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Layouts in the New Jersey Division

Everyone loves to visit layouts, and in the New Jersey Division we have some great ones!

The gallery below showcases many of our fine layouts. Most are open at one point or another throughout the year, for Division Meets or during other open house events. In 2002 and 2010, dozens of layouts were opened during the Division’s hosting of the MER Fall Conventions, Cherry Hill Depot and Princeton Junction. And in 2006, many layouts were in the national spotlight when they were open for the NMRA National Convention, Independence Junction ’06.

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Ralph DeBlasi is modeling the Lehigh Valley in Northeastern PA during the 1970s. His HO scale layout features well detailed and weathered equipment and hosts regular operating sessions. The layout is controlled by CTC with an impressive dispatchers panel, and features working signals as trains travel throughout the gorgeous scenery. The layout is open during Division Meets in Woodbury and Deptford area.

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Arnold Kimmons has a layout in progress that features a small free-lanced railroad in the early 1950s. His Royal and Edisto RR in HO scale is set in South Carolina and is co-owned by the Southern and ACL. He has an 11 x 18 room and has fully completed an area that features the interchange with the Southern. He plans to continue building through to a small town and feature coastal scenes along the way. The layout is open during our January Division Meets in Haddon Twp.

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Jim Homoki has a fine home layout depicting the early years of the Penn Central. The Newark Terminal RR  features the PC as well as the CNJ in the early 1970s in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. On the left a GP40 powered PC train passes the Machton shelter still in PRR standard colors. On the right, a CNJ train powered by RS3s emerges from a tunnel in northwestern New Jersey. The layout is open during our March Division Meets in Hamilton Twp.

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John Rahenkamp holds regular operating sessions on his “big” layout (see July 2003 MR article). John models the transition era and his layout travels from the coast of NJ (Bayview, Croxton, Jersey City), into PA (Easton) and on through to the coal fields of PA (Lehighton, Tamaqua). John scratchbuilds many of the structures on his layout (see July 2000 RMC). His layout operates with Digitrax DCC. The layout has been recently expanded to another section of the basement. You can see more of John’s layout during our Delanco Division Meets.

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Mike McNamara served as the Superintendent for the NJ Division 1998-2009. He also edits the NJ Division web site. Mike’s layout features the railroads of Northern New England, an area also known as the Northeast Kingdom (upper VT and NH). The layout is set in the late 1970s and features the Maine Central, Canadian Pacific, Lamoille Valley, Boston & Maine and Central Vermont. The layout features the rail lines that radiate out of St. Johnsbury, VT, across VT to the west and into NH in the east. Control is provided by Digitrax DCC. More info can be found on Mike’s web site and blog, and you can visit the layout during our Delanco Division Meets.

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NJ Free-mo is a recent upstart modular group. Started by Mike McNamara with a module in 2009, the informal group follows the standard. Modules from various NJ Division members are in progress and have been displayed at NJ Division Meets. More information can be found at the web site

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Thom Radice models a time period not often seen, the 1800‘s. His Western & Atlantic Railroad North Branch models a 136 mile railroad between Chattanooga TN and Atlanta GA during the Civil War. The layout was featured in the October 2009 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman magazine. More info and photos from the layout can be found on Thom’s web site. Thom’s layout is usually open during our Toms River or Forked River Division Meets.

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PJ Mattson MMR has a large layout and conducts regular operating sessions. PJ’s Raccoon Valley Railroad features mountain scenery, tall bridges, active yards, a large CTC panel, and many structures. A web site has more information and photos of PJ’s layout. The layout, featured in the December 2005 issue of Model Railroading, is usually open during our Swedesboro or Deptford Division Meets.

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New Jersey Southern N-Trak is South Jersey’s N-Trak club. They build and operate N-Trak modules using NMRA standards. The group participates in 5 to 8 shows a year and has been set up at our recent January Division Meets (above photos from January 2006 Division Meet in Haddon Twp.). NJS members usually meet at member’s homes on Thursday nights to work on their modules. More info can be found on their web site.

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The Cape May Model Trains group is building 5 layouts in multiple scales in a large, renovated warehouse space. The group charges admission and is only open at certain times. More info can be found on their web site.

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Dr. Charles Patti is one of the few NJ Division Members to model in O scale narrow gauge. His Winged Foot & Western RR is one of the Division’s real gems. His layout is fully sceniced and highly detailed. The layout features a western logging them set in the early 1900’s. His layout was in Great Model Railroads 2000 and was featured in a DVD on Model Railroad Logging. Doc’s layout is open during our Haddon Twp. Division Meets in January.

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Mert Gardner models the Denver & Rio Grande Western RR in his basement and also has a Garden Layout in his back yard. Mert served as NJ Division Superintendent 7 years between 1989 and 1997. The layout features spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery, with some peaks towering way overhead. The recently expanded layout hosts regular operating sessions. Mert’s layout is open during our Haddon Twp. Division Meets in January and his Garden Railroad is open in June.

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Bob Hubbard’s Bangor & Navasink RR is packed into his basement and features more layout than you would think is possible in his available space. This is partially accomplished by using the vertical space available. The layout also features lots of interesting scratchbuilt structures. Bob draws on his background in engineering to develop buildings and bridges that you just won’t see on any other layout (except for those structures he has built for others in the Division!). Bob’s layout is open during our Haddon Twp. Division Meets in January.

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Mike Prokop has a large 25’ x 35’ layout set in northern New Jersey. The freelanced New Jersey & Western features steam and diesel with sound controlled by DCC. The layout is spread across two levels and has interchanges with many northeastern railroads such as the PRR and RDG. You’ll see long passenger trains, and big freights traveling through finished scenery and highly detailed towns. Mike’s layout is open during our Hamilton Twp. Division Meets in March.

