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The Reading Company's Bethlehem Branch
Givens And Druthers
The thoughts and realities forming the basis of my HO scale model railroad.
G I V E N S 

Room Size: 14'9"x13'8" 

Base Height: 48" 

Lighting: Incandescent Track Lighting

D r u t h e r s

Scale: HO 

Railroad: The Reading Company 

Modeled Portions: From the Southern End of Saucon Creek Yard (connection to Bethlehem Steel) to Perkasie. Towns to be included are Saucon Creek Yard, Hellertown, Coopersburg and Perkasie. 

Era(s): Steam-to-Diesel transition era and Second Generation Diesel to C-Day. 

Motive Power: SW1's, NW2's, FT's, F7's, GP7's, GP30's, GP35's, SD45's, SW900's, SW900m's, SW1200's, MP15's, C-630's, C-424's, U30C's, RS-3's, RDC's 

Goal: To re-create the Bethlehem Branch as it appeared in the last twenty-five years of the Reading's corporate existence. 

Operations: 

Through Freights: 
PB-1: Philadelphia (Berks Street) to Bethlehem (Saucon Creek Yard), Called Daily at 6:30 PM 
PB-3: Philadelphia (Berks Street) to Bethlehem (Saucon Creek Yard), Called Daily at 8:30 PM 
BP-2: Bethlehem (Saucon Creek Yard) to Philadelphia (Berks Street), Called Daily at 1:30 AM 
BP-4: Bethlehem (Saucon Creek Yard) to Philadelphia (Berks Street), Called Daily at 3:00 AM 
XB-23: Abrams to Bethlehem (Saucon Creek Yard), Called Daily at 11:00 PM 
BX-330: Bethlehem (Saucon Creek Yard) to Abrams, Called Daily at 3:30 AM 

Locals: 
Saucon Shifter: Bethlehem (Saucon Creek Yard) Shifter Crew 
CD-46: Bethlehem (Saucon Creek Yard) to Perkasie. 
CD-45: Return of CD-46 

Extras (Iron Ore Service): 
PBX: Philadelphia (Port Richmond) to Bethlehem (Saucon Creek Yard), Called as needed. 
BPX: Bethlehem (Saucon Creek Yard) to Philadelphia (Port Richmond), Called as needed. 
[Note: Extras shall be identified using the lead engine number. Thus, PB-485X would be a Philadelphia to Bethlehem extra led by locomotive 485.] 
 

Click here to see a diagram of the railroad room.
Click here to see a few photos of the railroad room.

D e s ig n      D r u t h e r s 

Schematic: Loop to loop (basically the good ole dogbone with a single track section in the middle) 

Track: Atlas code 83 on the visible "main line" and some code 70 on the industrial and yard tracks. Hidden staging will be all code 100 with rerailers every 3 feet. 

Control: North Coast Engineering's Powerhouse Pro with Digitrax and NCE decoders. 

Minimum Radius: 30" maintrack, down to 24" on industry and yard tracks 

Levels/Decks: One deck with multiple levels of track. The lowest level will start at the return loop representing Philadelphia (Tabor Jct.- partially under the stairs and Saucon Creek Yard) and enter the scenic portion of the railroad south of Perkasie. The railroad will pass through Perkasie and narrow to a single track for the tunnel. The "tunnel" will cross the removable duckunder for entry to the laundy and storage areas and pass under Saucon Creek yard and the stairs. After exiting the steps, it will return to double track and enter Coopersburg. Coopersburg will utilize the area from the stairs to the corner. Leaving Coopersburg, we pass through some rural Pennsylvania countryside and enter Hellertown. Hellertown is above and behind Perkasie and marks the entry to Saucon Creek yard and Bethlehem Steel. Once again, the tracks cross a removable duckunder for the storage/laundry areas and enter Saucon Creek yard. The return loop at Saucon is hidden partially by yard tracks which pass over the loop tracks as the yard tracks run along the wall enclosing the steps. The return loop at Saucon will also utilize the space under the stairs (occupying space over Philadelphia). It sounds confusing, but it looks good on paper and nothing looks too crowded. The basic idea behind the plan was from an article in the April 1957 issue of _Model Railroader_ about the late Bob Hegge's HO scale Crooked Mountain Lines. 

Track Switch Control: Caboose Industry's ground throws on visible sections and Tortoise switch machines in the staging areas. 

Signals: Only to indicate switch position 

Couplers: Kadee 

Wheels: Proto 2000 and Kadee 

Operation Method: Car Cards and Waybills with verbal train orders