Category Archives: Wheelerville

Bradford County Safari and LSOPS 9 (Part 1)

A few weeks ago, I traveled to the eastern part of the state for the 9th Lehigh/Susquehanna Ops Weekend, sponsored by the Susquehanna Division (Division 11) of the NMRA Mid Eastern Region and the NMRA Operations Special Interest Group (OpSIG).

Having an extra day off that week, I decided to leave a day early, and spend part of the day inspecting our hunting camp north of Williamsport, PA, and the rest of the day exploring around S&NY territory west of Towanda. I hoped to get some nice fall leaf photos along the way, but the leaves were not yet at peak due to the recent warm weather.

As it turned out, I ended up spending far too much time hiking and shooting photos at the camp, but was able to get one decent shot (out of many marginal ones) of the creek and a few early autumn leaves:

Next I headed up over the mountains to Wheelerville, where I hoped to pick up township road 395/396, and take that down into the Laquin area. Unfortunately, that gravel road, while easily driveable in a pick-up, runs through the 24,000 acre State Game Lands 12, and is prohibited to motorized vehicles between September and January unless one possesses a valid disabled hunter permit. Too bad, as much of this access road is in the old S&NY roadbed.

At the gate:

Still, I was able to get photos of the location of the Wheelerville station in person:

Nearly the same view, only 70 or so years earlier:

And now, with a little Photoshop magic, we can see the Wheelerville station as a “ghost”:


I was also able to grab a couple of shots of the foundations of the Wheelerville creamery:

So, I then back-tracked over the mountains and headed east on Southside Road, paralleling Rt. 414, hoping to find a good road back over to the Laquin area, but my nav system was less than helpful and I was not successful. (Helpful hint: Don’t follow roads with colorful names like “Pine Swamp Road” when trying to find a shortcut…)

By the time I came out near Towanda I was too tired to back-track through Powell and Monroeton. Will have to save that for another day.

After a night in the palatial Comfort Inn at Towanda, I was off bright and early for Allentown and LSOPS 9.

More on that in Part 2…

Wheelerville Store

Slow progress continues on recreating this scene in HO on the model S&NY:

Finally finished weathering the house/store in the background in the above photo:

The structure was kitbashed, starting with a City Classics Company House. A Tichy storefront was cut down and replaced the lower front side of the company house. The addition is scratchbuilt, along with the porches and roofs. Chooch flexible stone material was a close match for the kit foundation, and that was used under the addition. Signs are a mix of homemade and commercial offerings, and the “interior” made up of flats created from downloaded images. Window treatments are manila envelope material and homemade from internet images. Weathering is layers of oil-turpenoid washes, powders, and Pan Pastels.

I left off the porch stairs for now until the model is permanently affixed to the layout. I was afraid I’d break them off during handling otherwise. Also still needs a few details, like a gravity-fed gas pump and perhaps a red Coke cooler on the porch. Oh, and a dog. Gotta have a dog lounging on the porch for passersby to pet…

3/26/17 ETA: Google Maps screenshot of the same area today. County road has been re-aligned; the original road is still in front of the house. The SNY station would have been right about where the bush is at the corner of the two gravel roads on the modern view.

Building Wheelerville Depot

Spent the last week or so attempting to scratchbuild the Wheelerville station. I do have a couple of views that show the south and east walls, but the configuration of the other sides of the building are a complete mystery, and are educated guesses on the model.

I made the assumption that one batten and one board on the real station probably measure close to one foot. I used that guestimate to count boards and battens to arrive at a rough approximation of the overall dimensions, which worked out to 43′ x  16′. I used a wall height of 13′, arrived at by comparing plans of similar stations in the Model Railroader digital archive. I did fudge the long dimension  a foot or two so that the operator’s bay would fit between the battens evenly, and to accommodate the dimensions of the Tichy windows I planned to use. The bay dimensions and the angles of the bay walls were also guestimated by what looked right, the Tichy window dimensions, and measurements of similar depots in the MR archive.

Front view:


Rear view:


Side view:


The hip roof is the trickiest part. I referred to a John Nerich article on building hip roofs in the May 2014 RMC, and I also corresponded with John via Facebook on some of the nuances of construction, particularly regarding the appropriate amount of overhang, which could vary from about 5′ up to 7′ on some stations. The overhang I will end up with will be around 5-6′. The next tricky part will be trimming the bay walls to fit the slope of the overhanging roof. I had to brush up on my high school trigonometry to work out some of the dimensions, and in the end I did simply resort to a little trial-and-error cutting and fitting of the cardboard roof mock-up.

Here is the mocked-up roof compared with the real station:

wheelerville-cropped-1 wheelerville-roof-mock-up-1

Bill Caloroso - Cal's Classics

Bill Caloroso – Cal’s Classics

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Author’s Collection

At first I thought the real station had a more squat appearance than the model, but the more I look at it, I think it will be “close enough” once the roof supports, foundation, and a few other details are added.

To be continued…


Talky Tuesday #39

The depot at Wheelerville, PA sits forlorn and abandoned in last week’s “WW #67”. This is a closer shot than “WW #66”, and shows a few architectural details to better effect. The model-T inspection car looks to be vandalized, or partially stripped for scrap in this view as well.

I am uncertain of the date, though it is certainly post-1942 abandonment, and may even be post-war.

I wonder what became of the station sign??

Wordless Wednesday #67

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Author’s Collection

Talky Tuesday #38

Last week’s “WW #66” gives us an excellent overview of Wheelerville, PA, probably taken from the rear platform of a caboose on an eastbound train.

There is a wealth of detail for the modeler in this photo, which makes it all the more valuable. To the left, we have an excellent look at the eastern or southern side of the Wheelerville station. Rusting away in the weeds next to the station is an inspection car, likely built from a Ford Model T. This should be an easy project using a Jordan kit and a bit of judicious rust weathering powders. Across the tracks, a phone box and train order signal keep vigil. The passing siding is nearly obscured by weeds in the (presumed) late summer view.

In the background, a large flowerbox decorates the front porch of a home, whose front has the appearance that it might have been a general store in the past. Despite the remote location and small size of the village,  there are at least three pedestrians going about their business on the county road.

All in all, a fascinating little vignette of the past…

Wordless Wednesday #66

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Author’s Collection