Shenware's MiTrains is used to manage the fleet and print car cards. All locomotives and rolling stock are issued a car card prior to placement into service on the railroad.

For rolling stock, the car card bears the AAR type, the reporting marks (and verbose name of the railroad), the road number, the home road's class (if different than the AAR type), and the color (optional).

When the car card lacks a waybill, it is empty. Foreign road car cards will have instructions for disposition of the empty car -- East to Enola, West to Altoona, or East or West:

car cards

Home road cars, unless assigned to a specific service, do not include Empty Car instructions. Local yardmasters may hold the empties for future customer fulfillment and assign as needed, when needed. Yardmasters must maintain an inventory of empty cars of various types, ordering empties from Enola or Altoona when needed.

For locomotives, the car card is similar except that the AAR type describes the model of locomotive:

loco cards

Prep Cards

Initially, all car cards receive the addition of a "Prep Card" which tracks various preparatory tasks the locomotive or rolling stock requires. Once complete, the Prep Card is removed.

prep cards

DCC Function Cards

A DCC Function card is included in the Locomotive Card of the lead locomotive in a consist. The card documents the DCC address of the consist as well as the primary functions.

dcc cards

Bad Orders

When a locomotive or rolling stock develops a mechanical issue or a breakage, please remove it from the railroad and complete a Bad Order form. On the form, include the nature of the problem and the location from where the locomotive or rolling stock was last assigned.

bad order

Shenware's Waybills is used to generate multi-move waybills. Waybills contain the information that you would expect: the shipper, the destination, and the contents (which may be "Empty for Loading"). They may also contain special instructions, such as icing a reefer prior to delivery.

Inbound Traffic

Inbound traffic will arrive to Lewistown Junction yard by way of Altoona, Enola, or Northumberland. Cars will carry loads except for any empty cars previously requested by the Yardmaster.

Under the supervision of the Yardmaster, cars will be classified by destination routes. The title bar of the waybill is color coded for the convenience of the Yardmaster. The color is an indicator of the destination of the shipment, making classification easier. The waybill may also include specific routing information.

Waybill Color Codes for Destinations:
Route East (Enola)
Route East (Northumberland)
Route West (Altoona)
 Newport Turn (LE)  
 Mount Union Turn (LW) 
  Lewistown Junction (XA) 
 Lewistown Secondary (LN) 
Lewistown Secondary
Furnace Branch Siding (LNFB)
 Milroy Secondary (39) 
Milroy Secondary
Stone Turn (ST11)
Milroy Secondary
Steel Turn (SS05)

A local crew will take all cars for a specific route out for delivery and follow the instructions on the Local Switching page.

Outbound Traffic

Outbound traffic will be initiated by a waybill (not in a car card) arriving to the Freight Agent requesting a car "Empty for Loading".

IMG 2068

The Freight Agent works with the Yardmaster to assign the waybill to a car (via car card). Empty cars should be chosen in this order: foreign road cars in the same general direction as the shipment's destination, then home road cars. If not utilized for outbound shipments, foreign road cars should be sent home empty after a reasonable time to minimize "per diem" fees.

If a car is not available, the waybill is held until such time as a car is available. The Yardmaster can order empty cars from Altoona or Enola to maintain a supply on hand.

Once assigned, the car will be classified accordingly and sent out on the next local and delivered for loading. It will later be picked up and forwarded to its intended destination. It will then be routed through Altoona, Enola, or Northumberand.

Less Than Carload (LCL) Traffic

An exception is made for LCL traffic, which is handled differently than car load traffic. Jeff Wilson's book, "Express, Mail & Merchandise Service" (Kalmbach), is an excellent read on the subject. Some excerpts follow. As specific prototype information is lacking for Lewistown, what follow are the LCL practices that have been established for the PRR Middle Division in HO Scale.

"Railroads handled a significant amount of packages, crates, and other shipments that didn't take up an entire boxcar. This is most commonly referred to as less-than-carload (LCL) traffic, and is also known as merchandise, package, and break-bulk freight."

"To efficiently handle merchandise traffic, railroads used a system of local depots, small-city freight houses, and huge freight terminals and transfer houses."

"Individual boxes, crates, and packages are collected at small depots, local freight stations, or large terminals. They are shipped to the closes large freight house and offloaded. There, shipments are combined for common destinations, reloaded in boxcars, and routed to large transfer stations near their destinations."

"There, the process goes in reverse, as packages are unloaded, sorted, and reloaded for their final destinations, eventually arriving at a local freight station or depot, where shipments would be loaded on trucks for final delivery."

