2017 RPM-East speakers and presentation details


Keith Albright – Clinic 1 - Design - How to design a small layout for operation

Includes research, track positioning, sidings, staging, yards, design software and how to maximize your available space along with pitfalls to avoid

Keith Albright - Clinic 2 - Building and operation

Can you save an existing layout? Covers construction methods and scenery breaks. Also covers various systems of operation including car cards and JMRI. Covers use of signals, how to set up your trains, methods to increase operation, DCC, loads, jobs and paperwork.

Andrew Blenko - Design of the Pittsburgh Mainline

This clinic tells the story of the concept and design of an HO scale Conrail layout serving the industries east of Pittsburgh, PA. The main line interchanges with three other railroads and has a heavy emphasis on steel and its related industries.

Charlie Blenko - Discovering Model Railroad-Ready Abandoned Branch Lines

This presentation will demonstrate the use of free tools such as Google Earth and tax evaluation maps for decoding the histories of branch lines.  The PRR Manor Branch will serve as a primary example of these research techniques that can be used on any railroad or traction line.  Abandoned branches offer everything from rural coal mines to urban switching on a small scale. These branches serve as perfect modeling subjects for those with little space for a railroad or even as a part of a railroad empire.

Jack Consoli – Union Railroad’s Interchange Freight Car Fleet Evolution: 1900-1962

A presentation of the history and statistics chronicling the evolution of this Monongahela Valley steel mill road’s unique freight car fleet through photographs.

Ted Culotta – Finding Kitbashing Opportunities in Freight Cars

Ever wonder how someone came up with the idea to make that one-of-a-kind model, let alone actually do it? Find out how to spot kitbashing opportunities and what's necessary to execute on them. Topics to be covered include prototype resources, models and parts, tools, and, of course, techniques. There are more possible kitbashing opportunities than you could possibly imagine and making just a few can give your freight car fleet that "wow!" factor.

Keith DeVault – Flags of Yesterday to Today

A photo showcase of railroads past and some modern ones that we do not have a chance to witness. From the Baltimore and Ohio to Wisconsin Central and others in between.

Bruce Elliott - B&O cabooses in HO scale, circa 1950 to 1955

A summary of HO scale models that have been produced in wood, resin, styrene, and brass. Several models have been scratch built and kitbashed. The review will also include touch on the wide variety of B&O prototype paint and lettering schemes.

Nick Fry – Trains and Boats: Researching Rail-Marine Interfaces

Steve Funaro – Pennsylvania Railroad X37 box car and X37A automobile box car

Join resin-kit manufacturer Steve Funaro as he discusses the PRR X37 and X37A. These are cars that are relevant to most steam-era layouts. You will learn the history of the prototype cars, and see how Funaro & Camerlengo took the prototype information and developed a new HO scale resin kit!

John Greene - Building passenger cars, sleepers and parlor cars using Branchline and BCW parts

Bill Hanley - B&O steam photos in Western Pennsylvania

A power point presentation showing B&O steam, mostly in Western Pennsylvania. Many of the slides were taken in the Pittsburgh area.

Eric Hansmann - The B&O Wheeling Freight Terminal: a prototype-inspired switching layout

Venture back to 1926 as Eric discusses designing, building and operating his HO scale home layout.

Kevin Hunter - Making Custom Controls: Easy and Elegant, With The Touch Toggle System

The owner of Berrett Hill Trains covers some tricks to make using the easiest control panel system even easier. Touch Toggles are a no-solder plug-in way to bring your control panel ideas to life. There will be an overview of control panel design, and how to approach your design. Fascia and alternative controls will also be covered. A brief discussion on connecting various types of switch machines, lighting, animations, and DCC interfaces will follow, along with a demonstration of how a panel goes together with 1/4 the wiring and plug-in simplicity. All of the system parts will be available for hands-on evaluation.

