Manheim: the questions

I added a tab, in the header, to group all the Manheim posts together–anything I post to the Manheim Industrial Railroad category will appear listed under there. I think that’s cool and it should be handy since I reread these posts so Chris From Five Minutes Ago can remind Present Day Chris how we got to Here. It is my intention to model the railroad as respectfully as I can so that means I need to do this accurately, as much as possible. That’s going to be good for me since I have a lot of experience gluing sheets of foam together and building model railroad track but little experience beyond those phases. I don’t want to deviate from the elegant plan of the railroad so have no intention of adding alternate traffic sources or steam excursions–just tank cars rambling across 1.34 miles of suburbia. I am, as already confessed, comfortable imagining the railroad in another place though but that really only affects the one locomotive on the property on the day I am operating the layout so maybe an RSC14 but likely this means that we could have rented a CN GP40-2w for this season. Because that new tab is actually a link to a dedicated page for this project I’m going to use it to gather questions that I would like to resolve as part of this planning phase. Part of modelling this respectfully is getting it right, as much as possible, on those few details waiting to be modelled. Those questions naturally flow from these blog posts and the always enjoyable conversations we have so grouping them in a list just works with the way I’m wired. As resolutions are determined I can move things from questions to answers. I can even start to include details of the layout itself but, that’s a long way off, so that’s work for Future Chris.


The prototype has hosted three locomotives so far:

  • East Penn Railways #7874
  • Former Middleton & New Jersey Railway #2
  • Trackmobile

I’d like to move those three engines onto a timeline. That’s not hard work beyond just starting with some start and end dates for when each appeared on the property. When the railway opened they used a Trackmobile to move cars, which was in turn replaced with the 44 tonner that died in service so was joined with 7874 which I believe is still there today. It sounds like the 44 tonner is unlikely to ever run again though it is still coupled to 7874 so it at least moves and even looks like a leader on the trips up to Ferrellgas.

Rail weight or size

The crisp aerial photos from Bing or Google are going to be useful for tie spacing and even their colour-ish. I think I can comfortably estimate the rail height as a proportion of the ties and I will be able to live a happy and fulfilled life with a guess here since I’m not going to start rolling my own rail just to be absolutely correct. I think this question is really just trivia and if I was ever lucky enough to actually go visit the railroad I could answer it with five seconds and a tape measure. Until then, if I do this in HO I’ll use code 70 or in N code 40 and so on.


Comments from the East Penn Railway group on Facebook imply that the railroad receives loaded cars from Norfolk Southern on the west leg of the wye in Manheim and discards the empties on the east leg. The siding at Ferrellgas is below the mainline. I can’t see a derail on the Ferrellgas siding but maybe that’s just too tiny to see in the aerial photos. I’ll keep studying the photos I’ve collected.


In the photos I have I can see where a switchstand should be, on the Ferrellgas siding but I can’t see what kind they have. I assume this means they have a groundthrow.

I know there are more questions and I’ll work through them in the time to come. There’s no rush.

Categories: Manheim Industrial Railroad, Manheim questions, model railway design

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