalachian Mountains. This 15’ X 20’ layout is set in the early 1900’s.
  • D.A.R.E. Model Railroad Club - The D.A.R.E. Club features layouts in HO, N, O, and G scales. There are three 3 HO layouts. Two are mainly for the student members of the club and are DC operated. One sits inside of the “donut hole” of a modular HO layout. A third HO layout replicates the Montour Railroad and is DCC operated. It is a point to point layout, representing the prototype as it existed in the 1970’s. The O scale layout features Lionel and MTH trains and is operated with DCS. It has 3 loops and several yards and sidings. It operates on DCS. The G scale layout consists of two loops with a siding and a separate track with a doodlebug that runs point to point. Finally, the Montour Railroad Historical Society displays photographs and artifacts of the Montour RR on the second floor of the school.
  • Dave Garlik - Dave’s HO layout is a freelanced 1950’s era railroad. The layout is 80% scenicked and uses Digitrax command control. Although the benchwork is constructed of plywood, most scenic elements and track bed are constructed with cardboard structural beams. Trackwork is code 100 glued to the roadbed.
  • Dave Neumann - Dave’s highly entertaining O gauge layout features Union Pacific big steam, early diesels, and long trains. The layout measures 28’ by 32’, and the scenery is fully completed. Some of the highlights of the layout are several large trestles, a 28‘ long commercial district, and an 8 track yard. The layout has been featured in the model railroad press.
  • Dennis Coglianese - The Pacific Central is a HO proto-freelanced railroad located in Northern California during the 1950’s. The concept is an SP/ATSF jointly owned subsidiary and features many SP trains interchanging with Pacific Central traffic. There is significant passenger traffic to keep the operators on their toes. The layout was started just over 3 years ago and we celebrated our Golden Spike in November 2019. The layout uses Digitrax DCC for control and RR Circuits products for block detection, signals and switch controls.
  • Don Coulter - The Pittsburgh Southern is a modern, freelanced route of the Norfolk Southern, running south out of Pittsburgh towards the mid-Atlantic. Traffic consists of a mix of locals, transfers, and mainline through trains. Most of the trackwork is completed to allow for operating sessions, and there are plans to extend the second deck in the future. The 240-foot mainline runs point-to-point with several branches for switching. There is minimal scenery completed at this time, however the layout is now fully signaled. Layout control is via DCC with NCE.
  • Gary Deavers - The HO scale Glyndale & Davidton is a short line set in the late spring of 1978. It interchanges with B&O, WM, and the West Virginia and Lake Erie, a paper road that follows the old Coal and Coke from Charleston up through West Virginia. Traffic is mostly coal with some traffic for local manufacturing. First generation Geeps and F units share the rails with the latest “Dash Two” models from LaGrange. A special point of interest is the HA Tower scene from the late Don Cassler’s M&K Division of the B&O.
  • George Pandelios - This O scale layout depicts the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Panhandle Division circa 1952. The centerpiece is the 12’ double track cantilever through truss bridge across the Ohio River between Steubenville, OH and Weirton, WV. Although under construction, the bridge, backdrop, 40% of the benchwork, and some scenery have been installed. The track plan is a folded dog bone that features the cities of Steubenville and Weirton as well as a staging yard. Additional features planned are Weirton Steel, Weirton Junction, and Standard Slag. Motive power is mainly Pennsy steam (M1a, I1s, K4s, L1s). Signals are PRR style position lights. The layout is designed for operations using Trainmaster Command Control (TMCC).
  • Hobby Express - Hobby Express is a huge hobby store reminiscent of hobby stores as we knew them in the past. They have a tremendous selection of trains in all of the popular scales and an in depth inventory of the supplies needed to construct your layout such as scenery materials, paint, scratch building supplies, hobby paints, and more. If you’ve never been to Hobby Express, it’s definitely worth stopping by to take a look, and if you’re a regular, stop in to see the latest trains and model railroading products.
    Hobby Express will give a discount of $10 on all purchases of over $50 to Convention registrants. You MUST present your Convention Registration tag in order to receive the discount.
  • Jack Keen - Jack is modeling the mythical R S & G branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in HO scale. The line serves downstate West Virginia. It is an L shaped layout with many detailed scenes and structures. Jack is well known locally for custom molding HO scale figures and detail parts.
  • Jeff Wires - This HO layout is a model of Conrail’s Bayard Branch, which connects Cleveland to Mingo Junction Ohio. It is a medium to large sized layout and it features a helped district. Although it has minimal scenery at present, the layout will include the towns of Alliance, Mingo Junction, and Steubenville.
  • Jim Ferguson - Jim’s freelanced HO Lebanon Valley Railroad is based on the Pennsylvania Railroad. The mythical owner of the Lebanon Valley owns over half of the PRR and as such borrows and runs PRR equipment on the railroad. The layout measures 25’ X 28’ including extensions and is set in the early to mid-1950’s.
  • Joel Everly - Joel’s HO Arel and Jolene Railroad is a large, double decked, point to point layout. A helix connects the two decks. The mainline is 300 feet long and 85% of the scenery is completed.
  • Ken Hanawalt - Ken’s Turtle Creek Railroad is a freelanced HO layout with three branch lines and features lots of local switching on an incredible 189 industrial spurs in 950 sq. feet. Train control is by DCC.
