Inspiration & Techniques on Jerry Macri’s Pennsy Model Railroad

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Duration: 6:55

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Allen Keller sits with Jerry Macri, builder and owner of the massive Pennsylvania model railroad. The railroad runs in South Central Pennsylvania around Pittsburgh. In spite of the fact that the layout is over 4,300 square feet, Jerry chose not to model too large an area. Altoona to Pittsburgh are areas Jerry both loves, and he thought he needed the greater area on the layout to truly capture them.

Since he chose to model Pittsburgh, he had to have a steel mill. Jerry was inspired by a red building that he liked the look of at a modeling show that happened to be a part of a steel mill. He bought it and from that point on scratch built everything else around it. He started with the rolling mill which is made out of three quarter inch birch. In the foreground is where the slag is extracted with many cars that together tell the story of the steel mill. The dump down at Ironton is where the slag is dumped.

The steel mill is a dirty place. In fact, Jerry has a fogger that he uses to complete the dirty effect. The building next to the steel mill is a plating plant where raw steel can be further processed with chrome and other plating and then shipped out around to factories. The chemicals are so toxic that they have a refinery that refines them to decrease any hazards.

The layout also boasts the famous Horseshoe Curve. A friend of Jerry’s told him to go visit the Horseshoe Curve and it really inspired him. In fact, he was so inspired that he decided to switch from UP to Pennsylvania. The Historical Society has mentioned that it is the biggest modeled Horseshoe Curve at 12 by 30 feet. He knew to give it justice, it had to be modeled in a larger format. For more Allen Keller videos, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.