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Great Model Railroads By Allen Keller Vol. # 57


Volume 57 - Jim Hertzog's Reading
Jim Hertzog's Reading operates deep in the coal fields of Pennsylvania in the mid 1950s. This HO railroad runs from Shamokin to Tamaqua, Pennsylvania and interchanges with the Pennsy and the Lehigh & New England. It serves 12 coal mines and processing plants and is a way for Jim to remember watching the Reading as a child. Because of the mountains the grades are steep and require helpers. In fact the railroad revolves around these helpers.

Historic preservation is one way that Jim thinks of his Reading Lines. It's also a setting for 18 to 20 friends who run 30 trains during each monthly operating session. The layout has two staging yards and three operating yards, each with its own purpose.

The Reading was carefully designed to get the maximum use out of a 30 x 40 foot basement. That means narrow aisles and shallow scenes yet the overall plan gives operators the feel of actually traveling with their trains. Jim has captured the gritty look of Appalachian coal mining.

Jim says this railroad has broadened his outlook on the hobby as he learned to do things he didn't know he could do. Over the years he has changed and improved about one half of the railroad's 300 foot mainline as new techniques and ideas developed. He will show you how to understand a colliery, make concrete roads, weather cars and use fascia lettering. The Reading is a Great Model Railroad because Jim has found a way to re-create the grit, romance and hard work of coal mine railroading in his basement.

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