EPTC The East Penn Traction Club

Layout Photo Gallery

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Paul Vassallo's Indiana Railroad in O Scale (Under Construction)

My "O" scale layout depicts a portion of the Indiana Railroad between Muncie and Bluffton, Indiana in the late summer of 1940. While not duplicating any specific portions of the right of way of the original interurban line, I have tried to be as accurate as possible in modeling the look and feel of this particular Indiana interurban as it neared the end of its operating life. (The real IRR was abandoned in Jan. 1941)

My layout was started in the late 1960's while I was in high school. It started out as a generic Midwest interurban line. It evolved into its present more specific form around 1992. It combines a point to point interurban trolley operation with an around the room railroad operation depicting the Pennsylvania RR and the Nickel Plate RR (both of which crossed and interchanged with the IRR on this portion of their line).

The "O' scale interurban line starts in a city (Muncie) and progresses approximately 75' one way to a mid sized town (Hartford City), passing through a small crossroads village (Royerton) on the way. Eventual operation will be to the town of Bluffton for a total one way trip of about 120'. On the portion of the line that has been built, I have tried to include most of the typical track construction found on an Indiana interurban line including street running , side of the road operating, and cross country rural private right of way. The line is single track operation with passing sidings. There is also one level RR grade crossing in the street, an interchange with the RR, and an overpass over the RR using a plate girder bridge.

As on the real interurban, most of the models are single ended. To handle turning them around, there is a wye in the street trackage near the downtown terminal in Muncie. At the temporary outer end of the line, there is a modular removable loop track. This loop module is removed and reattached to the new end of the interurban line each time construction advances.

With the exception of a couple structures, all buildings are scratchbuilt from either plastic or wood. All the model structures are copies of actual buildings found along various interurban lines in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois which I have taken photos of. Scenery is plaster with appropriate ground covers. Trees are all handmade. Track and switches are hand laid code 100 nickel silver. Switches are built on the spot to fit the particular location. I am keeping to a minimum of 18" radius on curves for reliable operation of interurban freights. There are a few exceptions to this at the Muncie Terminal where I laid my track in the late 1960's. Street paving is done with tinted wall board joint compound. All streetlights are lit and some buildings have limited lighting to create a "moody" late night feeling. Several autos have operating headlights and taillights using hidden AAA batteries inside them for added realism during nighttime operations.

Interurban and railroad equipment is import brass, scratchbuilt plastic, or assembled plastic or metal kits. Most of the cars are flywheel equipped for smoother operation. In general, most of the interurbans are lighted with detailed interiors and realistic seated figures and motorman at the controls.

 This view shows IRR highspeed #56, built from an Ashland kit, waiting for a PRR freight to clear the grade crossing on Mulberry St. on the northern outskirts of Muncie. A school girl has just gotten off the interurban while the car waits. The feed mill across the street has the usual collection of dusty farmer's trucks making their deliveries and pickups. After the RR freight passes, #56 will cross the RR tracks, swing to the right, and accelerate out of town along private right of way for its cross country trip to Hartford City. The double track in the street in this view is the second of two passing sidings in Muncie between the city limits and the terminal which allows for two way flow of interurban traffic on the (prototypical) single track street operation in the city.
 With its air horn sounding, IRR RPO car #376 pauses before crossing the Alexandria Pike in Royerton, Indiana. In a moment it will grind to a halt in front of the small IRR style waiting shelter to pick up its lone waiting passenger. Similar crossroads settlements such as this dotted the lines up and down the real IRR, but produced little revenue. The weed grown siding in the foreground was still being used occasionally for meets with opposing cars. The freight platform was a holdover from earlier days when milk was shipped out by trolley. It saw almost no use at the time depicted in this scene. In this scene, all the buildings are scratchbuilt out of styrene and painted and weathered with Floquil water based paints. The interurban is a Car Works import.
 Looking from the opposite direction to picture #2, we watch the same southbound IRR RPO crossing the Alexandria Pike in Royerton heading for Muncie. Increased auto traffic during the 1920's and 1930's posed additional problems for safe operation of the speedy interurbans and blind intersections such as this kept Indiana RR motormen alert. That 1939 Ford parked next to the tracks was symbolic of what eventually became the downfall of all the interurbans. The flat open countryside that typified much of the IRR stretches off in the background beyond the village.
 Here is another view of IRR #376 pulling into Royerton going northbound. The tall grass in the foreground is very dry and thunder clouds gather in the distance in this typical late summer day in Indiana. In reality, the "dry grass" is fake fur, the dirt is ground cover glued to a plaster surface and the house is made from Evergreen styrene with Grandt Line windows.
 This picture was shot by EPTC member Bob Dietrich. It shows C&LE freight motor #630 with two trailers in tow leaving the plate girder bridge over the railroad heading northbound. I have always loved C&LE's big wood freight motors. Hence, while the real car never ran on the IRR, I get pleasure out of seeing it operate over my model line. I scratchbuilt this car and the two trailers from styrene in 1991. It has Wagner trucks with flywheel. The city headlight and the rear markers are constant lighting off track power. The large interurban headlight above the city headlight works off a battery with a small switch under the car. It can stay lit while the car is parked in a passing siding waiting for a meet. The stake body truck on the parallel road is a heavily converted Ertl model truck. The barn in the background is scratch built out of balsa wood and weathered with diluted water base paints. Pasture grass is fake fur spray painted green. The livestock fence along the right of way is veil material from a millinery supply house.

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