Pennsylvania Southern Railroad

State Line Yard

State Line Yard is the southern end of the layout. Physically, it resides 8 inches below Pittsburgh but it is about 80 miles away by rail.  This yard wraps around two sides of the room. The main line comes through the wall from Waynesburg and divides into 5 tracks.  These tracks then go around a 90 degree corner and branch to 11 tracks.  The longest tracks are about 17 feet long while the shorter tracks are about 16 feet long.  This track arrangement has an advantage that was not recognized when it was designed.  Consider any pair of tracks such as 1 and 2.  Both are about 16 feet long.  If, however, a train has already terminated in track 1, then there is no need to avoid fouling the switch between the two tracks.  This means a very long train can now arrive in track 2. A very attentive dispatcher will keep this in mind and use it to full advantage late in the session.

As with North Yard, all switches are powered.  Their controls are a diode matrix system and one rotary switch that allows the operator to dial the desired track.

Access to some of these tracks can be tricky.  Fortunately, the layout is against a set of alcoves formed around structural supports for the house.  These alcoves are small but I can fit in there to tend to maintenance issues that arise from time to time.

Look for an article about the project that led to the redesign of this staging yard to its current configuration in an upcoming issue of the Layout Design Journal published by the Layout Design Special Interest Group.  Learn more at

WEINYARD photo4 090902

Here we see the first yard ladder. The track has come through the wall from Waynesburg. The points of the first of the four switches is under the camera. Clearance in here was tight! Visible are the tracks heading off into the curve that will align them with the staging tracks.

WEINYARD photo5 090902

This picture shows the five tracks rounding the corner.  The radius of each curve is about 30 inches.  They are not concentric. Each track is offset form the ones on either side eliminating the need to tighten the radius on the tracks close to the aisle. It is still an impossible reach without the assistance of tools in the rare instance when trouble strikes on that back track!

WEINYARD photo1 090902

Here you can many of the eleven staging tracks.  You can also see how each of the tracks rounding the curve then splits into two or more tracks. That long lead between the first group of switches and the group in this picture is what gives this staging yard great flexibility. The yellow cards in the locomotive hand rails are instruction cards that tell the operator the origin, destination, and en route work for the train.

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