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

Wiring for the new expansion is completed. We added a new Digitrax booster to the expansion, and wired loconet to the expansion. We wanted the option of running both mainlines either onto the expansion, or on the current routes. This meant constructing a large interlocking at the place where the expansion track begins. Rick Gantz, Ken Duke, Chris Cohan and Brian Brandt finished this the following Sunday.

On April 7, 2019 we ran two test runs on the expansion. Here are links to You Tube videos of those tests. One is Rick's UP BigBoy, one of the longer locomotives on the layout. The other is Ken running one of his 60+ car freights.

Where No Train Has Hone Before

BigBoy Runs the Expansion

Scenerywise, we hope to have the area around the waterfalls and steel trestle completed soon. 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.

steel trestle

steel trestle