S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Berlinerwerke-HO Page keywords = Berlinerwerke-HO Berlinerwerke Berliner Horseshoe Muleshoe Curve Pennsylvania Pennsy PRR Altoona Juniata Gallitzin Allegheny Alleghany Allegrippus Tunnelhill Cresson Sang Hollow Lilly Hollidaysburg Duncansville Glenwhite Kittaning Burgoon Sugar Run Blair Gap Bennington New Portage Main Line Public Works Utilities model rail train Z HO scale track Berlinerwerke "

Updated:   27 Feb 2011, 20:25  ET
[Page created 17 Feb 2011;
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/bwerkeho.html

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Berlinerwerke-HO Script

Berlinerwerke-HO Page



note-rt see Index re Horseshoe Curve


note-rt Coverage of the prototype and intended model Horseshoe Curve has been separated out from the saga (story) of my own HO-scale "model" (miniature) railroad, as noted below:

[APOLOGIA - I can't possibly keep track of all the interconnected linking on the Horseshoe Curve and Berlinerwerke-HO pages so I'm just posting the latter and reposting the former without 100% link correlation at first; hopefully I'll catch up with the links "one of these days".]

On this Berlinerwerke-HO page:
    Berlinerwerke-HO Saga

On the Berlinerwerke-HO Continuation Page 1:
    Update of the Berlinerwerke-HO Saga through 15 July 2010.

On the Berlinerwerke-HO Continuation Page 2:
    Update of the Berlinerwerke-HO Saga from 15 July 2010.

On the main Horseshoe Curve Page:
    Prototype Horseshoe Curve Story
On the next page, Horseshoe Curve Continuation Page 1:
    Dimensions of the Horseshoe Curve - with HO (1:87.1) Scale Equivalents.
        a mile-by-mile and even foot-by-foot guide to the Curve.

On the Horseshoe Curve Continuation Page 2:
    {reference page only - no content to date}

On the Horseshoe Curve Continuation Page 3:
    Dimensions of the Horseshoe Curve in N (1:160) and Z (1:220) Scales.

On the Horseshoe Curve Continuation Page 4:
    Satellite Photo of the Horseshoe Curve, with description of features.

On the other RR pages:     S. Berliner, III's Pennsylvania Railroad Page
    S. Berliner, III's Railroad Page
    S. Berliner, III's Model Railroad Page
    S. Berliner, III's Model Railroad Continuation Page
    S. Berliner, III's Z-Scale (1:220) Model Railroad Page,

The BERLINERWERKE (HO) Story, the story of the HO Berlinerwerke pike.
The full prototype story will also appear on these pages.
The Z-scale Berlinerwerke-Z Saga is on a separate page.

Visit these courtesy and official home pages:

Long Island Sunrise - Trail Chapter
(National Railway Historical Society)

Sunrise Trail Division
(Northeastern Region)
(National Model Railroad Association)

Ztrack Magazine
The Newsletter for Z Scale Model Railroading
Z-Scale is only 1:220 with rails only " apart!
It is about 2 times smaller than HO!

The Prototype HORSESHOE CURVE Story

On 18 Oct 97, I saw a film of the Sat./Sun. 12-13 September 1970 runs of the High Iron Company's Nickel Plate Berkshire 2-8-4 #759 running up the Curve and back, unassisted, with 15 heavyweight passenger cars at speed!  Wow!  I was there, but time dims even the keenest memories.  Wow, again!  It WAS 15 cars, I counted them; NOT 17 or 18 as I remembered.

Much more to follow and see Satellite Photo of the Horseshoe Curve, with description of features.

The actual PRR (1:1) HORSESHOE CURVE

'62 EROS Satellite View of HSC
(EROS Data Center ABIVALR 00000003 73, 05 Jun 62)
[Thumbnail image; click on picture for larger image.]

NORTH is at the top.

A full description of features (and another copy of this photo) are available on Continuation Page 4 at Satellite Photo.


April 1961 Photo of the Original 4' x 6' Berlinerwerke
April 1961 HO Berlinerwerke


Unedited (except for consistency and editorial typos) text of the Berlinerwerke Saga from Vol. No. 42, the March 1974 issue of the Long Island CANNONBALL, the publication of the Sunrise Trail Division, Northeastern Region, National Model Railroad Association, pp. 5,6, and 9:



(titled by the Editor after a kind of Norwegian cookie)

{not in article but you may as well see
 what they are - Berlinerkranze:}

I've been studying the Pennsy's Horseshoe Curve in great detail for duplication -- at full scale -- in one end of my basement (HO-Scale, of course!), and the film of Edison's turn-of-the-century camera run-through that unreeled at our Rockville Centre meet {NMRA/NER/STD} was an absolute joy.  - - - {unrelated material deleted} - - -

I have a wealth of info on Pennsy steam, a '41 Cyclopedia, a 6' x 14' pike with no real scenery (its a yard) but with 39 turnouts (29 auto and 10 manual).

