Welcome to CHiPS Model Railroad

Columbia Sunshine Located at 21 N. 2nd St in Columbia, Pa., the Columbia Historic Preservation Society Model HO Model Railroad covers 1000 square feet and is HO (1:87) scale. The picture above is located in the Columbia area of the layout. 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. 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 So Far in 2017

We began working on the expansion project. The benchwork is about 90% complete. Next will come plywood and masonite (for the yard) The tunnel above the hill on the corner at the center aisle is also being scenicked.

layout expansion