One Tank Trip

One Tank Trip: Coopersburg Area Society of Model Engineers

One Tank Trip: Coopersburg Area Society of Model Engineers

COOPERSBURG, Pa. - A Sante Fe passenger train from the 1950s passes by.

As Tom Dunham explained, it's a part of his childhood.

"My favorite. This is a well-known train from my childhood, and so many men my age had a train like this," he said. "There's a lot of nostalgia here with men still playing with trains."

About one night a week, and more during the holiday season, you'll find Tom and other members of the Coopersburg Area Society of Model Engineers in the basement of the Coopersburg borough building. They'll walk you around their HO scale layout. It's a little more than 12 scale miles.

Most of the the members are retired, but there are a few younger ones, and with them comes a modern twist on the layout: everyone has his own remote control. There's even an app for it on your smartphone.

"You actually walk around with your throttle as your train progresses around the layout, so just like an engineer would sit in the locomotive, the engineer stays with their train," David Long, CASME president, explained.

The model railroad is digitally controlled. You can change the turnouts with a click.

Map: Coopersburg Borough Hall

 

"We've had up to 18 trains running simultaneously," Long said. "We have operating signals, which keep the trains from hitting each other, and you progress from one level to the next around and back down."

Around one of the bends, you'll see a cut-out window. If you peek in there, you can see how the trains get from one level to another. A helix is the ultimate train elevator. There are lots to look at and search for within the tiny HO scale scenery. It's incredibly detailed.


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