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By Stirling Woodin

The East Penn Junction, affectionately called the Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe by me and my train buddies, is based on the Lehigh Valley Railroad between the years 1936 to 1976, depending on my mood.  The architecture in the Lehigh Valley didnt change much in the intervening years, so just changing the automobiles in town and the rolling stock on the railroad gives it a quick era change.  The scenes depicted here arent designed to represent the Lehigh Valley and its environs, but rather to suggest a geographical location.

East Penn Junction is an actual location that is just outside of Allentown, Pa.  It formally was the confluence and interchange tracks of three railroads; the Central Railroad of New Jersey, the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and the Reading Railroad.  By selecting this location to model, it allows me to operate equipment from any of the three railroads mentioned previously.

Construction began in 1993, and has steadily progressed from then.  The framework consists of 2x4s, with Homasote laid over 3/8 plywood.  It has been designed as sectional pieces, so that it can be moved in the event of a job transfer.  The layout has 11 electrical blocks, and has the capability of supporting 4 conventional MRC throttles, one Soundtraxx sound throttle, and one Atlas Master DCC system.  15 locomotives have been converted to DCC operations, almost evenly split between steam and diesel. The track is Atlas code 100 flex, with Shinohara code 83 on several sidings.  A mix of Atlas and Peco turnouts are used, operated by Tortoise and Peco under table switch machine motors.

Almost all of the buildings and streets are lighted, (over 156 bulbs at last count,) and they receive their power from two 12V AC garden type lighting power supplies.  I have the nigh activation photo cells mounted on the layout fascia, so the layout lights only come on when the house lights are extinguished.

The layout is an inverted J; 21x17x12, is a walk in type with one duckunder, (needed to operate the Pal O Mine yard area), and takes up the portion of the basement that isnt used for my O gauge layout.  Two 50+ main lines, Pal O Mine coal yard, A&B beef processing plant with an associated icing facility and stock yards, a granary, a rock quarry, warehouses and paper products manufacturing can keep four crews busy for hours.

Thanks to Jonathan Sodaro and Jim Beuchel, without whose help this layout would not have been possible.








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