Wilson also discusses the roles of various cars used in LCL service...

"A package or merchandise car usually refers to cars being handled on-line -- among freight houses, transfer stations, or combination depots on the host railroad."

Scheduled LCL exchange service (merchandise cars) is established between Lewistown and Altoona, Harrisburg, Northumberland, Newport, Mifflin, and Burnham. Multiple cars may be assigned to protect each schedule, as needed.

IMG 2069

"A peddler or waycar were used to distrinute LCL to multiple stations along a route. They would be loaded at a larger freight house or transfter station. Peddler cars served stations too small to warrant receiving their own LCL car. The local may pause at a station for the peddler car to be unloaded; if the train had other work to do in town, the local would set out the peddler car at the depot until it was ready to depart and then pick it up."

The Newport Turn, Mount Union Turn, Milroy Turn, and trains S-70/S-71 each carry "peddler" LCL cars and pickup/deliver LCL traffic en route. These cars are all be routed to the downtown Lewistown freight station for shipment sorting. The process runs in reverse as well.

IMG 2070

 "A trap car was a car loaded with LCL items by a shipper on a rail siding at its own factory or warehouse. The shipper would load the entire car (or multiple cars), but the items were all individual shipments heading to multiple customers. The railroad would pick up this car and bring it to a nearby freight terminal, where it would be unloaded and the individual parcels sorted to their ultimate destinations."

Dedicated LCL cars (trap cars) are provided to Standard Steel Co. (Burnham). These cars are all be routed to the downtown Lewistown freight station for shipment sorting. The process runs in reverse as well.

IMG 2071

LCL Waybills

LCL waybills look much like regular waybills. However, they only have one cycle, from shipper to receiver. The header is color coded like regular waybills, but reads "LCL WAYBILL". LCL waybills are also a half inch shorter than regular waybills.

Below is shown the box car assigned to Burnham for regular Merchandise LCL service. At right are three waybills for shipments destined for offline customers in Burnham. When this car is loaded at the downtown Lewistown freight station, the LCL Waybills are placed into the car card for the Merchandise car.

IMG 2072

When a location has an assigned Merchandise car, all of its LCL waybills are inserted into the Merchandise car's car card. The approprite local will deliver the car to the destination (Burnham in this case). Between sessions the LCL waybills will be removed and outbound LCL waybills inserted. The car card will then be moved to the Outbound pocket for pickup and the return trip. The process repeats.

IMG 2073

For locations that do not have a dedicated Merchandise LCL car (most), outbound LCL waybills will be placed in the Outbound bin. When a local comes by with a Peddler LCL car, it will pick up the outbound LCL waybills and place them in the car's car card. The local may also be dropping off inbound LCL traffic and would put the inbound LCL waybills into the Inbound bin. The Peddler LCL car routes through the downtown Lewistown freight station for sorting, with the various shipments being moved to cars appropriate for each shipment's routing.

IMG 2074






Welcome to the Pennsylvania Railroad's Middle Division! Congratulations on signing on; we wish you the best during your tenure as an operator on the line.

A few house rules:

  • No surprise visits! If you would like to operate on the railroad, please gain permission in advance.
  • If you have to cancel your attendance at a session, please do so in a timely manner so that an operator on the stand-by list may be offered your position.
  • Please plan to attend the entire session as an early departure may adversely affect the experience of the other operators.
  • Please do not bring guests without first gaining permission.
  • No children under the age of 16.
  • You may park in the street or the driveway. Limit parking in the driveway to the left hand side, as far forward as the lamp post; do not park on the right side.
  • The powder room is on the first floor, opposite the door to the basement.
  • Soft drinks are available in the train room's refrigerator, please help yourself. A recyclables container is located opposite the foot of the stairs.
  • Handle locomotives and rolling stock with extreme care. They are not only expensive, but have very delicate parts, including but not limited to, grab irons, brake wheels, etc.
  • Hand throws on switches are for decoration only! All switches are powered and are operated either by a tower operator or via toggle switch on the fascia.
  • When switching within an area, “normalize” all switches when leaving the area. The switch is in the normal position when the toggle is in the down position.
  • Have fun!

Human Resources

The Middle Division maintains an Employee Directory, a Seniority Roster, and confers the status of Seniority Roster upon employees that meet the criteria. 

Operating Philosophy

Source Documentation

The operation of the PRR Middle Division is intended to adhere to prototype practice where possible and reasonable. The following are links to prototype documents for reference.

The Rules for Conducting Transportation (a.k.a. Book of Rules) is the general “rule book” for the entire railroad.

