Layout Tours
We have an abundance of high quality model railroads in Central New York. More than 25 will be open for you to visit. Several have been featured in the national model press. Everything from Live Steam, G-scale indoor and garden layouts, O scale and O high-rail, to HO, Narrow Gauge and N. Locations from the Colorado Rockies, to the Pacific Northwest, to the Adirondacks, the Northeast Corridor and Germany and eras from the 1920’s to yesterday.

The Lakeshores Limited

 A guided tour of the best of the Lakeshores Division

Click Here to Download a PDF file of the layouts featured on the Lakeshores Limited Tour!


The Lakeshores Division is the newest member of the Northeast Region.  Centered in Rochester, NY, just an hour-and-a-half west of Syracuse, the Division includes several outstanding model railroads.  This is a self-drive tour which will depart the convention hotel at 8:00am Friday morning and will be guided by members of the division.  Carpools will be formed prior to departure.  Participants on this tour will return to the hotel around 6:00pm.  The tour will make stops at seven of the best layouts in the area as well as make a short visit to the NCE DCC facility in Webster.   NCE is one of the largest manufacturers of DCC systems, decoders, and accessories.  


There is no added cost for this tour.  A stop will be made for lunch (cost is the responsibility of the tour attendees).   Due to space and parking restrictions this tour will be limited to 20 participants.


The timing of this tour is coordinated with operating sessions on three Lakeshore division layouts Friday evening.  However, attendees are not required to go on this tour to sign up for those operating sessions, nor are those who go on the tour required to attend one of the operating sessions.   Those who wish to operate on the Rondemont & West Shore, Maine & Western or Danby, Ludlow, and Springfield Railroad Friday evening after the tour need to sign up for those operating sessions separately.


Be sure to sign up for this tour and plan for a fun day of model railroading during Empire Junction.  We look forward to seeing you.

Click Here to Download a PDF file of the layouts featured on the Lakeshores Limited Tour!

For more info and Questions please contact our Convention Chairman at

Some of the Layouts on tour  from the Central New York Division

Boston & Albany Central Division  - Dick Hehir  

The B&A Central Div. is a freelanced HO layout connecting the fictitious towns of Millcreek and Roundly in central Massachusetts during the transitional era.  The Boston & Albany (NYC), Boston & Maine, and New Haven all compete for trackage rights on this congested part of the B&A.  The layout features a working turntable and the need for helper units.  Trackage is 100% completed and scenery about 50% completed.


Canada Spokane & Pacific  - Drew James

The HO scale CS&P is a freelanced bridge line jointly owned by CPR and BN connecting Calgary, Alberta with Spokane, Washington.  CN maintains trackage rights over a portion of the mainline.  This is a large point to point layout with a single-track mainline running through the mountains and along the rivers of the Pacific Northwest.   The railroad is designed and built for operations and has an operating signaling system, dispatcher’s office, and crew lounge.  Scenery is 70% complete.  The mainline is 230 feet long.  The layout covers  about 1,400 square feet.  The CS&P was featured as the cover story in the October – December issue of The Coupler.

Tom Kehoskie

 The Onondaga Central Railroad is an HO scale railroad that is on its second life.  Construction originally began in 1955 in Auburn, New York by Jean Houde.  This handlaid rail layout was designed for operation and had few buildings and no scenery.  After Jean’s passing in 1995 the layout remained in his basement until 2005 when Martin Collard rescued it from being brought to the curb.  Martin stored it until Tom took ownership in 2010 but it remained in storage until Tom moved to his new house in 2015.  Seven people helped Tom restore and improve the layout including one who helped build it in 1955 and another who participated in operating sessions with Jean Houde.  Tom ran his first train on the restored layout in 2016


Central New York Large Scale Railway Society

 Our club layout is located in a former shopping mall that is now a mega-brand car dealership.  The building is open to the public.  Members have access to the layout whenever the building is open.  Construction began in 2005, after a member discovered that the owner of Driver’s Village was a train fan! 

 In about 2400 square feet we have 6 tracks for G scale trains.  The outer loop features 11’ and 12’ curves.  The middle track has 10’ curves.  The inner track is powered by a push button control with a timer for kids to operate a train when we aren’t there. 

 In December, we swapped out the park scene for a winter ski scene.  The back drop was added in 2011, and the loading platform/storage cabinet was incorporated into the layout in 2015.  Structures range from wooden or polystyrene kits to scratch-built creations.  Some pieces are re-purposed bird houses or feeders.  Club members decided that the theme should be a free-lance model railroad based in the mid to late 20th century.  Two tracks could run in either DC or DCC mode with Revolution train controls.  The other tracks are DC with Train Engineer remotes. 

