Harold Werthwein

Making Realistic Road Beds

Harold Werthwein
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Duration:   4  mins

Harold Werthwein details how he made the road beds so realistic on his layout of the Delaware Division of the Erie Railroad. He stresses that the road beds were part of the scenery and tried to be very careful with them.


The most difficult part was to hand lay double track straight track. The ties all had to be down perfectly, and lining up all four rails was challenging. He explains his trick for ensuring that they were straight, which involved a flashlight, though Harold considered the eyes to be the best surveying tool.

Harold goes into more detail about how he created a correct profile for the road beds. In another video in the series, he explained his unusual method for controlling the turnouts.


Operating sessions are a big part of the enjoyment of this hobby, and with Harold’s Erie Railroad, they were a major undertaking, with over 40 cars and 20 operators. Allen asks Harold what the key was to operating so many trains. Was it the hidden staging yards at Port Jervis and Binghamton? Harold replies that the lower staging yard had approximately 25 tracks in it, and that represented everything east of Port Jervis, either going into Jersey City or to Maybrook, which is the Erie’s connection with the New Haven going into New England.


Allen asks Harold how many interchanges he used on the railroad. Harold considers this one of the shortcomings of the layout—there were only three. At Port Jervis, there was an interchange with the NYO&W. At Binghamton, there were interchanges with both the D&H and the DL&W. Harold would prefer more interchanges and therefore more activity.

But he adds that the people working on the operating sessions were happy with the number of interchanges. Allen is surprised to hear that Harold didn’t get to operate on this layout. Why not? Because he was handling any problems that came up!

Watch more from Allen Keller.

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