The outer loop is -mile (.499925 Smiles, to be exact).  My NWSL Crown Willamette 2-8-8-2T* mallet has taken over 3 hours to make that -mile circuit, i.e., under 1/6 mph!! That's on two 34" radius bends and two 8' tangents.  Any challengers? - - - {unrelated material deleted} - - - From a VW railcar and Plymouth JDT diesel to a DD40 or B&O EM-1 Yellowstone, there are over 20 powered locos and railcars, and there are cars from 30' to 96' {would you believe there's one over 283' - 39" in HO - now?}.  Minimum operating radius is 29-1/2", but there are a few brutally restricting curves of 14-15" curvature for totally abnormal operation (such as a continuous reversing loop across the turntable for when I'm feeling lazy).  A crude sketch appears herewith because I know Ye Editor be desperate.

[* - typo! That should read 2-6-6-2T (#12)]
{Also, the basic layout is now 31½' long, with 8' banjos at each end!}

{that was on 29 Jan 2004}

A crude sketch also appears herewith of how one goes about fitting a scale Horseshoe Curve into a workable running pike.  Its only about 86" radius, fellas!!

We get to blame Ira Rothberg {since deceased} for starting this; he twisted my arm to get off my butt and write, so I am.  Maybe some day I'll get around to the story (fabricated, of how my mythical great-grand uncle Weiner Berliner (pronounced Vee'ner Bearlee'ner) founded the Berlinerwerke and relocated to the oll U. S. and A., or all about the Norfolk and Wetson, Commodore Vandergilt's Burgherline (the Patroon System).  Many of the local intelligencia (those folks what likes railroading) are aware that I am an inveterate and unbridled cornball. Nowhere is this more evident than in the names of the affiliated and subsidiary roads of my Berlinerwerke, America, firm.  But, more on that next time!!

(Ed. Note: More "Berliner Kranse" scheduled for next CANNON BALL, including the Berlinerwerke, America story that's certain to set y'al1 rolling in the aisles.)

BW early 1974 version.

The lowest track was added to this diagram AFTER publication;
it represents my earliest idea of how to get off the BW table to go around the Curve.

Unedited (except for consistency and editorial typos) text of the Berlinerwerke Saga from Vol. No. 44, the September 1974 issue of the Long Island CANNONBALL, the publication of the Sunrise Trail Division, Northeastern Region, National Model Railroad Association, page 3:

October 1962 "Panoramic" Photo(s) of the Expanded 4' x 12' Berlinerwerke (6' plus 6' addition):

October 1962 HO Berlinerwerke - expanded

October 1962 End View of the Expanded 4' x 12' Berlinerwerke:

October 1962 HO Berlinerwerke - end view


So, kinder, you haf returned for more of the story, ja? Gut,,ve vill begin.

Once upon a time, no one remembers exactly when, Great-grand-uncle Weiner Berliner (pronounced Vee'ner Bearlee'ner, remember?) founded a small iron works somewhere in Germany.  It prospered mightily, but the Kaiser's excesses angered old Weiner until he quietly folded up shop and brought all the equipment and much of the staff with him to America.  He set up shop at Mineola Junction, later moving the headquarters to Glen Cove, up the Oyster Bay line.  Business picked up in this country and soon a major new plant had to be considered.  Contrary to any popular misconceptions, the facility was set up on the banks of the Little Conemaugh River, near the town of Cresson just over the crest of the Allegheny Mountains from the Horseshoe and Muleshoe Curves, by the right of way of the old Allegheny Portage Railroad and some 10 miles upstream from the Johnstown Flood dam site.  Very historical and impressive area!

Here he developed a most fascinating offshoot of the original business.  The Berlinerwerke began to specialize in repairs and restoration of all sorts of old steam engines, automobiles and trucks, and all sorts of other mechanisms.  The variety of rolling stock and loads to be seen at the works was simply fantastic and tourists began to come from far and wide to watch the endless procession of wonders.  One time, a customer defaulted on a major renovation job and left Weiner holding an ancient loco by lien.  Not one to miss an opportunity, he placed it with several other old engines in an area he then called the museum and charged a nominal admission, which also included a tour of the works.  This, in turn, led to all sorts of other tourist attractions, including a miniature railway for the children.  So much publicity was generated that the Berlinerwerke began to get orders for new equipment and for special modifications to standard machinery.  Top brass from major customers came in private cars.  Demonstration runs usually went out behind steam for the publicity value.  This soon developed into an excursion and fan trip business, all on its own.

