Talk about taking a diverging route…
The finale of our August visit to Pennsylvania took us further west to Youngstown, Ohio, where we railfanned on a different scale. Two different scales, as a matter of fact.
The unassuming little building on Four Mile Run Road, where our journey ended, is home to the Youngstown Model Railroad Association, where Scott (aka YouTube’s OhioRails) is a member. Founded in March 1957 with just 8 members, the club now boasts over 30 members and established its current home at the former Four Mile Run Christian Church in 1978. The original layouts were modeled in HO scale, but the club expanded in 1980 to include an O scale group. At present, the O scale layout occupies what used to be the church’s sanctuary, while the HO scale layout occupies the basement.
Shortly after our arrival we were joined by club president Jim Pope, who assisted Scott with operating the O scale layout while I tried desperately to keep up with the camera. Jim said goodbye as we wrapped up and moved downstairs to get a look at the HO scale layout. Rather than attempt a full translation of the layouts’ visual overload into words, I have summarized the highlights below. Click any of the timestamp links to jump to that scene in the video.
Part I: O Scale
0: 28 – Pan of the layout. The platform where the camera is located is built from the end of a former New York Central caboose. The layout controls are located on a balcony above the ‘Hubbard’ station sign seen to the left at the beginning of the clip. A coal train led by Norfolk & Western class A 2-6-6-4 1218 enters the scene at 0: 51.
1: 15 – Union Pacific ‘Big Boy’ 4012 joins in with a train of ice-cooled refrigerated cars, passing a pair of Pennsylvania RR E-8s with a string of heavyweight passenger coaches at 2: 08.
2: 40 – A view of the steam lineup in one of the yards, with a UP gas turbine lurking in the background.
4: 37 – The Pennsy E-8s lead their train out of the yard, followed closely by N&W 1218 with its coal train.
5: 04 – ‘Aerial’ view of the layout from the control balcony. A passenger train of lightweight streamlined cars led by Santa Fe 4-8-4 2929 has joined the running.
8: 28 – As the Big Boy circles past on the upper level, a Pennsy M1-class 4-8-2 comes out of a siding on the lower level with a long train of gondolas.
9: 14 – An all-Pennsy meet on the upper level as the M1 passes the E8s
9: 51 – A walk up from the yard to view the varied lineup in the roundhouse area. The roundhouse model is scratchbuilt.
12: 07 – N&W 1218 meets Santa Fe 2929.
12: 31 – Santa Fe 2929 crosses the curved viaduct on the upper level, to be met by the Big Boy.
Part II: HO Scale
13: 54 – View of a baseball field and a work-in-progress steel mill
14: 43 – Amtrak F40PHs (Phase III and Phase II livery) enter the scene with a train of Horizon coaches and an Atlantic Coast Line observation ‘private car’ on the end.
15: 08 – We chase the Amtrak train around the layout to the main yard. The coaling tower in the background is a PRR replica.
16: 18 – View of the yard and engine servicing area, featuring B&O, NYC, C&O, PRR, CSX, and EL power. The FM unit in the foreground is from a club member’s fictional line.
18: 37 – An amusement park scene in progress, including a train ride made from an N-scale locomotive and cars.
18: 46 – A Conrail SD40-2 leads a short freight on the upper level. As it rounds the curve past the camera, the engine and first few cars break away and run up the track through a curved tunnel.
19: 40 – Scott rolls the rear half of the Conrail freight up the track by hand, and discovers the hard way that the front half was closer to the other side of the tunnel than he thought. While he cleans up the wreckage, I do my best Sir Topham Hatt impression.
20: 22 – The Amtrak train continues around the layout, now joined by a grain train led by an A-B-B-A set of Pennsy F units running in the opposite direction. The newly re-railed Conrail freight passes overhead, circling past the steel mill construction.
21: 28 – A demonstration of the rotary coal dumper. The scratchbuilt model was donated to the club over 12 years ago. As the Conrail-led yard job returns from the dumper, it is passed first by the Pennsy grain train and then by the Amtrak train speeding through the passenger station.
24: 07 – The Pennsy grain train passes in the foreground as we begin a chase of the Amtrak train (now hauled by an F40/P40 combo) around the layout. The city scene in one corner of the layout is modeled after 1950s-era Youngstown.
26: 33 – The grain train power has been swapped for a Chessie System SD40/B&O GP30 pair, a better match for the Western Maryland caboose bringing up the rear.
27: 14 – Another view of the amusement park, with the rides in operation.
28: 48 – A closer look at the engine servicing area on the far side of the layout.
29: 22 – We say goodbye with a final look at the urban scene at ‘night’.