Marysville Photo Gallery

Above: A Conrail freight passes by the Centennial Modules outlet factory on Dan Delany's Marysville, PA, module. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins


As with many modules, Marysville grew out of an operational need, as well as a desire to visually connect two portions of our club's layout with common scenic elements. The Marysville module is positioned between Jim Spavins' Rockville Bridge Module set, and the Delany Yard, built by myself and my father Jim. Since it forms the scenic and functional connection between Rockville Bridge and a large yard complex, the name Marysville was chosen. Marysville, PA is actually located on the south bank of the Susquehanna River, where the end of the real Rockville Bridge makes landfall. Just east of Marysville is Enola, PA, which is home to the massive ex-Pennsylvania Railroad Enola Classification Yard. Although the module is not patterned after the real town of Marysville, PA, its location in our the layout closely mimics the real town’s function where the yard leads from Enola merge into the Ex-Pennsylvania Railroad Middle Division.

The most important function of the Marysville module is the crossovers which allow access to the DeLany Yard Lead (the third, inner track) from both mainline tracks. Here incoming trains can enter the yard from the inside track by crossing to the yard lead, and outbound trains can make the crossover from the yard lead to the outside mainline track. The yard lead also gives this end of the yard headroom for switching and run around moves. This third track continues across Rockville Bridge, and connects to Stu Dom’s Pennsy Yard. This allows for even more operational flexibility, with numerous yard transfers and light power moves between the two yards taking place on this track, without interfering with main line operations. Marysville is one busy place during a display!

Marysville was designed as a 6’ by 30” module to accommodate the two crossovers as well as room for a reasonable amount of straight track at each end of the module. The mainline tracks, as well as the yard lead are all code 100 flextrack, and the switches are Peco code 100 long radius turnouts. I prefer the long radii on any mainline switches because I run a lot of modern equipment, and the smoother transition of a long radius switch really helps to minimize derailments. The switches themselves are controlled by Tortoise switch motors. The final switch off the outside mainline leads to a fictitious diverging line. This line runs off the module, and it would be possible to connect it to a branch line in the future. For the purposes of safety, this switch is currently spiked in place and cannot be thrown, so nothing ends up on the floor!

The scenery on the Marysville module was designed to fit its location between the DeLany Yard and Rockville Bridge. Since the track on our modular layout is dead flat, I always try to manipulate the scenery to give the illusion of grade change. As is common practice with modular layouts and home layouts, the trick is to make it look like the railroad runs through the scene, not as though the scene was built around the railroad. I try to use vertical scenery and structures as much as possible, including positive (hills) and negative (cuts, streams,etc) topography which suggest we’re not building a layout on a tabletop. In this case, the module is bisected by a highway bridge. This is a Rix Products highway bridge, with Chooch stone piers. This visually breaks up the module, and suggests the hills on the module are part of a larger landscape. Also, just after the bridge makes landfall, a road heads down the back of the module towards the right, to connect to the Delany Yard Module. This road is the driveway leading to the Autorack unloading facility at the end of the DeLany Yard Module. Off of this road is the driveway to the Maryville Modules primary industry, the large warehouse on the left side of the module. The model is Great Western Models Kit, and was modified slightly to fit the space available. The warehouse is set 1” above track level, and has retaining walls separating it from the rear of the module, and the highway which passes overhead. This gives the illusion that the warehouse site was cut into the hillside, right next to the tracks. A small hill is also present on the outside edge of the module, to lend to the illusion that the tracks are cutting through the area. The left edge of the module meets up with Jim’s Rockville Bridge Module, which has a wooded area adjacent to Marysville. I added some trees to help hide the joint between the modules, and visually ease the transition.

On the right side of the module, the area slopes towards the tracks, and a small stream runs under the tracks, creating some negative topography. Also tucked in between the road and the site driveway is a model of a storm water detention basin. Being a Civil Engineer by trade, I thought this would be a fun detail to add! The outlet from the pond ties into the aforementioned stream, before it runs under the tracks. The final structure on the module is a classic Pennsylvania position light signal bridge to protect the crossovers.

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Module at a Glance

Scale: HO Scale
Size: 2.5'x6'
Number of Sections: 1
Builder: Dan Delany
Type: Straight
Mainline Tracks: 3
Years Constructed: 2005
Era: 2000s
Features: Factory, Detention Basin
Status: Active