Track Plan At A Glance
Layout Theme: Tunnel Module
Layout Type: Module
Scale: HO Scale
Track: Code 100
Min. Radius: N/A
Article by: Jim Spavins
Published: July 12, 2016
Just west of Horseshoe Curve sits another famed railfanning location along the former Pennsylvania Railroad. The Gallitzin Tunnels (see the Google map here) are an often modeled scene from this region and would lend themselves well to a HO scale model. The western portal, shown in the photo below, is the scene most often associated with this place. As can be seen, the location offers a very simple module operationally with only two mainlines but the vertical scenery gives the module added visual interest.
The module is designed to be 2.5'x4' in HO scale and follow the NMRA HO scale module standards. The two mainlines run parallel with the front edge of the module and through a single portal. The second tunnel portal and third track also runs parallel to the mainline - offset three inches on center from the inside mainline. This third track is optional depending upon the era modeled. For many years, the two mainline were split between the two tunnel portals (check out some of the videos below) and it wasn't until the southern portal was lowered and widened to add clearance for autoracks and doublestacks (sometime in the late 1990s), was the north portal abandoned and two tracks added to the south portal. If the module was set in the present day, the third track could be removed and the abandoned roadbed modeled instead.
When modeling a tunnel, one of the operational concerns is a train derailing inside the tunnel. While it is designed to be fairly short, a see through window from the front of the module could be added. For example, a piece of removable plexiglass would all0w for easy access if a train was to derail but also allow viewers to watch trains pass through the finished interior of the tunnel.
The left side of the module features a road overpass. The bridge has been rebuilt in recent years with cast concrete piers and abutments. An interesting feature of the bridge is the protective chain link fence which runs along the sides of the bridge. The designers added small cut outs in the chain link fence so railfans could take photographs while standing on the sidewalk.
On top of the hill, behind the mainline tracks, sits the town of Gallitzin. There is a small park adjacent to the hill side with an old Pennsylvania railroad caboose that has been converted to an ice cream stand. This detail along with the split rail fence can easily be added to the module - helping to anchor the location of the model.
- Gallitzin Tunnel Park - Learn more at RailroadTraveler.com >
- Gallitzin Tunnel Photos - See on Railpictures.net >
- Gallitzin Tunnel Video from 1991 - Watch on YouTube >
- Gallitzin Tunnel Video from 1990s - Watch on YouTube >
- Action at Gallitzin Tunnel Video - Watch on YouTube >
- East Portal of Gallitzin Tunnel - Watch on YouTube >
A Norfolk Southern freight heads west out of Gallitzin Tunnel during the summer of 2015. | Photo by Jim Spavins.
For Track Plan Tuesday's, I am digitizing all of my old track planning notebooks and sharing the designs here on the website. To see all the plans, visit the track plan home page at: jimspavins.com/jimstrackplans.