Blog entries from August 2017 and earlier have been migrated from a former site and many of the images are incorrectly linked. These will be repaired over time.

The Pennsylvania Midland Railroad, as described in this series of articles, is a freelance railroad created by Jerry Britton. The railroad is inspired by actual events and histories of related railroads in Mifflin and Centre counties of Pennsylvania. Past history is not changed, but leveraged to create future outcomes that never came to fruition.

The establishment of the Pennsylvania Midland was not lost on the Bellefonte Central Railroad(BFC) to the north. The BFC had long sought a way to increase freight income via a connection with the PRR to the south, rather than at nearby Bellefonte. They had failed in their efforts to establish such a connection via Spruce Creek, Huntingdon, and most recently, Tyrone.

The Pennsylvania Midland Railroad, as described in this series of articles, is a freelance railroad created by Jerry Britton. The railroad is inspired by actual events and histories of related railroads in Mifflin and Centre counties of Pennsylvania. Past history is not changed, but leveraged to create future outcomes that never came to fruition.

It was the mid 1930s. The Britton family, longtime residents of the "Big Valley" in Mifflin county, discovered substantial sand deposits on their land on the north side of Jacks Mountain. This shouldn't have come as a surprise, as the north side of Stone Mountain, next door to the north, had been quarried for sand for years. The Pennsylvania Glass Sand Company had a substantial processing plant on the banks of the Juniata River at Mill Creek and trucked sand from the nearby quarries to the plant. The plant had multiple sidings connecting to the Pennsylvania Railroad at that location.

The Pennsylvania Midland Railroad, as described in the following series of articles, is a freelance railroad created by Jerry Britton. The railroad is inspired by actual events and histories of related railroads in Mifflin and Centre counties of Pennsylvania. History itself is not changed, but leveraged to create future outcomes that never came to fruition.

Since the dawn of the railroad age, citizens of Mifflin and Centre counties had yearned for the iron horse to connect their communities. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania surveyed three routes for possible railroads to connect Philadelphia and Pittsburgh via Harrisburg. They were known as the southern, middle, and northern routes. The middle route would have such a railroad approach from the east, hit Lewistown, then go north through Mann's Gap (Reedsville) and head west down the "Big Valley" through Belleville, and on towards Huntingdon.

The plan for the Middle Division was to use the entire basement, once the kids were both off to college... another five years. But even then, the plan was to traverse room to room via a window cut in each wall. Not the ideal situation, but...

A recent thread on the Atlas Forum asked "What model railroads inspired you?" It challenged readers to recollect before responding. Responses were typically in list form, but I'd like to share my list with justification, in no particular order...

Without a doubt, I can point to Bruce Chubb's Sunset Valley Lines as my original inspiration. As a teen, I was glued to the series in Model Railroader. It was my first exposure to the concept of "operations" on a model railroad.

Allen McClellan's Virginian & Ohio is probably on everyone's list. I was late to the party as I was not a Railroad Model Craftsmansubscriber at the time, or perhaps that was when I was at college and my hobby was boxed up. In any case, it was in the late 1980s or even the 1990s that I was enlightened by Allen's work. His "beyond the basement" approach opened up a whole new realm of possibilities.

The PRR Middle Division has re-enacted the famous St. Patrick's Day flood of 1936. True to prototype, it was unplanned!

York Haven Shops Floods

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I am looking forward to a full weekend of benchwork construction this weekend. My suburban is already loaded with the wood. The cool basement will be welcome given the heatwave the east coast is currently experiencing.

One of my favorite photos from the N scale layout... staged traffic on the Sherman's Creek bridge at Duncannon. The new HO layout will have a similar bridge just west of Lewistown.

Open up nearly any coffee table photo book on the Pennsylvania Railroad and you'll see references to Red Bank, South Amboy, and Bay Head Junction. These locations are known for being the last pasture for steam, as well as diesels that have fallen out of favor, like the Baldwin BP20 passenger sharks. However, I've lacked an understanding and appreciation of how and where these locations fit into the Pennsylvania Railroad system.

I now know that they are part of the New York & Long Branch (NY&LB), a railroad jointly operated by the PRR and the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ). Unlike most PRR affiliations, however, they aren't documented in regular PRR documentation, like the employee timetables or regional maps. Perhaps that's what led to my oversight.

Had a very interesting discussion on several mailing lists as of late. Was asking for clarification on the use of telephone booths and clearance rules on the Milroy "Branch" for planning my operations, I made some very interesting discoveries...

The Employee Timetable for the Middle Division for 1954 breaks out the territories under ABS and MBS operation, and spells out clearance cards and train order protocols for same. But the Milroy "Branch" wasn't listed among them. So what authority was required for operations?

Turns out the Milroy "Branch" wasn't a "Branch", but a "Secondary". It's an important distinction, as the Definitions section of the Book