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June 2001 - Page 40

At sunset, we witness several trains traversing Horseshoe Curve. Altoona Reservoir is built on a door, which drops down to the left for access. Pistons ease its descent.


ost modelers choose to duplicate their favorite prototype railroad by using specific locomotives and rolling stock, but r unning through imagined scenes. A few copy actual prototype buildings but fail to follow actual twists and turns of specific t rack arrangements. But for a few mod elers, duplicating scenery, track, buildings, rolling stock and locomotives is the chal lenge they excel at. One such individual is Lloyd Larson. His duplication of the famous Pennsylvania Railroads Horseshoe Curve in western Pennsylvania is an outstanding example of the prototype modelers art form. A modeler since the late 1960s, Lloyd e njoyed modeling the logging practices of the Northern Pacific in the Northwest. This HO-scale layout was in a garage environment and was completely freelanced. H owever, by the late 1970s, family and a growing business forced the end of his model railroading. Then after his four sons left home and the business became established, model railroading again took hold. The hobby had changed drastically in those intervening years, with more emphasis on prototype modeling and many more methods a nd materials available for scenery (like foam instead of lichen).

After building a large addition to their home (including a basement), a large space became available for a layout. Lloyd had also recently acquired one of Don Balls early color books on the Pennsylvania Railroad. After seeing the vast variety of motive power the Pennsy used, Lloyd was hooked on the PRR. So the die was cast to fill that large vacant space with an HO-scale Pennsy layout. But a freelanced Pennsy would just n ot do, only a duplication of Horseshoe Curve (the railroads most well known feature) would give justice to that variety.

The Layout
The layout matches well the many curves, scenes and buildings of the region around the Curve. The grades follow the 11/2% of the real trackage arrangements. Of course, the mainline is four-track, which p rovides ample opportunity for big-time mainline railroading. Beginning at Altoona, Lloyd has captured Alto Tower, Brickyard C urve, Horseshoe Curve (with the early park and gift shop), McGinleys Curve, MG Tower (named since it is at Mid-Grade), A G Curve and finally the triple bores through Tunnel Hill. He has set the layout in the late 1930s to the early 1950s, which

includes rolling stock from the war years (like troop trains). The layout room is 55 ' b y 33 ' , but it is not completely filled with track. Wide aisles and a finished room appearance (carpet, walls and ceiling) enhance the beauty o f the layout. Approximately half of the layout is finished (the prototype PRR section), with the other half still in benchwork and planning stages. The unfinished part i s to be completely freelanced and will follow no particular prototype, other than h aving PRR equipment running through it. Thus, the complete layout can provide Lloyd with the enjoyment of matching specific scenes and trackage over Horseshoe Curve with the flexibility that comes with freelance modeling. There is a high scenery-to-track ratio in the finished part to provide the illusion t hat the trains must battle nature to pass through the region. The 48" radius curves enable even the largest steam locomotive or articulated diesel to travel easily across the layout. The large curves also provide a nice view of full-sized passenger train consists s naking around the many curves. Spline roadbed provides the foundation for most of the trackwork. All the mainline curves are


JUNE 2001

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