Like nearly all models built in the UK, our HO model of Mauch Chunk, PA is built on portable baseboards. We have mounted these on removable legs to make it easier to transport to Model Railway Exhibitions. See the progress, exhibition (and project – on the old site) pages for photos and modelling activity.
We got into modeling the CNJ because Eugene Mones, an ex-work colleague of mine (in Unilever / Lever Bros.), who I knew from trips to Edgwater, NJ, retired to live with his daughter near Jim Thorpe and I visited him there in 1996. We in turn visited old Mauch Chunk and I took some photos and bought some postcards. Six years later when our group at the Merseyside Model Railway Society in the UK were looking for a new modeling project, I suggested Mauch Chunk as the scenery is ideal for a model. At that stage we thought it was LV, but being CNJ has proved even more interesting with unusual stock like camelbacks and double enders. Two of the other MMRS modellers have since then visited Jim Thorpe on vacations. Tragically, Eugene Mones passed away in August 2014.
There has been very little compression in the central part of the Track Plan and so the model closely resembles the prototype. All buildings have been scratch built to resemble the prototypes as closely as possible. Go to the Mauch Chunk Buildings page to access HO-scale plans of the buildings. We have now made a substantial collection of representative locomotives – including eight camelbacks – and other stock that would have been operating in the 1940s and 1950s on the CNJ in Mauch Chunk, PA.
We built to the standard NMRA wheel profile but used Peco code 75 track with handbuilt turnouts on the scenic section – operation uses DCC (now Lenz). MERG and other control boards and computer control (Big Bear software) for turnouts.
Phase 2; Spring 2013 to Summer 2016: Doug, Gordon and I (at the Merseyside MRS clubrooms) embarked on an expansion plan in 2013 to put in a new staging yard with twice as many roads, longer turnouts and larger radius end curves that took all our rolling stock – including double-enders pulling passenger cars! Sadly because of a cancellation of an exhibition invite the layout was never exhibited in this format but was run extensively in the clubrooms.
Phase 3; Autumn 2016 to end 2019: The staging yard was left at the Merseyside Model Railway Society for a new HO layout. A replacement staging yard, new lighting, new scenic turnouts and other scenic extensions and improvements have been built to a high standard at the Barrowmore Model Railway Group by Richard, Gavin, Mike, Gareth, Phil, Dave and I. Further improvements were made to the scenic boards including new trackwork and working signals to make it even more like the prototype. The layout attended four exhibitions and won two awards before COVID lockdowns caused an 18 month hiatus.
Phase 4; August 2021 on: The layout has now followed me to the East Riding of Yorkshire. After a brief period in storage it will be moved to my home where it will be worked on – in parts – in my new hobby room. The East Riding Finescale Modellers will be helping including Neil and Jeff. The focus will be on finishing and improving the scenery on the front boards and on making the brass steam locos more reliable. [Note: sadly this didn’t happen as we realised lack of space made it impossible to get the layout out for exhibitions]
Phase 3 reprise; September 2023 on: Mauch Chunk is back at the Barrowmore Model Railway Group clubrooms and will be going out again to exhibitions shortly.
Steve – October 2023