Many people are impressed by Ken McCorry’s Conrail railroad because of its size. However, sustaining such a massive size was not his original objective. When he first decided to build a building for his layout, he had to deal with the foundation and some water problems from a barn that was there originally. The footprint was a 32 by 80 foot barn he had built in 1991. In 1996 he added an addition to increase the size of the space further. He had no intentions of building the world’s largest home layout, it just happened to grow. There are people who want to make it a competition, but this doesn’t bother Ken. For him, building a large layout was simply fun.
With the amount of building structures and the amount of materials that are available today, it is amazing what modelers can now fit in a space. The more space one has, the larger one can build the structures. When people build industrial structures, they can usually only fit one or two cars, but Ken can build structures that can hold eight to twelve. The larger structures end up using more space, which means having more space to start with will be helpful. The Conrail railroad steel mill is one hundred feet in actual length, or about three hundred square feet. He met a modeler at a convention where he received many ideas for the layout. Allen Keller asks if the layout was modeled after a specific prototype route. It was modeled after the Pennsylvania railroad line that ran from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Buffalo, New York. The double decking on his layout – five levels of decking in some places – gives Ken a tremendous run, about 45 minutes long. For more Allen Keller videos, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.