Railroad Prototype Modelers Valley Forge

March 22 to 24, 2024

Operating Sessions

Mark Wallace     Contact Operations Committee

We are planning several operating sessions prior to the start of the Meet on Friday afternoon 5PM registration opens. 

Sessions are filling up rapidly. Sign up now to reserve a slot for the RR of your choice.

Signing up

You need to send me, Mark Wallace, indicating your choices (1st, 2d, 3d, Thursday evening or Friday morning/afternoon). First come, first served—in the case of over-subscription, I’ll keep a wait-list. In the (remote) event we don’t get enough sign-ups we may consolidate sessions. If you do sign up and find you can’t attend, let me know ASAP, so I can fill the slot.

Thursday Evening:

All operators to the Thursday Evening session have been contacted and should proceed directly to the session.

Friday Morning

Meet in the lobby of the Desmond between 745AM and 845 AM.


(1) make sure everyone has a ride. 

(2) pass out directions if needed. 

(3) in the event of no-shows, fill any available slots with those who would like to participate. 

Once these preliminaries are taken care of, we will shove off for the Layouts, which are about 4 to 10 miles from the hotel. Sessions will last about 3 hours. 

If there are any changes we’ll put the information on this website. I’ll provide email addresses to the individual layout owners later. 


We will have four or more operating sessions with total 70 slots available to accommodate the number of operators who signed up. So sign up now.

Thursday Evening: 7PM to 10PM

 Steve Salotti’s NYS&W: Full

Friday Morning: 9AM to 1230PM

These are some hosts who have graciously expressed interest in hosting operating sessions. Realize that between now and March 2024, things may change.

                                                   Bob Zeolla  

            Earl Paine                                                Greg Shindledecker 

Ops Session Railroad Descriptions

For layout photos, see Layout Tour page.

All ops sessions are full!

All who have signed up, Have a great session!

Thursday Night

Steve Salotti - 

Steve's 300 ft. main line layout is based on the New York Susquehanna & Western in 1949. The moderately large double deck layout represents portions of the line from Edgewater and Jersey City west to the interchange with the Lehigh & New England at Hainesburg Jct. All major interchanges are included, and the computerized freight forwarding system seeks to duplicate the actual traffic patterns for the period modeled. Many of the freight and passenger cars are detailed resin and plastic kits and the proportion is being adjusted to represent actual proportions as new information comes to light. All major track work is complete and scenery is well under way. Timetable & Train Order is used for train control, with phones for communication to the Dispatcher. Control is by Digitrax (simplex only) and WiFi Throttle. If you have your own throttle it would be helpful to bring it.

Train Dispatching system:    Timetable operations (TT&TO). Bring FRS radio with headset.

Car Forwarding method:       Switchlists.

Layout control system:           Digitrax DCC.  Please bring Digitrax throttles if you have them. 

                                                            Digitrax Simplex Radio only. WiFi throttles or phones.

Friday Sessions

Bob Zeolla

Representing a portion of 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 modeled portion is from Avonmore to Pittsburgh. Staging extends this area eastward to Johnstown and westward to Conway Yard. The modeled time period is 1978. The hub of operations during this period on the Conemaugh is Kiski Yard. Secondary yards along the line are at Etna and West Tarentum. Operations include through and local freights, unit mineral trains, and branch line and steel mill switching. The layout features fully functioning virtual signals and CTC dispatcher control using JMRI PanelPro.

Train Dispatching system:    Sequence operation with dispatching, 

                                                            FRS radios with headset required.

Car Forwarding method:       Car Cards/Waybills.

Layout control system:           Digitrax DCC.  Please bring Digitrax throttles if you have them 

                                                            (Duplex & Simplex Radio) plus WiThrottle, Engine Driver or any 

                                                            WiFi throttles or phones.

 Earl Paine

Representing the Reading Railroad's mainline along the Schuylkill River between Philadelphia and Reading in the early 1970's leading up to the Conrail merger. The modeled portion extends from Falls Yard through to Abrams Yard west through Phoenixville, Royersford, Pottstown, Stowe Yard, Monocacy, Birdsboro where the line diverges to the Belt line/Turkey Path and the Main line thru to Reading Yard. Operations involve heavy freight trains performing industrial switching with some commuter passenger trains. The section modeled was yard limits over half modeled distance in its day, that allows for interesting operating situations for general freight, coal, cement, steel and industrial switching.

Train Dispatching system:     Sequential operation with verbal dispatching. 

                                                          Bring FRS radios with headset.

Car Forwarding method:        Car Cards.

Layout control system:            Digitrax DCC.  Please bring Digitrax throttles if you have them. 

                                                             Duplex & Simplex Radio, WiFi throttles or phones.

Greg & Angel Shindledecker's Western Maryland, Thomas Subdivision in the mid-‘70s.

Based on the WM’s Thomas Subdivision extending along the upper Potomac Valley into West Virginia during the years after the merger into the Chessie system, the segment modeled is from just west of 21st Bridge (east of McCool, MD) to Elkins, WV. Two large staging yards represent points east - Cumberland/Knobmount, MD and beyond; the other being coal branches radiating from Elkins to Durbin, Webster Springs, Dailey and Belington. In between lies the Blackwater Canyon, in which the famed Black Fork Grade required multiple helpers on almost all trains moving coal eastbound.  Combinations of power using WM, B&O and the early Chessie schemes are seen. Online industries include coal load outs and mines, pulpwood and wood chip loading, the Westvaco paper mill at Luke, MD, coal-powered electric generation at Mt. Storm, a tannery, a Kingsford Charcoal plant and car shops for maintenance and repair at Elkins. Railroad is dark but dispatched using manual block signaling unique to the prototype.

Train Dispatching system:    Dispatcher authorized utilizing WM style manual signaling.
Bring FRS radio with headset.

Car Forwarding method:       Car cards.

Layout control system:           NCE DCC.  NCE throttles are available, but feel free to bring a NCE 

                                                            throttle if you have one. Wifi throttles and phones with appropriate app

                                                            can join. 

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