The Eastern Region, Middle Division, Employee Timetable #7 includes rules specific to the locations depicted as well as timetable schedules for passenger and freight traffic.

The Makeup of Trains includes the specific consists of all of the passenger trains passing through the locations depicted.

The Through Freight Train Schedules Between Principal Points includes the blocking information and makeup of all freight trains passing through the locations depicted.

The Appendix to General Notice No. 234-B: Local Arranged Freight Train Service, Eastern Region provides information on intradivisional local freight service.


Operating sessions run on a 2:1 fast clock and alternate between two scenarios:

  • The First Trick scenario depicts a 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. shift. All scheduled trains are run plus local service on the secondary lines. Mineral trains and other extras are operated as capacity and crews allow.
  • The Second Trick scenario depicts a 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. shift, with a break, and resumes at 3:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. All scheduled trains are run. In addition, non-prototypical local service is operated on the secondary lines. Mineral trains and other extras are operated as capacity and crews allow.

The schedule is derived from the prototype Employee Timetable and provides target o/s times at LEWIS. The ETT provides times at LEWIS for passenger trains. The ETT provides start and end times between Altoona and Harrisburg/Enola for freight trains; time at LEWIS is interpolated.

As it is impractical to separately model each and every train on the schedule, the approach is to group trains by typical consist and create a model consist for each group. These "composite" trains then run multiple times, but as different symbols (freight) or named (passenger) trains. You may view the representative and prototype consists by clicking on the train symbol on the Sequence of Trains document.

Movement of Freight Cars

The Middle Division uses a "car card and waybill" system for freight car movements. The system is described on the following pages:

Car Cards


Local Switching

Movement of Trains

All trains run as extras per prototype practice. The employee timetable does not provide timetable authority.

Movement of trains is based on a Sequence of Trains table. Sequences for each line are independent from one another.

Main Line Operations

Crews follow signal indication and operate their trains out of staging, proceed through Lewistown, and return to staging.

Some trains will originate or terminate at Lewistown. Crews will follow signal indication to/from the yard.

Secondary Line Operations

All non-main line trackage is categorized as secondary lines. Secondary lines have no passenger traffic (or they would be “branches”).

Authority to proceed is granted verbally at the leisure of the LEWIS tower operator via telephone.

The LEWIS operator will grant permission between points on the secondary line. Crews must contact the tower operator by telephone to indicate that they have reached their destination so as to clear the block.

All movements on secondary tracks are at restricted speeds with crews responsible for stopping short of obstacles or other trains.

There are numerous “yard limits” along the secondary lines. Movements within the yard limits are coordinated among affected crews.

Train Order Cards

A Train Order card is included at the front of every train packet. The card provides the train symbol, the train name (if one), the class, the origin, and the destination of the train.

An Instructions area provides information such as stops or work to be performed during the course of operation of the train.

train orders

Roles and Responsibilities

It takes many people to run a railroad. Roles and Responsibilities are covered on a separate page.

Throttle Instructions


Digitrax Throttles

The PRR Middle Division utilizes a Digitrax digital command control (DCC) system. Operators are encouraged to bring their own Digitrax throttles. Wireless throttles are supported.

A limited number of Digitrax UT4 throttles are available for those who do not provide their own throttles.

 Digitrax UT4 Series Throttle Manual

SmartPhone ThrottlesiPhone 5 Throttle

To use your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with JMRI as a throttle, you run the WiThrottle app on the iPhone or iPod Touch. The basic application is available for free download from the iTunes store.

To use your Android device with JMRI as a throttle, you run the Engine Driver program or Digitrains on the Android device. These free apps are available from the Google Play Store or the EngineDriver site.

Follow the configuration instructions for the respective application. The wireless network SSID is PRR and the server to connect to is Lewistown. (The Supervisor will provide the password on-site.)

Web Browser Throttles

webThrottle runs on the most recent browsers on computers, smartphones and tablets. The device and browser must support HTML5 and websockets.  It has been tested on Safari, Firefox and Google Chrome running on Windows, MAC, iPad/iPhone and Android - it should run on Internet Explorer 10. There is nothing to install on the device! webThrottle is completely resizable and it ajusts automatically to the size and orientation of the device screen.

The wireless network SSID is PRR and the server to connect to is (The Supervisor will provide the password on-site.)

Telephone Instructions

Mainline crews communicate with tower operators, when needed, via train phone. Train phone is simulated via lineside telephone.

Secondary crews communicate with tower operators via lineside phones. Locations of lineside phones are indicated on fascia control panels and represented trackside; locomotives/cabins should be stopped close to lineside phones for the convenience of the crews.

