CLINTON CENTRAL MODEL RAILROAD LAYOUT

Note: this page provides how our layout was originally laid out at its current location in Castenea. For more recent updates to the layout, please see our home page.


LAYOUT SCHEME HISTORY

Click here for more information on Castenea Station
The current layout located in the Castanea Station, like all of the club’s layout creations over the years of its existence in numerous facilities, is free lance and is purposely not modeled after any prototype railroad.  Railroads that have existed or exist in Clinton County from the earliest railroading days include the Pennsylvania, New York Central, Penn Central, Conrail, Norfolk Southern, Beech Creek, Clearfield & Western, and R.J. Corman.

To avoid any personal conflicts or preferences, the Charter Members elected to simply model railroading as it appeared in Clinton County during the 1940s and 1950s without regard to any specific railroad.  What has been built into the layout is a generic vision of Clinton County.  Naturally, coal is a large component of the layout.  Lumber and manufacturing also play a significant part.  Mines, tipples, coal load-out facilities, yards, sawmills, brick factories, rock quarry and local small manufacturing plants all portray the historical vision an observer may have witnessed someplace in Clinton County, Pennsylvania mid-20th century.

CURRENT LAYOUT SCHEME

PLANNING

So, how do you arrive at a workable track plan, scenery plan, wiring diagram, grade plan, and all the other planning you need to do before you start building a layout?  All Town with stationmembers were invited to submit their concept of what the layout should look like and how it should be built.  After all, we had a blank canvas to draw our plans on.  A number of members submitted their plans, some compromises were agreed upon, and we set off with a basic plan after voting by the membership.  Within our 28’ X 40’ room, we decided on what basically looks like a capital ‘E’ in plan view (looking down on the layout).  All the mainline was to be double tracked, with one main yard on the first peninsula which would include diesel and steam facilities, ice bunker, and freight terminal.  Also on the first peninsula is a small town and passenger station.  When we started this layout, we used DC analog with blocks for electrical control.

Town Under Construction

 

Like most plans, something that might look a little bit better usually pops up.  We have modified our plans numerous times, but always with consideration of the membership.  We have added a quarry of the first peninsula and are currently revamping the town for the second time!  We have slowly progressed to the second and third peninsulas, adding track, scenery, a branch line or two, and another mountain village.  We have plans for a sawmill, coal mine and load-out, and a power plant on the second peninsula.  The third peninsula is mostly track with some revisions in the planning state right now!

We have over 1200 feet of track currently in place, but many more feet of track and trackbed, dozens of structures, and large areas of scenery still remain to be built.  So, if you are into track work, scenery, wiring, electronics, model building, or painting, there is some facet of model railroading open to members.

CONTROLS

As noted earlier, we started operations using DC analog control with a block system.  Control PanelWe have an extensive system of block controls in both the yards and mainlines.  All the motive power owned by the club was analog.  And the membership all had their own motive power that was DC equipped.  In the mid 1990s, DCC (Digital Command Control) arrived on the modeling scene, and numerous members wanted to make the jump NCE ProCab throttleto the latest digital technology (our DCC configuration consists of NCE Powerhouse Digital Command Control with Pro Cab and Cab throttles, both tethered and wireless).  Yet others were happy and comfortable with tried and true DC operations.  The membership debated on this decision for some time, investigating our options and the issues we would have to address.  To abandon DC and make the leap to DCC would require a considerable learning curve and some were not interested in making that investment. 

Main Yard - CCMRRAfter considerable planning and investigation on the part of our electrical crew, a method was devised to satisfy all the members.  To the credit of the electrical crew, we now boast the best of both worlds.  We are proud to offer any member the ability to operate both DC and DCC equipped locomotives on our layout.  We can provide the ability to members to run their DC power and have reserved specific times they are guaranteed to have operations on the layout.  Those that have the newer DCC/Sound equipped locomotives can operate on one of the largest DCC layouts in this part of Pennsylvania.  CCMRR Motive PowerThe club has also upgraded to remote control DCC operations for those who choose to operate untethered.  A number of DCC throttles are provided by the club for member use and many members have purchased their own throttles.  The club also has both DCC equipped and DC Equipped motive power (Steam and diesel) that permits members to operate on the layout without actually owning any equipment of their own.

The vast majority of the existing layout on all three peninsulas is equipped for both DC and DCC operations.  All future additions will be equipped for DCC operations.  We have many miles of track to lay, buildings to assemble, scenery to sculpt, and electronics to install.  Under Construction - would you like to help finish this?If you have any modeling interests, you can contribute your skills to the project as there are years of modeling work to do.  If you don’t have a specific skill but have a desire to learn, you have others that can teach you.  If you want to just operate, you can do that too.  There is something for everyone if you have an interest in our hobby.

 

Jeff Schroeder has been hard at work taking pictures of rolling stock and scenery over the past couple of months. A slide show of his pictures can be seen here on Flickr (opens in a new window).