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)

Goals For 2019

Work continues on the expansion project. With all the track for both mainlines and the two new yards completed, we turned to wiring. That began back around October, and feeder wires have been soldered to the main lines and all yard tracks. 12AWG buss wire was pulled through the benchwork below the mainlines as far as the point where the steel trestle will be placed. Feeders and buss wire need to be added under the new section of layout, and back to the yards. We hope to have that completed sometime in 2019.

Scenerywise, we hope to have the area around the waterfalls and steel trestle completed. We are also working on the donated section of layout and areas of Brandtsburg. There is an outside chance we may start getting the upper level benchwork in place above the westbound yard. Wiring switches is also in the goals, as is completing upper level and highline track in the mountains.