In this video we are going to discover one of America’s largest HO scale model railroad layouts that is lovingly maintained by model railroad enthusiasts for over 50 years. This very large model rail layout is located at the Chelten Hills Model Railroad Club in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, United States. The club maintains a 25 x 80 foot (approximately 7.6 x 24.4 meters) DCC controlled HO scale model railroad layout in a former freight and passenger station alongside the SEPTA regional rail line between Elkins Park station and Jenkintown station.
The model railroad is called “The Penn Falls Railroad” and contains of more than 1,750 feet of track (approximately 550 meters), 150 turnouts, amazing details and hundreds of steam trains, finest train sets, diesel locomotives and freight cars. For example, there is a superb model of the great “Hiawatha Train”. As you know, “Hiawatha” was the name of passenger trains operated by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad – also known as the “Milwaukee Road” – between Chicago and various destinations in the Midwest and Western United States.
In addition, the model railway layout in 1/87 scale has been constructed with a particularly sophisticated track plan, which allows literally infinite train rides and a lot of prototypical operating sessions. The track plan contains so many circuits and loops that incredibly long trains can run. It must be a paradise for model railroading if you can make the rolling stock move in authentic length.
*Track Plan of the Penn Falls Railroad*
The miniature world is designed in such a way that the aisle through the layout should be a river with cities, towns, industries and rail traffic on both sides. So the aisle is not just a place for visitors and club members, but also an imaginary river. Therefore, the amazing, hand-built lift bridge exits, which connects both sides of the model train layout.
*History of the Chelten Hills Model Railroad Club*
Shortly after World War II, ten model railroaders decided to start their own club. Founded on February 7, 1946, the club was originally called “The Germantown HO Engineers”, and the first model railway layout was completed in June, 1946. A month later, the club moved to a bigger facility in the basement of the Pennsylvania Railroad Signal Tower in Chestnut Hill. On this site, the old HO scale layout was again set up.
In 1952, a new model train layout was started. Track work was completed in 1955, but scenery and revisions continued until the club moved to its present location in Elkins Park in 1962. Because the club was now so far from Germantown, the name was changed to “The Chelten Hills Model Railroad Club”. The original model rail layout, which was built in 1955, was so good that it still exists today. For example, the amazing hand-built lift bridge has worked flawlessly for over sixty years with only minor adjustments. Unlike then, today the club members operate a wide variety of equipment and rolling stock. The old but modernized model railroad layout offers over 28 scale miles of track (nearly 45 kilometers in scale track length).
During the cab ride video layout tour we are going to discover the engine facility and roundhouse. Very soon we can see the fascinating lift bridge and the large freight yard, the engine servicing facility and the waterfront pier. After the train crosses the bridge, we see the newly renovated industrial area on the left and the operating carnival on the right. A little later, the camera train enters a very long track that leads to the city of Penn Falls, with its major passenger station. The city of Penn Falls has a large railroad terminal that has been constructed in the style of the St. Louis Terminal – including a trolley system and a very large and detailed passenger yard.
Behind Penn Falls’ passenger yard we can see the old electrical operating system that has been replaced with a new Digitrax DCC system, which has greatly enhanced rail transport operations. Finally, the camera train passes the lighthouse and returns to the starting point of the cab ride layout tour. Isn’t it amazing that the track plan offers such endless possibilities for rail operating sessions, even though this miniature world is over 60 years old.
*Chelten Hills Model Railroad Club*
00:00:00 Pilentum Television (Intro)
00:00:20 Long Steam Train Passing By
00:01:30 Cab Ride Video Layout Tour (Part I)
00:09:45 Rail Traffic On The Model Railway Layout
00:14:20 Cab Ride Video Layout Tour (Part II)
00:25:50 Rail Traffic On The Model Railroad Layout
00:29:50 Cab Ride Video Layout Tour (Part III)
00:37:30 Rail Traffic On The Model Train Layout
00:39:20 Activating The Lift Bridge
00:39:50 Pilentum Television (End)
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