Until such time that lineside phones are implemented, crews shall walk to the tower operator to communicate. The act of walking to the tower operator shall simulate the act of walking to the lineside telephone. FRS radio shall be used temporarily between the yardmaster and the tower operator.

Control Panels

At each local switching location there is a fascia control panel with a diagram of the local trackage. Industries are labeled alongside their corresponding sidings. 

The current route of switch is indicated by an LED on the closed route of the switch on the diagram. "Touch" the LED and the switch will throw and the LED will change color. A green indicates the switch is normal; red indicates thrown. (Unfortunately, the LED colors do not photograph well.)

IMG 2042

Locations with only a switch or two may have recessed "cup" toggle LED's in lieu of a control panel:

IMG 2038

Crews shall always return switches to their normal positions prior to leaving the area.

Sort Rails

At each local switching location there is a sort rail upon which crews may sort car cards/waybills and plan their switching moves.

sort rail

Car Card Boxes

At each local switching location there is a car card box with three slots -- labeled Inbound, Load/Unload, and Outbound. A PRR Keystone emblem contains the designation of the switching location from the CT1000: List of Reportable Locations.

Switch crews shall place into the Inbound slot the cards for cars that they have delivered to the destination customer indicated on the waybill.

Cars for delivery may include a dedicated less-than-carload car for delivery to a local freight station or public delivery track -- treat it as above. If there is not a dedicated LCL car for the location and the train is carrying a "roaming" LCL car, check its LCL waybills for any deliveries for the location. If there are deliveries, there will be an unloading time indicated on the waybill; that dwell time should be simulated. The LCL waybill should be removed from the car card and be placed in the Inbound box; the car card and other LCL waybills stay with the train.

Between shifts, the Freight Agent will move car cards from the Inbound slot to the Load/Unload slot where they will remain while the car is loaded/unloaded. The Freight Agent will also move car cards from the Load/Unload slot to the Outbound slot once they are fully loaded/unloaded and are ready for pickup.

Switch crews shall pickup cars whose cards are in the Outbound slot and shall add the cards to their train packet. 

Cars for pickup may include a dedicated less-than-carload car from a freight station -- treat it as above. If there is not a dedicated LCL car for the location and the train is carrying a "roaming" LCL car, check for LCL waybills in the Outbound box. If there are outbounds, there will be a loading time indicated on the waybill; that dwell time should be simulated. The LCL waybill should be added to the car card with other LCL waybills and stay with the train.

If the number of pickups exceeds the limit for the train, the priority of pickup shall be loaded cars (perishables first), foreign road empty cars, then home road empty cars.

IMG 2058

Throttle Holders

Velcro throttle holders are located at many places on the fascia, typically with throttle jacks: 

IMG 2039

Drink Holders

Please do not place drinks on the surface of the model railroad. Fold up holders are available on the fascia:

IMG 2040

01598 mAfter an eight year stint in N scale, I decided to return to HO scale in early 2008. For the next two years, I considered various locales to model.

I initially focused on the Cumberland Valley Branch. It’s actually only a few miles from my lifelong home, so I’ve had a decent amount of exposure to it. I pondered modeling the east end of Enola as the yard and engine facility. However, it lacked in scenery and was very light on passenger traffic.

I eventually decided upon the Milroy Branch. I had been fascinated with the Milroy line from an early age. I frequented Penn State football games with my family and the trip to those games passed over the line several times. It had very unique white ballast, compared to the gray ballast typical on Pennsylvania railroads. In my early research, I learned that this fairly short line boasted a ton of traffic during the 1950s. A Bethlehem Steel-owned quarry ran dedicated trains of limestone from a quarry to their steel mills in Johnstown. Standard Steel in Burnham exchanged 30 or so cars a day. And the American Viscose (rayon) plant in Lewistown was busy enough to be shifted twice a day. Lewistown had classification yard at its junction with the main line, as well as a downtown yard for shifting the many inbounds and outbounds from the immediate area. The striking mountain passes and trout streams along the line offered much potential for scenery.

Givens & Druthers:

Scale: HO.
Gauge: Standard.
Era: Early fall, early 1950s.
Region: Central Pennsylvania.
Prototype: Pennsylvania Railroad plus freelance Pennsylvania Midland.
Space: Approx. 32′ by 32′ overall, with obstacles.
Governing Rolling Stock: 85′ passenger cars on main line; 50′ cars on secondary lines.
Operating Priorities: • Branch line operations with a meaningful level of switching operations.
• A main line interchange yard with classification opportunities.
• A locomotive maintenance facility.
• Computer-based turnout and signaling control.
• Main line operations, at least at the vignette level.
• Passenger traffic; I love varnish!
• An era and locale where steam and diesel power can coexist.
• Opportunities for stunning scenery.
Operating Crew: 10-12

Control Systems:

Digitrax Super Chief DCC system.
Java Model Railroad Interface (JMRI).