Ogdensburg & Norwood Rwy., Northern Division - Jim Heidt

The O&N layout is a freelanced, Class 1 bridge line, the modeled Northern Division section connecting Canada (CP) via car ferry across the St. Lawrence at Ogdensburg with southern New England (New Haven) at Pittsfield, MA.  The O&N interchanges along the line (modeled) with the NYC and Rutland, (and offline) with the NYO&W, DL&W, D&H, and B&M.  The layout is double-deck, centered by a single track helix, and anchored by two 9-track motorized elevator staging yards at either end representing Canada and the line’s Southern Division.  There are four other staging areas.  Operational emphasis is wayfreight and local industrial switching on a single-track main with occasional passing track, using timetable/train order.  It is 80% signaled for absolute permissive block, with detection of train location and turnout position.  Analog/lighted fast-clocks run 4:1, and are computer coordinated with variable layout lighting separate from layout room lights for true 24-hour operation.  The layout’s mainline is 404 feet long, taking about 20 real minutes in steady, leisurely running from end to end, with no repeat trackage or scenes, and no classification yard operation.  This layout has been in feature articles in Railroad Model Craftsman and Model Railroader magazines. See the website for more information:

   Mohawk Valley Southern - Bernard Messenger

This 14’ x 28’ HO layout is designed for operation. The Mohawk Valley Southern is an imaginary extension of the Norfolk Southern here in Central New York. It has three staging yards as well as a sorting yard. It starts at Buffalo, NY and terminates in Massachusetts. The layout uses Digitrax DCC, radio-equipped and has a fully functional signaling system. It is set up for either ABS or CTC control.  The era is the present.

BRUNSWICK & TUSCAN - Mike Shanahan

Bench work was started on the 44'x38' BRUNSWICK & TUSCAN layout over 4 decades ago. This model of the Pennsy around 1956 has been featured in Model Railroader and Model Railroad Craftsman.  The layout features an excellent replica of Horseshoe Curve, two large cities, a large waterfront and a large steel mill complex.  Mike's specialty is his realistic Pennsylvania scenery, superb structures, and massive amounts of detail.  There have been several upgrades and improvements our last convention in 2012. This is a must see. 


Finger Lakes Live Steamers

The group owns 12 acres of former farmland which makes it considerably larger than the average layout.  On the land, they have erected several buildings and loops of track for No. 1 gauge, 4 ¾” gauge, and 7 ¼” gauge.  No. 1 gauge has a loop of about 300 feet while 4 ¾” gauge travels over 2,500 feet of track.  The largest gauge, 7 ½”, has the most track, an actual mile.  Equipment is powered by batteries, gasoline engines, and steam.

    BD Kaiserslautern - Tom and Benjamin Lynch

Bundesbahndirektion Kaiserslautern is my N scale version of the Pfälzische Ludwigsbahn (KBS 670) and the Alzentalbahn (KBS 650), part of the Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) in West Germany. The layout is set in September of 1974 when my father was stationed at Sembach Air Force Base with the family. They were exciting times for a young train enthusiast because they were running steam engines alongside modern electrics.

KBS650 is a single tracked and non-electrified line from Kaiserslautern heading north to Bingen on the Rhine River. Service includes passenger and freight using rail busses, diesel and steam. The layout models two towns between staging with scenery about ¾ done.  KBS670 is still under construction and will be double tracked with overhead catenary.  Train Controller software allows for prototypical signaling and some automatic running of trains. My son Benjamin age 10 helps with building and operating the layout as well. More information at

 Rambling Rocky Ridge Railroad - Tom Scibetta           


This layout could be the largest “Gargraves””O” gauge layout you ever see.  It took 30 years in the making.  It is 100% scenicked containing 2,550 pounds of molding plaster, hence the name Rocky Ridge.  It includes 30 interactive accessories, over 1,800 trees, and town and industrial locations.  It was the featured article in the March 2011 O Gauge Railroading magazine.  Forced perspective is used throughout the layout.  Tom will be happy to explain how to use forced perspective on an HO layout using his same ideas.