Matt Hurst – Huntingdon, Pa and the Broad Top connection

See how a small community on the Pennsylvania Railroad’s busy “Middle Division” can be a beehive of activity. Starting with Huntingdon’s meager beginnings, follow along to see how this town and the railroad grew with the addition of railroad served industries and a small short line, the Huntingdon and Broad Top Railroad. Follow the H&BT south; we take a look at the other “other broad top railroad” and discuss the numerous modelling possibilities.

Will Jamison – Transportation of Normal and Excess Width Steel Plate

Steel plate is transported on flat and bulkhead cars. Excess width plate is transported in gondolas fitted with special racks to hold it at an angle. I have display cars for this as well.

Ken Kobus – Evolution of PRR's Pitcairn Yard

A review of the many changes to Pitcairn yard over the years.

Grier Kuehn – You can learn a lot in 60 years

A potpourri of do’s and don’ts, tips and ideas learned from being a HO modeler since 1956. Many facets of model railroading will be covered in general terms, some in more detail. Most items discussed pertain to all scales and a handout will be included.

Den Lippert - Conrail's common 50-foot box cars - part 2

After a quick refresher on the “top 7” classes covered in part I, we’ll dive deeper into the dark recesses of the fleet for a representative look of what’s cool and or easily modeled.

Mike Niedzalkoski - Penn Central Passenger Primer

We discuss Penn Central’s varied Passenger Equipment and Passenger Train Operations, and modeling Penn Central Passenger Equipment.

Jim Panza – Trailer Train/TTX Auto Rack Fleet History

Railroads have been moving new automobiles ever since America began its love affair with the “horseless carriage”. This presentation provides a historical review of early vehicle shipments through development of the auto rack as we know it today. An overview also provided as to how today’s auto rack fleet is distributed by TTX company’s reload project.

Lee Rainey – Modeling Mount Union 

“The Standard Railroad of the World” meets “The Most Modern Narrow Gauge”! It happened – in Mt. Union, Pennsylvania, and with a bit of two-foot gauge thrown in for good measure! For many years, Mt. Union was the largest shipping point on the Pennsylvania Railroad’s fabled Middle Division, due on no small measure to the traffic generated by the narrow-gauge East Broad Top Railroad. Coal, brick, lumber, leather, textiles, furniture, feed and flour, grain and fresh vegetables, petroleum products, chemicals, sand and stone, and merchandise for the local grocers all passed in and out of Mt. Union on a daily basis, creating a remarkable prototype setting showcased in this clinic through period photos. You’ll also see the track plan for the Mt. Union S/Sn3 switching layout now under construction in my basement. And the two-foot gauge? Come to the clinic to find out!

Ramon Rhodes – The Santa Fe Railway in Chicago

We will take a look at the Santa Fe railway’s operations in the Chicago area during the time of transition. Santa Fe passenger service is being replaced by Amtrak, Dearborn station is being closed, and all facilities associated with the streamlined passenger fleet are being demolished. The railroad is embarking on a modernization program that will take it into the next two decades as the country’s premier freight hauler. Using hundreds of photos, maps, and charts, this fast-paced presentation will detail and highlight the Santa Fe all the way.

Jim Ruffing – Great Northern 40-foot Box Cars – All that Color!

What color scheme and lettering style was a number series delivered in? What color schemes and lettering styles appeared on a given number series over time? What color schemes and lettering styles are appropriate for a given era? What models are accurate in these regards?

Jim Sacco – The Modernization of Main Street and How It Affects Our Modeling

Almost every city and town was affected by the movement to modernize main street that took place during the 1930s. So if you model anywhere between the 1930s and the present, you should know what it was, how it changed the look of American architecture, and its effects on our model railroads. You’ll never look at some buildings the same way again.

Gene Schaeffer - The Montour Railroad

A slide presentation of the Montour Railroad in color.

