Model Railroad

Layout At A Glance

Prototype: Georgetown Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad
Locale: Washington, DC and western suburbs
Period: Winter/Fall (?)
Era: Early 1945-1955. Allow the use of both steam and diesel. Allow some prototype design elements/buildings/track configurations to exist and others to be omitted. (eg. Whitehurst Fwy.)
Scale: HO
Layout Size: 19.25' x 6.5' (main room) plus a small staging yard and helix extension
Benchwork: Open grid, plywood.
Roadbed: Homabed, Homasote, Cork.
Track: Micro Engineering & Walthers/Shinohara Code 83, Atlas Code 100 in staging.
Turnouts: #6 Micro Engineering, handlaid, and Peco #10.
Mainline Run: TBD 
Maximum Grade: TBD 
Minimum Radius: 19.5" on helix, 22" on mainline curves
Power & Control: Digitrax
Backdrop: Painted board.
Scenery: TBD

The Layout, take 2

The layout is an around-the-room, double deck, shelf-style. Just like the prototype, it is a single track "mainline" with a small three-track staging yard. Focus points of the layout include Georgetown Junction (where the GB left the Metropolitain Branch), Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Dalecarlia Reservoir and the Georgetown waterfront where the trackage will largely be street running and industrial switching. I'm using code 83 track with homasote roadbed with plywood subroadbed on open grid benchwork. There is a 19.5" radius / 2.9% grade helix which connects the two levels. (*Note: the helix may be rebuilt to a larger radius in the future.) On the mainline, curves are limited to around 22" radius save for a few spurs. The layout will use Digitrax DCC and JMRI. Turnouts will be thrown with a combination of Blue Point controls, Iowa Scaled Engineering MRServo controls and hand throws.

The era is set from 1945 to 1955. Motive power will mainly be small switchers and road switcher locomotives and engines. Train lengths will be no more than 8-10 cars. The GB will operate with up to three trains; the Georgetown Turn, the Georgetown Switcher and an occasional extra. Industries include lumber, fuel (coal, oil), aggregates, machinery, paper, flour, coffee, foodstuffs, metals and of course general freight. The Branch saw no real passenger traffic but there was an excursion train from time to time.

The setting will be late Fall. The GB has a very varied landscape for such a short line, which is one of the reasons I'm so attracted to it. Some of the highlights include a mainline interchange, an 85' high, nearly 300' long wooden trestle across a creek, urban industries, a long, brick-lined tunnel, crossing over a trolley line, ornate truss bridges across the C&O Canal, running alongside the Canal, and gritty industrial waterfront operations along the Potomac riverfront. My goal is to recreate as much of the railroad as I can in the space that I have and have it look representative given the selective compression I have to do. I am focusing my modeling efforts in a few areas to recreate some of the key scenes and structures along the line.

Photos of my progress can be viewed in the Gallery.


Note that these plans are outdated and while they give an overall picture of the layout design, they are not entirely accurate. Much of the layout design has changed over the years, but the plans have not been updated.