PENNSYRR.COM by Jerry Britton

Jerry Britton's PRR Middle Division in HO Scale

Today was a landmark... the first train under power on the new model railroad!

Today was a landmark... the first train under power on the new model railroad! PRR NW2 9249 led the first revenue into State College over the Bellefonte Central Railroad.

The first train under power on the new model railroad (January 27, 2011). PRR NW2 9249 leads a local off the wye at Struble and into State College on the Bellefonte Central.
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Wait... State College... Bellefonte Central? Yup!

Don't worry, I'm still modeling the PRR at Lewistown and the Milroy Secondary!

A few months back I got to thinking... what am I going to do with the significant quantity of locomotives and rolling stock that I have that do not fit into my operating schema? Where would I display them? At the same time I was pondering the wall space above the top level of the model railroad, which is about chest level. It really wasn't enough room for a display of photos, nor did I want to have a backdrop take in the entire height, and I didn't know how to transition from backdrop to unused wall.

Then I came up with the idea of adding a loop around the entire room just for displaying models. At just 4" wide and with just enough vertical clearance to make it work, it became a plan. Once the plan was in motion, I decided to power the track, just in case I want to run trains on it. My operators needn't worry... I have no plans to include switching operations at 7" below the ceiling!

While I was working out the engineering of this top level, I was reading Mike Bezilla's excellent book "Rails to Penn State". This 15 mile short line ran from State College, Pa., to Bellefonte, where it interchanged with the Pennsylvania Railroad. It proved itself to be one of the most successful short lines in the nation, with its main cargo being limestone products... some of the purist to be found! 

There were also some interesting "specials" that ran on the line. In 1953 a POTUS special brought U.S. President Eisenhower to State College to visit his brother, Milton, who was president of the Pennsylvania State University. In 1955 two lengthy specials brought fans in for the annual Penn State - Pitt football game.

To top it off, it doesn't hurt that both my wife and I are Penn State grads... and my daughter will be attending in a few months... as a fourth generation Penn Stater!

So, the Bellefonte Central makes an appearance, and it interchanged within the PRR Middle Division, legitimizing its place in the realm of my modeling. With this section of the upper level complete, I can begin aggressive work on the [now] middle level at Yeagertown, Pa., on the Milroy Secondary. I expect to get quite a bit done over the coming weeks.

Progress on the Bellefonte Central (top level), looking from State College toward the wye at Struble, where the first revenue train is approaching.
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Also to take shape over the coming weeks is that I have engineered a way to operate within the Standard Steel Works at Burnham, Pa. I had planned to just simulate the PRR deliveries and pickups, but now I think I can work in quite a bit of internal switching at the plant.

In other news, I recently took delivery of eight of Walthers new 21 roomette sleepers... the first of their Broadway Limited cars. The Pennsy classed these Budd cars as PS21B and the models are truly exquisite! I will eagerly await the rest of the consist over the coming months.