Mike Schleigh – More WAG tales

A brief photo study of the Buffalo & Susquehanna, the following 24 years of B&O operation, and the WAG that concluded the life of the road. Special focus is made of the Galeton terminal and Wellsville line. Many modeling and operation features are presented.

Neal Schorr – Line Poles and Pole Lines

Line poles, more commonly referred to as telegraph or telephone poles, were found along almost all mainline railroads through at least the 1980’s. Some are still in use today. The collective assemblage of line poles, wires, and right of way upon which they were built is known as the pole line. This clinic looks at how prototype line poles were built and how they were installed on the pole line. The clinic will then turn its attention to how to accurately model them on your layout using commercially available kits in several scales. Neal’s work on this subject as well as his layout depicting the Middle Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad recently appeared in Model Railroad Planning 2017.

Mike Shylanski – Evans Coil Steel Cars: Cocoons, Clamshells and Breadboxes

This presentation gives a brief history of the Evans products company and their rail operations, but will focus on the company’s efforts to produce freight cars for hauling coiled steel. the unique Evans experimental cars with cocooned skids and clamshell covers will be shown. Evans highly successful DFC cushioned coil cars will be talked about in some detail. Also discussed will be the doomed Evans effort to produce “breadbox” coil gondolas for the P&LE and B&LE. Available HO and N models of some of the Evans coil cars will be illustrated.

Darrall Swift - Clinic 1 – Under the Big Stack

An hour long DVD that gives a brief history of the Anaconda Mining Company, and the story of Anaconda’s Great Falls smelter in Great Falls, Montana.

Darrall Swift – Clinic 2 – Why I chose to model the Burlington Northern and Milwaukee Road in north central Montana

Set in Aug/Sept of 1979, from the city of Great Falls to the city of Shelby as well as the Burlington Northern and Milwaukee Road branch lines that extended out into the open prairies northwest of Great Falls.

Mont Switzer – A complete review of the Monon 40-foot steel boxcar fleet

Chip Syme – Conrail Through the Eyes of an Employee

It is a program of continuous improvements as track, structures and equipment 1976-1999. Chip hired in 1969 in Collinwood, worked Minerva, Canton, Crestline and Conway. He retired after 40 years.

E. Roy Ward – Pennsylvania Railroad Southwest Branch

A photo journey of what remained of this once busy branch in the 1970's and 1980's

John Wesner - Prototype Freelancing

Closely following a prototype when you design and build your model railroad has a lot of rewards. Consistency is provided for exactly what existed in relationship to locomotives, cars, structures and the surrounding world (there are photos). The map has even been drawn for you. If you have chosen a prototype that is familiar to you, your model will most likely provide you with lots of warm feelings. On the other hand, pure freelancing opens up other opportunities. One clear advantage is that when you see something that appeals to you, be it a model or a prototype, you can include it in your empire. This goes for rolling stock, buildings, and even automobiles. It’ll be all yours. What about a mixture, bringing together some of the things you like best about your favorite prototype, with ideas of your own? This presentation considers some of the trade-offs, as the Clinician discusses his own Proto-Freelance layout.

Dave Wilson – Scratch-building the Prototype that You Need

Covering structures, locomotives and freight cars.

Bob Zeolla – Conrail’s Conemaugh Line – Big time railroading in a small space!

The Conemaugh line represents a portion on Conrail’s operation in Western Pennsylvania diverging from Conrail’s Pittsburgh line at Conpit Junction near Johnstown, and rejoining Conrail’s Ft. Wayne line in Pittsburgh. The model portion is from Kiski Yard at the confluence of the Kiskiminetas and Allegheny rivers near Freeport to Federal street in Pittsburgh. Staging extends this area eastward to Johnstown and westward to Conway Yard. Also included is the Butler branch to Butler and the Allegheny secondary to Kittanning. In addition, an interchange with the Baltimore and Ohio railroad (Chessie System) is modeled at Etna. During my session I will describe the design, construction and operations on this portion of Conrail in 1978. Click here for more information and photos.