New York & Pennsylvania Central, Adirondack & St. Lawrence Divisions - Roger Beiswenger


This HO layout is a walk around folded dog bone built for continuous running but operated point to point between Utica and Tupper Lake, NY. Two levels of track on a single deck provide 160’ of mainline track with passing sidings. The lower level is operated as the Adirondack Division and the upper level as the St. Lawrence Division. The Raquette Timber RR brings logs down from Tupper Lake. Photos from local scenes are blended into the backdrop. Most locos are sound equipped. Micro-Mark car cards and waybills are used for car forwarding.   NCE is used for train control.  A retro 6’x10’ reproduction of my American Flyer S scale layout is an adjacent room

Leadville and Red Cliff [HO] & Rio Grande/Rio Grande Southern [HOn3] - Bill and Judy Brown


This is actually two layouts in one. The modern day LARC occupies the lower level of two decks, and depicts the ex Rio Grande mainline through Colorado

from Mintern to Pueblo and on to Denver. The LARC trains travel on a  mainline that is 220 feet long.  The upper level is the Colorado Narrow Gauge Layout mostly based in 1949…just a few years before the Rio Grande Southern ceased operations. The narrow gauge mainline is 140 feet long.   Bill’s rendition brings it back to life. A portion of the layout takes one back even further to 1910, when tiny engines pulled and pushed freight into amazing areas. Tight turns and steep grades were the norm back then.  Steep mountain cliffs, deep cuts and rickety trestles are just some of the highlights.  Digitrax is used to control both layouts.   The layout room features a computer-controlled day/night sequence and thousands of building lights that individually turn on and off throughout the night. Scenery here has to be seen to be believed!

CSX Northeast - Dave Martini

Dave Martini's CSX Northeast is an HO 24’x40’ prototypical freelanced layout representing both CSX and Conrail prior to the breakup of Conrail.  The layout features a single track mainline from Buffalo, NY to Cleveland, OH both represented by staging.  The CSX Northeast features several overhead freights moving heavy tonnage (TOFC's, thru freights, unit coal and grain), along with east and west Amtrack service.   There are several large industrial switching areas served by both locals and sweeper trains.  A branch line to the 2nd deck allows access to a large coal loading facility. Two short line railroads, the fictional S&N and the Central Ohio System have interchange locations in addition to servicing their own customers. Mainline trains are dispatched by a master schedule while locals and yard jobs work from switch lists.  The layout is DCC (digitrax) with operating signal on the West end of the Division.

The West Virginia and Maryland - Nick McGinnis

 My HO layout occupies a 16 x 30 foot space with DC control.  The layout has a fictional setting covering the time from the 1950s to 1980s.  I have reworked the layout into a walk around with one duck under about five feet in height. I run equipment for the Western Maryland, Baltimore and Ohio, Chesapeake and Ohio, Chessie System and a logging train. Over the years I have added many more buildings that I have kit bashed and scratch built. I have modeled events in my life and have added them into the layout. If you have seen it before you would be surprised how it has changed. I have a six-foot wooden curved trestle as you walk into the room on the right.  On the lower level I have three main lines and one on the upper level. What you see today represents 30 years of work.

Mohawk Central - 
Bob Wilkins

My HO layout uses MRC DCC using tethered throttles along with the smartphone wifi system.  I built in the shape of the letter E with the center peninsula being doubled sided and occupies a space 14.5 feet by 15 feet.  The New York Central in central New York in 1952 provided inspiration for my layout. I created the “Train Room” when finishing the basement.  I built it as a model of central New York at the time when autos were beginning to impact train passenger service.  I’ve enjoyed adding sound and lights and other gadgets for my personal entertainment.  These have delighted my grandchildren and other children brought by my friends.  I’ve enjoyed adding a logging component, a moderate sized city and several villages along with a small harbor. There is only one diesel on the layout while the rest of the locomotives are steam.  I’ve managed to name most of the structures after grandchildren and other relatives. My favorite projects have been to add lighting effects to automobiles and to structures.  I also enjoyed building the two trestle bridges that cross the canyon at the end of the center peninsula.  I built the layout in three phases with phase one based on a plan that I modified from “Model Railroader” and the other two phases being my own invention. 

Peace Dale Industrial Branch,  Narragansett RR - Tom Staton

This I believe will be my last layout?  Each layout has been a larger scale with this one being G.  100% scratch built, at a height of 58"s so you look into it in a natural way and not down on a bunch of roofs. As with all my other layouts,  I have built in lots of humor and tremendous detail.

My work has been published in Narrow Gauge Gazette 3 times, Model Railroad Craftsman twice, as well as Model Railroader and various other publications.

Sub-Division of Conrail - Charlie Romanick

 This is a freelanced N scale layout that is heavy on industrial switching with a 12’ KJ&L Steel mill, a 3’x6’ open pit coal mine.  The 14’ harbor has iron ore ship being unloaded by Hulett unloaders, a freighter being loaded from grain silos, railcars are ferried by barge to the mainland.  Scenery 98% done, a lot of buildings have lights and more are being added.  There is space for 150 cars in the two main yards.

