The tour of the Pennsylvania Southern Railroad starts at the north end in aptly named North Yard. As you can see from the photo, North Yard is a staging yard in the garage. In its original configuration it consisted of six tracks with a compound ladder that maximized track length. Each track is at least 17 feet long. The tracks are in a trough that allows sheets of acrylic plastic to be placed over them to keep the usual garage dust and dirt out. These sheets are removed for operating sessions.
The original six track yard served well until the operating group decided they wanted to see more trains including some of their own. In early 2006 the six tracks near the aisle were added. Access to the old yard was achieved by removing part of the side wall of the trough. It would appear that these new tracks are shorter than the original tracks but they extend about 18 inches past the end of the original yard. As a result, the track lengths are the same.
A 12 position two pole rotary switch and a diode matrix with 34 diodes allows easy track selection. Turning the rotary switch to the desired position activates the appropriate Tortoise switch machines. Green LEDs are wired via the contacts on the Tortoises to indicate which track is lined.
Since North Yard is separated from Pittsburgh by the thickness of a wall, Pittsburgh yard limits extend through North Yard. This eliminates the need for train orders for movements between Pittsburgh and North Yard, a real convenience for the dispatcher.