Welcome to the Columbia & Susquehanna Model Railroad

Columbia Sunshine Located at 21 N. 2nd St in Columbia, Pa., the former Columbia Historic Preservation Society Model HO Model Railroad was given a new name-- The Columbia & Susquehanna Model Railroad. Also, with the new expansion underway, the square footage of the model railroad is now about 2200 square feet and is HO (1:87) scale. The picture above is located in the Columbia area. The Columbia area is prototypical (based on what actually existed). The time era of Columbia is 1920-1940. Columbia covers approximately 200 sq.ft. of the layout, and is home to a large roundhouse facility, a major yard, coaling and diesel facilities as well as two railroad stations (Pennsylvania RR and Reading RR).

A Brief History of the Layout

The layout started out in the basement of Jack Belsinger, a Lancaster,PA man. Being from Europe, he modeled European trains. He gave the layout to Calvin Duncan who worked to find a home for it. The layout was smaller than what it is today. In 1993, CHiPS agreed to take the layout. It was cut into pieces and stored in the unused second floor of the history museum. There, it remained untouched for five years. In 1998, work began on preparing the unused second floor, and the layout was reconstructed.

In 2000, it was decided to build an HO diorama of Columbia as it appeared in the first half of the 20th century. Since 2000, all the track was replaced, and Digital Command Control (DCC) was installed, replacing the Zero-1 System. Two foot high backdrops were constructed to isolate various scenes, and to direct visitors up and down aisles around the layout. The layout is an ongoing work in progress.

Roland Zimmerman and his family visited the layout during the open houses. He shot the video below, and added the guitar music. He gave us permission to add the video to our website.

Roland Zimmerman's Video (2013)

What's Happening as of Sept. 2018

Work continues on the expansion project. The benchwork for the mainline is complete. The entire east and westbound yard tracks are in place. Each of the four westbound yard tracks are approx. 60 ft in length. Each of the four eastbound yard tracks is approx. 25-30 ft. The track is placed across the gap where the steel trestle bridge will be placed. High mountains and waterfalls are under construction. See the photos below. Also, click on the trackplan link to see the trackplan, including the expansion. Reading Branch track on the upper level above the yards has not been determined yet, but a steel mill is part of the plan.