Welcome to the Columbia & Susquehanna Model Railroad

Columbia Sunshine

We have dozens of free Model Railroader and Model Railroad Craftsman magazines.

Click on the schedule to see our open house dates and times.

We've added two pages. Check out the Logan Park page and the Wharington page.

The picture above shows the Columbia area. The Columbia area is prototypical (based on what actually existed). The time era of Columbia is 1920-1950. 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.

Currently, several areas of the layout are under major construction to widen curves on the track and to make track more accessible from the aisles. Because of this, scenery and buildings needed to be removed.

Roland Zimmerman and his family visited the layout during one open house a few years back. 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 2024

  • Redesign track plans near Brandtsburg, Hinkly, the canyon and the farm
  • Add fire trucks, hoses, ladders and people details to Opera House Diorama
  • Other ongoing track and benchwork updates as needed

steel trestle

HO scale Martic Trestle photo courtesy of Ken Sherts