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Great Model Railroads By Allen Keller Vol. # 66
Volume 66 - David Holl's Penn Valley
There are two things to remember about the HO scale Penn Valley of David Holl. First it has helper service on Summit Mountain. And second it's fully signaled. Both are important to David because he wanted a railroad that would be fun to operate. The automatic block signal system took a full year to install. David started the Penn Valley in 2001 and finished it in 2003 with the help of 6 friends.
The line runs from Allentown to Erie, Pennsylvania in 1957 and hauls a lot of coal and auto parts. It interchanges with the New York Central, the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Lehigh Valley Railroad and a branchline called the East Eiser & Rocky Bottom. All of this action is contained in a 36 x 46 foot basement.
While this is David's fourth railroad, it represents the fulfillment of the layout he envisioned when he started, and reminds him of his childhood in the 1950s. It's a point to point walk-in style layout that offers operators the feeling of actually traveling.
David enjoys doing scenery and does what he calls modeling reality. He builds the scenery before he installs the handlaid track. This approach gives the feeling of grading the roadbed on real terrain.
David and a friend will show you how to make a hand-operated switch throw, paint a backdrop, develop a schedule and modify kits. The Penn Valley was featured in the Oct. 2008 MR.
The Penn Valley is a Great Model Railroad because David has given life to his vision of mountain railroading with helper service, tunnels and steep grades.
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