The Georgetown Branch Layout

Baltimore & Ohio's Georgetown Branch

An HO Scale Model Railroad

Slipping through the suburbs of Montgomery County Maryland in the early 1900’s was a branch line that split from the Baltimore and Ohio Metropolitan Subdivision in Silver Spring Maryland and ended in Georgetown Washington D.C. 

The mainstay of the branch was freight service mostly building materials, lumber, steel, coal for home heating, and in Georgetown coal for the steam generating plant that heated congressional buildings in Washington D.C.

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Prototype Waybills

Operations on my layout have evolved from basic car cards and waybills, to switch lists,  and now to what some call “prototype waybills”. Before I get too deep into this subject, let me state that “I consider prototype waybills to be an extension of the layout scenery” and nothing more. My adventure with prototype waybills started when I was searching

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Model 51 Turnout Control

Turnout Control Inside a Scale Switch Stand

Push-button turnout control hiding in plain sight. Hidden inside this HO scale model of a Bethlehem Steel Co. Model 51 low-profile switch stand is a tactile push-button for local turnout control. Simply press down on the target to throw your turnout. A great solution to local control of a turnout without a control panel. Because the target will dislodge if

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Model Railroad Benchwork

Model Railroad Benchwork

Choosing a style of model railroad benchwork can be overwhelming. There are so many different construction styles and techniques along with other deciding factors such as building a permanent structure or building the layout so it can be moved.  After building two other, permanently installed, versions of this railroad, I decided this time that a free-standing, modular design was in

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Red Caboose GP9 Metal Frame

GP9 Frame Material: Aluminum vs Brass

Aluminum vs Brass, I have seen some debate over the years touting brass as a superior frame material, but I have to disagree! My chosen material for machining GP9 frames is 6061-T6 Aluminum alloy and for good reason. Some argue that the brass frame being sold by others is a better solution because it adds additional weight, but that is

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Prototype HO Scale Wheel Stops

Prototype Wheel Stops

In 2019 while exploring the Georgetown Branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad I ran across these wheel stops still strapped in place on a siding. The siding appeared to be used to unload oil tank cars in the 1940s to 1950s.  Since I am modeling this exact location this is a must-have detail. Previously purchased wheel stops that I had

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Photo Gallery

About The Model Railroad

Construction of this HO-scale model railroad began in 2019, and the modeled era will be in the mid-1950s to 1960.  

The room is approximately 25 feet by 25 feet. The benchwork is modular and constructed of 3/4 inch x 3-inch birch plywood. The modules are assembled with pocket screws and painted on all sides to help control expansion and contraction. The 3/16-inch masonite backdrops are removable and the entire layout is completely free-standing.   

All track on the layout is Micro Engineering code 70 except for staging and the non-operable mainline tracks at Georgetown Junction, which is code 83. Turnouts for the most part are Mirco Engineering #6 with a few handlaid #9’s at the junction. I used a mix of Central Valley Turnout Ties and PC ties for those.  

The Track Plan

Train Control

Trains and turnouts are controlled with DCC. A single Train Control Systems CS-105, and a pair of  UWT-100 WiFi Throttles power the layout.

Turnouts are controlled with DCC Concepts Cobalt Digital turnout motors that can be operated via throttle, local panels, or pushbuttons disguised as ground throws along the route.

Because most turnouts in Georgetown are buried in the street it is hard to see the turnout position in most cases. To eliminate confusion, routes were created for the sidings, and those are configured using an NCE Mini Panel wired to control panels.

Control panels along the waterfront are hidden in barges, more on that later!

Locomotives are equipped with TCS WOW sound decoders and every locomotive is equipped with keepalives. Combining keepalive capacitors with powered frogs at the turnouts ensures smooth, reliable operation. 

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