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Chuck Weitzel has a large basement layout He started in January of 2003. The layout has lots of trains controlled by DCC. Scenery has been completed on much of the layout. Chuck’s layout, located in Tabernacle, is usually open during our Haddon Twp. Division Meets in January.

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Joe Calderone features the Delaware & Hudson on his nice 19 x 22 home layout. The layout is controlled by Digitrax DCC and features many fine scratchbuilt and craftsman style structures. Joe hold regular operating sessions and uses a car card and waybill system. Joe’s layout, located just north of the NJ Division boundary in Monmouth, is usually open during our Hamilton Twp. Division Meets in March.

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Chris Conaway models the Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1950s. Here a PRR double track main crosses the Reading railroad. Chris usually opens his layout up for Division members during the January Division Meet.

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Bob Clegg moved into a new home a few years ago and is now retired, giving him time serve as the Clinkers newsletter editor and take over the Superintendent’s duties. He also has started building a new layout featuring the Erie’s Southern Tier across southern New York state, with a double track mainline controlled by semaphore signals. The HO layout has all benchwork completed and all mainline track in place. The layout was opened for the first time to the Division during our Buena Meet in May 2009. Since these photos were taken, Bob has started a rebuild of his layout.

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Steve Moylan is building a large railroad which features the Pennsylvania Railroad traveling through cities, the country and the mountains. Also featured is a narrow gauge line representing the East Broad Top. Steve’s HO layout features lots of trains and uses DCC with sound. Started just a few years ago, the layout has really progressed quickly with the help of a dedicated building and operating crew. Steve opens his layout for us at the Deptford Division Meets.

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Dick Kitz moved to a new home a few years ago and and brought his HO layout with him. He has reconstructed it and it is looking very good as these photos show you. His layout features a western theme with tall pines and mining operations. The era is early transition with plenty of steam locomotives. The layout is open during our January Division Meets in Haddon Twp.

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Ray Notaro of Berlin has a layout about 22’ x 6’ that includes a 4’ x 6’ carnival section as pictured above. The carnival features 25 operating amusement rides including a monorail, carnival train ride, a volcano, music and fireworks. Many are scratchbuilt while others are converted from toys. Plans are to add a roller coaster to this highly animated display.

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Rick Bickmore of Moorestown has an HO layout that represents a short segment of PRR mainline through Harrisburg PA. The main focal point is the large steel mill and all of the operations around it. Rick’s layout features a large staging yard to handle all of the through trains as well as local industries, a clasification yard and a branchline to service customers “up the hill”. Rick’s layout is open for various Meets as well as Regional Conventions.

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Rick & Linda Spano’s N scale layout, the Sceniced & Undecided, is fairly well known in N scale circles and also for it’s use of animation, which Rick has written about in Model Railroader magazine. The layout was also featured in Great Model Railroads in 1999. The large layout features long trains passing through the Canadian Rockies, an operating rotary coal dumper with live loads, a sea port on the banks of a large city, special lighting and sound effects and much more. Rick and Linda open their layout for us at Trenton/Hamilton Twp. Division Meets, usually in March.

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Bob Price had a layout that was multi-deck and features]d a large helix. The layout was set in the Pacific Northwest during the time of the Burlington Northern in the 1970s and 1980s and was powered by Digitrax DCC. The layout was built for operations and featured a dispatchers desk, CTC board and camera view of hidden staging. Bob moved in 2014 and plans a bigger and better BN layout that will be open during our Haddon Twp. Division Meets in January, once he gets construction going.

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Jake Evaul of Woodbury had a very large layout covering multiple rooms in his house. The layout, the Camden & South Jersey, featured scenes based on South Jersey. Jake held regular operating sessions and opened his layout for our Division during the Deptford Meets. Jake’s layout was dismantled in late 2012.

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Dick Genthner MMR relocated to New Jersey and brought along parts of his layout, the Arpee & Western. Dick, a Master Model Railroader, immediately started hosting operating sessions on his in-progress layout, being built into an area of 75’ x 18’! The layout was dismantled in April of 2012 when Dick moved to a new residence, but he has since started a new layout.

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Carl Corsi served as a Director for the NJ Division 1998-2009. He also had a fine layout in his basement. Carl’s layout featured the Pennsylvania Railroad. Carl used NCE DCC and ran both steam and diesel in the early 1950’s. On the left, a flagman holds up traffic as a PRR freight blasts through town. On the right, a PRR freight is ready to depart the yard and head out onto the main. Carl moved to Florida in 2010 and his layout was dismantled at that time.

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Dave Skinner MMR had a beautifully constructed and detailed layout called the Kade RR. Dave’s layout featured handlaid track, scratchbuilt structures and smooth running locomotives - everything you’d expect from a Master Model Railroader’s layout. The layout used Digitrax DCC and was operated regularly by the South Jersey Friday Night Operators. Dave, who as mentioned is a Master Model Railroader, has a web site for his layout where you can get more information and pictures. Dave’s layout was dismantled in late 2012.

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Tom Brown had a very nice layout that has also changed themes. Previously Tom modeled the PRR and it’s successors by doing an era shift every month for his operating sessions. So he moved from PRR steam to diesel, then Penn Central, and into Conrail. Part of the changeover included different structures and details. Tom regularly hosted op sessions and was a pioneer in bringing ops to South Jersey. A few years ago Tom reworked his layout and focused on a New England theme, while still keeping the rolling timeline. Sadly Tom passed away and the layout has been dismantled.

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