Pittsburgh is the major hub of the layout. The major feature is a large classification yard with tracks for other locations on the layout, the staging yards, and the various interchanges.  There is also a large engine terminal in Pittsburgh. This can be a colorful place as it is frequented by not only Pennsylvania Southern power but locomotives from connecting railroads, real and freelance.  The photo shows engines from the N&W, P&LE, and Conrail as well as the freelance Grafton and Greenbrier

Pittsburgh see the origination and termination of numerous trains during an operating session. In addition, there are several trains that stop to drop and pick up cars. All of these arrivals, departures, and block swaps are facilitated by two arrival or departure tracks between the main line and the yard. Arriving trains can sit there, out of the way, until the yard is ready to deal with them.  Departing trains can be made up and placed there pending departure. Block swaps with mainline trains can take place without interfering with other yard functions. This feature was added about two years ago only after I could figure out just how to incorporate it into the yard. It was well worth the effort.

Construction of the arrival and departure yard did lead to concern about yard length.  A visiting operator was the one who saw that the yard lead could be lengthened considerably by wrapping it around the wall above the work table.  That proved to be easy to do and was quickly done.

Pittsburgh is also a large industrial center.  Pittsburgh has about 30 feet of backdrop wall that needed some sort of industry. This need was met by lining the walls with a few large industries. Most are built from multiple Walthers kits bashed together without regard to the instruction sheets.  For example, Pittsburgh Plastics is 2 Roberts Printing kits.  West Penn Stamping is 3 Furniture Factories and 2 engine shops kits. Steel City Storage is a scratch built structure that is still in the works.  McGraw Electric is built from many Design Preservation parts. Atlas Industries is one Automobile Factory with all four walls lined up to make the building front.  Mon Valley Scrap contains a Walthers traveling crane.  The walls are made from many old boxcar and hopper car sides from scrapped cars.  Allegheny Container is made from the red brick parts of 2 Walthers Paper Mills.  The corrugated steel parts of those 2 kits form the power plant. Around at the end of the yard lead is one of the very few Walthers structures on the layout built per the plans.  Grocer Supply is the freight station.

These industries, excluding the unit coal train to the power plant, receive about 50 cars each session.  In order to handle them efficiently, there is a 3 track sub-yard that sorts these cars into the 3 switch jobs that serve the industries.  Since Pittsburgh is about 3 feet from aisle to backdrop, this sub-yard can be used to block the cars on the switch jobs to minimize switching necessary out there at armís length.  This, too, was the suggestion of a visiting operator.

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Here we see the throat of the classification yard. In the immediate foreground is the team track. Along the backdrop are the major industries in town. Note also the use of a mirror at the end of the yard to give the illusion that the yard is twice as large as it actually is.

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This view was taken from the same spot as the shot above and shows what is in the other direction. In the foreground is the intermodal yard. Behind that is the engine terminal with P&LE and Conrail units present as well as many Pennsylvania Southern locomotives. Along the backdrop is even more industry.

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This shows the yard lead extension.  We have Charlie Tapper to thank for coming up with this idea. Barely visible in the distance is the hole in the wall where the main line heads for Bridgeville.  The lead is about nine feet longer than before.  The hole in the wall will be hidden by Young and Son Machinery in honor of one of our operators. The power plant receives one unit train of coal each session.  In the far distance is Allegheny Container, a manufacturer of steel cans.

Pennsylvania Southern Railroad


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