Public Relations Blog

In a few weeks, the Mid-Atlantic Railroad Prototype Modelers Meet (MARPM) will be upon us (October 13-16). Though this will be my first outing at MARPM, I've been to the Valley Forge RPM several times and to RPM East once.

This year the MARPM is in a new location -- Timonium, MD -- and is being held concurrent with the Great Scale Model Train Show at the Maryland State Fairgrounds just down the road. This should prove to be a win-win for both events.

I will be presenting two clinics on Friday:


A presentation on the planning and design, operating philosophy, and progress of the PRR Middle Division in HO Scale.


An exploration of the glory days of transporting the POTUS (President of the United States) by rail. Discussion includes the Ferdinand Magellan, an armored rail car modified just for the task. A deep dive will focus on one specific trip over the Pennsylvania and the Bellefonte Central railroads.

RPM's are a lot of fun and very inexpensive to attend. If you are in the area, please consider attending!

The PRR MIddle Division will present two open houses to the public this fall. The HO scale model railroad depicts the greater Lewistown, Pa., area during the early 1950s when the Pennsy was The Standard Railroad of the World!

The first open house will be on Saturday, September 17th, as part of the Mainline Hobby Fall Layout Tour. The railroad will be open from 12 noon until 3 p.m. Address information will be available at Mainline Hobby on that date.

The second open house will be on Saturday, November 12th, as part of the DE - MD - NJ - PA Model Railroad Open House. The railroad will be open from 12 noon until 3 p.m. Address information will be posted to that web site on October 15th.

The site is not ADA accessible. Please be respectful of posted start and end times. For more information, please visit

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The Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society (PRRT&HS) held its annual meeting May 11-15. As a part of that event, the PRR Middle Division held its first open house in three years and, more importantly, its first since the lightning strike!

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I can report "continued progress" on the PRR Middle Division since our lightning strike in August. This week I received and implemented replacements for three DCC Specialties RRampmeter II's and three PSX circuit breakers. I also neatened up the wiring a bit.

i changed the flux capacitor now i have 121 jigawatts

As of yesterday I have changed out the last Digitrax BDL168 detection board (which supplies power to the track). The main line is now 100% restored to service, including detection!

For the most part, I am now functioning where I was three months ago, with the caveat of two remaining projects...

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Oh, the carnage! Above is my growing pile of electronics that I have replaced since the lightning strike. Not seen is another bin containing surge protectors, a laptop, two routers, etc., etc., etc. I've received a third insurance reimbursement and the recovery goes on!

To recap, all of the central power components -- power supplies, command station, and boosters -- were replaced. A new, dedicated throttle bus (LocoNet and power) was built. All of the Berrett Hill Touch Toggles used at local control panels were replaced. The middle level (Lewistown Secondary) and top level (Milroy Secondary) are up and running.

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Look! A headlight!

It's now been two months since the Middle Division was devastated by a lightning strike. Progress on rebuilding has been excrutiatingly slow, but is continuing. A third claim to the insurance company was submitted yesterday. The previous two were fully reimbursed. Here's an update:

The PRR Middle Division continues to recovery from the wrath of Mother Nature...

On August 9th, lightning struck a tree just 50' or so from the headquarters of the railroad (Catastrophe!). The surge travelled through the ground and foundation and caused significant damage to the electronics of the railroad. Then, later in the month, Hurricane Ida dumped 7" of rain in the area, resulting in a shallow pool of water in the basement of headquarters. Furthermore, a 70' tree uprooted and fell across the driveway just in front of the headquarters building, causing significant effort to remove it.

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The control panel under reconstruction.

Well, it's been a month since I reported the lightning strike, so I guess I am due to provide an update...

To add insult to injury, Hurricane Ida came through three weeks later. The sump pump worked its butt off, but for a very brief period it could not keep up and the well overflowed. I ended up with a mere 1/4" on the basement floor, but that still requires moving everything and scrubbing with a strong bleech mix to prevent mold. The logistics of moving everything requires scrubbing areas in patches. I just finished today.