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Great Model Railroads By Allen Keller Vol. # 53


Volume 53 - Conrail New Jersey Division
The Conrail New Jersey Division of Matt Snell and Debie Baker packs a lot of railroad into a 40 x 24 foot basement. The HO railroad is based on lines that Matt discovered and explored when he was a young railfan. Matt and Debie have captured the look and the gritty feel of the areas around Newark, the Northeast Corridor, the chemical plants and the high-speed commuter lines.

In addition to Conrail you'll see trains from Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Susquehanna. The railroad is run much like the prototype in every possible way. Matt and Debie follow the Northeast Operating Rules that the railroads of New Jersey use. The layout is controlled by signals and dispatchers and runs with different schedules for day and night.

Heavy traffic is one hallmark of New Jersey railroading. An active staging yard is one way to accomplish that. The yard is really a fiddle yard where locomotives and complete consists are changed out during an operating session rather than in between sessions. The layout was built by Matt and Debie alone in 6 years because they wanted to be able to repair anything that broke. Learning the skills for this has added to their enjoyment of the hobby.

Matt will show you how to use make-up to weather equipment, add sound, make signs, create a timetable and detail diesels. The Conrail New Jersey Division is a Great Model Railroad because Matt and Debie have found a way to re-create the gritty feel of big time New Jersey railroading in their basement.

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