New Haven Railroad - Ed O’Rourke

 This HO scale layout models the NY, NH & H in the area around New Haven Station, plus some Canal Line operations.   Steam, diesel and electric operation under catenary. Scenery is 95% complete.

Rick Mniece - Three Layouts in O, HO & N

 A visit with Rick will allow you to see three layouts.  He models in O, HO, and N.  His O layout is 2 rail with DC control.  This layout features switching with staging.  Track is code 125 with handlaid turnouts.  Scenery is about 90% complete.  Mainline is 37 feet long.  The setting is the C&O in Michigan in the 1960s.  His HO layout is based on the Erie Lackawanna in the 1960s.  It is 19’ x 24’, around the wall with a peninsula and two levels with a mainline 165’ long with Digitrax control.  This layout was designed for operation with switching.   The N layout occupies a space 3’ x 8.5’with DC control.  This layout has a loop of track with a yard.  Scenery is 100% completed.  A variety of equipment is run.  Layout features include a turntable and a roundhouse.

Sioux City Lines - Robert Vickery

The focus of the layout is the CB&Q and GN interchange track at Sioux City, Iowa.  This is a double ended yard that is approximately 30 feet long.  The yard has two arrival/departure tracks, four classification tracks, a run around track, two caboose tracks, and two 15 foot switching leads.  The IC yard is in Dakota City, Nebraska.  It is a single ended yard that is approximately 20 feet long.  The yard has an arrival departure track, four classification tracks, a caboose track, and an engine track.  There is an engine facility at Dakota City, Nebraska that serves all three railroads.  The engine facility has a six stall roundhouse, machine shop, power plant, turntable, coaling tower, sand house, and diesel fueling facility.  All trains originate in staging.  Each railroad has staging tracks representing communities on the railroad.  Each railroad has lengthy sections of mainline track. Primary industries on the layout focus on moving cattle, meat, hides, canned goods, milled grain, various grains, byproducts of these industries, various fuels, coal, TOFC, and interchange traffic with the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad and the Milwaukee Railroad.

North Rose Railroad Company - Gary Poole

 This is a large ‘O’ Gauge layout, approximately 40’ by 100’ feet in an ‘L’ shape.  Trains run independently on multiple loops of track with up to twenty-one trains able to run at a time.  Outer loops have a radius of 138 inches.  The mountains are up to nine feet tall.  Track level ranges from table top to the top of the mountains.  This is a freelanced railroad with equipment from the transition era.

Elmira Branch, Pennsylvania Railroad - Terry Ludwig                       

This point to point layout models the Pennsylvania Railroad from near Elmira, NY to  Sodus Point on Lake Ontario.  Coal was a major product transported.  The layout occupies a space 13 feet by 42 feet with a 150 foot mainline with DC control.  The setting is rural upstate New York with many small communities. 

Cohocton Valley & Western - 
Charlie Albee

The HO layout is loosely based on the DL&W mainline between Corning, NY and Buffalo, NY.  Through freight and passenger trains utilize DL&W equipment while the CV&W provides local freight service.   Track is complete except for a few sidings.  The backdrop is in place and scenery work has begun.  There is a single track branch of the Erie that runs along side the DL&W in many places.  At Corning there is an interchange between the DL&W and the Erie.  Staging tracks are located at either end of the DL&W mainline.

Ken Ranlet

This HO layout is a work in progress, trackwork 98% done, wiring 50% done, scenery about 60% done.  The layout is “L”-shaped 12 ½ x 25 feet with DC control.  The early ‘60s northeastern U.S. is the setting for this freelanced layout using B&O and EL power.  It features a canal lock, 6-stall roundhouse and turntable, and kit-bashed or scratch-built structures (including replica of the Scranton, PA RCA factory), many with interiors.

Borodino & Southern RR - Martin Collard


The B&S interchanges with the Marcellus & Otisco Lake RR transferring crushed limestone for Ted’s Ore Mine to the Solvay Process Co. of Solvay NY.   It also has a sawmill, The Hartford Workshop box company, Earl’s Small Machinery Co.   Although the railroad was originally narrow gauge; due to arthritic fingers the track has been widened to standard gauge. The B&S still retains the feel of its origin. The owner is still narrow minded.  NCE is used for train control.  The layout occupies about 250 square feet.   The layout is based on a proposed, but never built branch of the Marcellus and Otisco Lake Railway and the time period is 1950.