The Eno Valley Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad is based on the prototypes Middle Division and runs from Lewistown to Johnstown. The model’s division name is derived from the river that runs through Hillsborough, N.C., the town where I live. The layout design is a modification of a John Armstrong plan for the middle division that was published in Kalmbach’s 20 Custom Designed Track Plans. The railroad is set in the late 1950’s at the end of the steam era on the Pennsy.
The layout is located on the second floor of a 24 by 32 foot shop building that is climate controlled. The
track plan is a long folded “dog bone” consisting of a double track main terminating in two loops; one at Lewistown on the lower level with Johnstown above. The two loops are connected with a doubletrack helix which is used to stage the eastbound and westbound Broadway Limiteds during operating sessions or for continuous running during demonstration runs. Entry to the layout features that well known Pennsy landmark, the Horseshoe Curve. In this area, the mainline expands to four tracks with super-elevated curves which run past the point of Kittanning Mountain and around the small park where people “train watch.” The main yard is Altoona and, although it is large, it is merely a shadow of the real Altoona yard. All interchange traffic takes place in Altoona or Johnstown.
Beneath the ‘Curve” is an eleven track staging yard. Each track represents a city not on the layout to expand the operating horizons, provide places to deliver goods manufactured on the main layout and provide sources of obtain raw materials. Staging also allows me to have trains from some of my other favorite railroads such as the Western Maryland, Reading, B&O, and the DL&W.
The scenery is about 95% complete (I guess it is never complete) and consists of hydrocal hardshell with hydrocal rock castings where appropriate. The layout is lighted from soffit lights and there is a continuous painted backdrop behind the scenery. The main industry is a steel mill and associated businesses, with an assortment of other industries to add operating interest.
The layout is powered with DCC using System I and North Coast Engineering products. Tony’s Train Exchange was extremely helpful in providing information on all available systems so that an informed decision could be made. I continue to be happy with my choice now that I have more “hands on” experience with other systems. With that I hasten to say that they all seem to be good.
Operations is where the layout really comes alive. I was fortunate that after many years of solo model railroading, I was introduced to “operating” by Dick Genthner on the Arpee and Western Railroad. Our operating crew consists of about 14 people who now operate in a round-robin schedule on Dick Genthner’s A&W, Dil Huey's Brandy Wine Valley and my PRR layout. The PRR Eno Valley Division runs 16 trains during each operating day and will move about 175 cars during each day. The sessions are operated with a six to one fast time clock so that a typical three hour session will accomplish 18 hours of work. I started operating with a commercial computer generated switch list but after great frustration went to the tried and true car card system using Old Line Graphics products. We find that operating is a lot of fun, particularly if you don’t take it too seriously.