Construction on the new railroad began in May 2010.

The PRR Middle Division Main Line

main line 130521The main line is presented as a vignette. The four track mainline makes a 120 foot loop around the train room. There is an in-line 18 track staging yard, with four or five tracks routed to each of the four main line tracks. Each staging track holds a train consist that is “representative” of one or more trains that run during the schedule. Passenger trains are modeled after the actual Makeup of Trains book; freights per the Schedule of Arranged Freight Service.

Other than running the throttle and obeying the signals, there won’t be much for the main line road crews to do. But then again, I have several operators that prefer to run through trains.

The end of staging to the east represents Harrisburg/Enola; to the west, Altoona. Heading west, a train will come out of staging just east of the Lewistown Station, pass the “upper yard” at Lewistown Junction, pass through LEWIS interlocking, pass Mt. Union, then head into staging again.

A few passenger trains stop at Lewistown, but not many. One east bound freight and one west bound freight stop at Lewistown to exchange a block of cars. There is one dedicated freight from Altoona that brings an entire train into Lewistown and takes another back.

Tower Operations

LEWIS tower commands a full four-track interlocking at the end of the “upper yard” at Lewistown Junction. An additional set of crossovers in front of the Lewistown station is remoted to the tower. LEWIS talks to WALL tower to the east and JACKS tower to the west. The tower operator controls all signals and switches in the interlocking and maintains the tower sheet.

The operator is also responsible for providing clearance for the use of the Lewistown Secondary and the Milroy Secondary. Passenger traffic ceased on these lines in 1941, allowing them to be downrated from branches to secondaries. Clearances on secondaries is very informal and does not require paperwork; verbal authority is sufficient.

The PRR Lewistown Secondary

lewistown sec 130521The Lewistown Secondary begins at the “upper yard” by the main line. From there, yard crews pick up and drop off interchange traffic for the branch. The Lewistown Junction yard has 19 classification and advance tracks, car shops, MoW stores, and a locomotive facility.

The locomotive facility is larger than one would expect. With a 110 foot turntable, this shop maintained “stand by” power for the main line; typically in the form of M1 Mountains.

The yard prepares an east and west local for the main line each day, plus a dedicated train to the stone quarry at the end of the Milroy Secondary. The yard generates locals for the secondaries on an as-needed basis, and exchanges inbounds and outbounds with a downtown yard.

The downtown yard features numerous online customers, typically in the form of warehouses, a freight terminal, and a passenger station which is no longer in service. A connection to the Furnace Branch Siding leads to a dozen or so online customers, several being fuel dealers.

Beyond the downtown yard the Lewistown Secondary terminates and the Milroy Secondary and the Sunbury & Lewistown Secondary begins.

The PRR Milroy Secondary

milroy sec 130521The Milroy Secondary is an 11 mile single track run with numerous passing sidings. Originally a “branch”, passenger service ceased in 1941 and the branch was redesignated a secondary. As such, permission to operate is informal and does not require paperwork. Crews communicate with LEWIS tower for permission to run.

Upon entering the branch, while still in Lewistown, the line serves several oil dealers and a creamery, followed by a feed mill.

A mile or so later the line enters Burnham, Pa., where there is a sand quarry, freight station, and Kovalchik Salvage. After crossing the Kish Creek the line enters Yeagertown, Pa., home of Standard Steel. “The Standard” features several sidings for interchange plus a maze of internal trackage. The branch widens here to three tracks to allow numerous runaround operations. There are also two sidings for Yeager’s Mill, which is now in the building products business.

The line then enters Mann’s Narrows. Very steep mountains provide a backdrop for the right-of-way as it snakes along the cascading Kish Creek, a popular trout stream.

Next up is Reedsville, Pa., with a wye interchange with the defunct Kishacoquillas Valley Railroad. There is a runaround track, freight station, and team track. The line then passes through a scenic area, crossing Honey Creek several times.

Naginey, Pa., is the site of a Bethlehem Steel limestone quarry. This hole in the ground yeilds a train load of limestone on a daily basis bound for Johnstown, Pa., to the west. The quarry also ships to other customers.

The end of the line is its namesake, Milroy, Pa. There is a mill here, along with a freight station and a few other interests yet to be researched.


Bellefonte Central Railroad.