  • Kevin Sapanara - This layout is a representation of the Chessie System’s route from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD and focuses on the owner’s hometown of Connellsville, PA and Sand Patch grade. Started in November 2016, the layout is a work in progress. The layout is HO scale, approximately 425 square feet, and features an automated lower level and East and West staging yards with block detection and two helixes. The upper level is still in the benchwork phrase of construction. The layout will depict the early 1980s.
  • Larry Brown - The HO Woodlawn Southern is 13’ x 19’ DCC layout which is a single-track dog bone with a switchback branch line servicing a truck tipple. The layout is set in the 1950’s in southwest PA/northwest West Virginia. The branch line power consists of Shays and Climaxes with a small servicing facility. The mainline power is late steam and first-generation diesels with some early second-generation diesels. Larry models railroads that he saw growing up, (PRR, B&O, N&W, P&WV, W&LE & B&LE) along with the privately owned branch line, the CCL&L. Larry likes to stick with prototype models, and enjoys kit bashing and adding details to motive power and rolling stock. The kit bashing and details roll over into the structures on the layout. Construction has been underway for 15 years.
  • Larry Caniff - This spectacular and highly unusual indoor G scale layout portrays the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad and highlights the steel industry. The railroad is 55’ X 75’ and has 1400 feet of track and roughly 45 switches. The layout is fully scenicked and features many scratch-built structures.
  • Larry Willming - Larry’s O-Scale shelf layout runs through two rooms of his house, with 2 main lines of track, 3 bridges, 2 tunnels, and a trestle. There is also a bump and go trolley running through the town of Helen's Kitchen. His HO scale layout is currently a work in process and is a freelance layout, not modelling any particular railroad or time period. This layout is 8' x 16' and passes through the dining room wall into the living room. The basic track plan is a folded figure 8 with passing sidings and a classification yard with a turntable. An off the layout staging yard uses cassettes for train storage. Both layouts can be viewed from living and dining rooms.
  • McKeesport Model Railroad Club - This Club was formed in 1950 and is now celebrating 70 years of HO Scale Railroading. This layout encapsulates southwestern Pennsylvania life in the 1950’s. It is home to the Mon Yough Valley Railroad a fictional bridge route from Cumberland, MD to Erie, PA. There are branch lines, a steel mill rr, narrow gauge rr and a street car line. Scenery is over 75% complete in 2,200 square feet, with almost 1,000 feet of track for your enjoyment.
  • Neal Schorr - Neal’s O scale layout portrays the Middle Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad and its successor railroads between Harrisburg and Altoona as it appeared between the 1930’s through today. The layout “ages” as it progresses from east to west allowing for the depiction of many eras. The highpoints of the layout are the highly realistic scenery and backdrop, signal system, and close adherence to civil engineering practices. The layout has frequently appeared in the model railroad press, including Model Road Planning, Kalmbach’s “How To” series, and Classic Toy Trains.
  • Ohio Valley Lines - The Ohio Valley Lines Is located in Ambridge, a few short blocks from Old Economy Village in the Ambridge Historic District. The organization has two scale model railroads, a library of railroad materials (by appointment only) and a museum of prototype railroad items. The HO and N Scale model railroads depict industry and life in the upper Ohio River Valley in a period from 1940 to 1965. The members provide most of the motive power and rolling stock, hence the broad era. The HO scale railroad has been under construction since 2000 and is virtually complete. The N scale railroad has been under construction for approximately 8 years and is also essentially finished.
  • Penn Creek Valley Railroad - The Greater Tri-Town Historical Society - Curated by the Pittsburgh S Gaugers, the Penn Creek Valley is a large freelanced layout designed to suggest the landscapes and industries of southwestern Pennsylvania in the approximate era of 1950-1962. Built by the late Sam Powell of Gaithersburg, Maryland, the layout was disassembled and moved to Dawson in 2016 after Mr. Powell’s premature death. This is a fully scale (not hirail) layout in S scale and features a variety of commercial, kit, and scratchbuilt locomotives, rolling stock, and structures. It operates on a Lenz DCC system. The layout has been featured in Model Railroader and Classic Toy Trains.
  • Rob Enrico - Rob’s magnificent O scale layout portrays the Monongahela Division of the Penn Central (ex-PRR) as it appeared in 1970. The layout is approximately 600 sq. feet and most of the scenery is completed. The track is hand laid and many of the structures are scratchbuilt. A notable feature is the assemblage of fully wired telegraph poles along the right of way. The layout has been featured in Great Model Railroads, Model Railroad Planning, and O Scale Trains. An adjacent room features Rob’s collection of postwar Lionel trains (1946 - mid-1960’s) and Plasticville structures. The collection is beautifully displayed and trains operate on a classic tinplate layout featuring Lionel Super-O track.
  • Rochester Area Heritage Society Museum and Model Railroad - The museum and model railroad features four different displays in four different scales (N, HO, O, and G). The main display is a HO scale layout set in the early 1900's. It depicts the busy waterfront industries, hotels, and houses that lined the banks of the Ohio and Beaver Rivers near Rochester, PA. The layout features steam era locomotives of the Pennsylvania Railroad and many structures representative of the prototype including a highly detailed model of the H. C. Fry Glass Company. The model actually features authentic 110-year-old glass produced by the company.