Today, the Berlinerwerke is a giant conglomerate of many transportation activities.  From the modest iron works, it has grown to control a maze of subsidiaries and divisions.  The basic firm continues to build,and repair heavy rail and automotive equipment, as well as to run the museum.  Heavy steam, and now diesel, power runs off line for publicity when making deliveries of any possible interest to the public.  A large assortment of giant cars - flats, drop-centers, schnables, high-cubes - and all sorts of heavy lifting equipment is on the property.  Virtually any age and kind of rolling stock can be seen.

My brother-in-law grew up on the Moffat Road (his dad helped build it) and his Hamilton and North Zulch, located outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, connects with the shops in Glen Cove via the Paumanok and Conodoguinet'Connecting RR (note that Paumanok means Long Island and Conodoguinet is a creek running into the Susquehanna near my sister's house below Enola Yard) and with the Cresson shops via the Northfork and Western; both are BW subsidiaries.  The Northfork and Western also runs along the North Shore of Long Island, with incredibly heavy steam and diesel drag freights for Rhode Island and Boston across the new Sound Bridge from Greenport.  There has been talk of a competitive Norfork and Wetson (March 1974 Cannon Ball), the Burgher Line of Commodore Vandergilt's Patroon System.  This line.will run an Oscar and a Piker (Walthers greatly-abbreviated heavyweight passenger cars) behind an ex-Pennsy Z-6s Paspoofic 4-2-2 {now known as the Arctic class} and is due to open this April lst or next; it is not considered as a serious threat.  The H&NZ is the route of the famous Yampa Valley Male (the Road of the Chauvinist Pig), whose sole customer,is the D&RGW - the Diaphragm and Rubber Goods Works.  A single private stock car is in progress, no more funds are available although a loan may be floated as a trial balloon.

Tours are run behind miscellaneous steam, but an Alco/Athearn PA-PB lashup (with flywheels and electrically m-u'd) has been acquired from E-L and will be redecorated under the Skunks Misery Excursion Road banner.  Like the old LIRR run to Mineola, we run a battery car here in Glen Cove on the Lattingtown, Landing, and Locust Valley Light 'Lectric Line (the "L", Local LCL Lading, "Go to L").  Much heavy tonnage moves via our DD Diesel Delivery Dept. (Dependable Drayage) running a DD-40, a 10-ton Plymouth JDT, and someday a DD-1 pair with a B-unit between to provide juice {later this became the fabled DD3 with two Alco PB units between}.  The DD-4O is scheduled for drastic alteration to a new class by April 1st {this became the famous DDP-45!}.  BW runs a LI H9/10s, the original LI 401 Alco-GE-IR B-B road diesel (no Virginia, it wasn't scrapped), an 0-6-0T, an 0-4-2T Vulcan (no longer running but still on the property {see below}}, a RDG A-5 0-4-0 goat, a VW rail car {bus}, a Baldwin 2-6-6-2T creeper mentioned in the March issue, a gas-electric private car, a 20-ton Whitcomb diesel {see below}, the real CNJ 1000 Alco-GE-IR first diesel switcher (no MDC plastic, either), and various uncompleted or unimaginable units, plus an original Tenshodo J-3a NYC 4-6-4 Hudson and an 0-4-0 Shifter on loan {still on the property!}.

Layout Expansion through the Horseshoe Curve

Horseshoe Curve Map (drawn 30 Aug 74 for BW, revised 08 Feb 75).
(Click on map for larger image)
Horseshoe Curve Map (drawn 30 Aug 74 for BW, revised 08 Feb 75)

After considerable research and several trips, it turns out to be quite feasible to model the Horseshoe Curve in full scale.  Only minor selective compression and alteration are required in the surrounding areas; the curve itself will be in true scale.  The curve, located on the eastern slope of the Alleghenies snakes up the sides of two opposing hills to gain 122' of elevation in a horizontal separation of only a quarter of a mile, with 1.75% to 1.78% approach and departure grades and 1.45% on the curve itself (about 0.2 and 0.175 "/' rise).  Because the two calks of the horseshoe would.take up most of the cellar, they must be shortened and blended into other features.  The curve is a 9° 15' curve, which calculates out to 625', or 86.1" radius in HO.  Since it is a four-track line, the Pennsy mainline from Philadelphia through to the West, I am using 86" as the median, with 83, 85, 87, and 89" radii.  The calks, that is the sides of the shoe, are some 3,500' (40' HO) long on the south (uphill) side and around 6,000' (70' HO) on the north (downhill) leg.  At those approximate points, they curve out of sight down to Altoona and up to Tunnel Hil1 and Gallitzin.  They pinch in a bit at the curve and then spread outward slightly.  The true curve is 220° long, nearly 5/8 of a full circle.  This pinching effect makes it difficult to model with my existing layout crammed in the middle, so the major fudging is to drop about 5° from the curve at the high end {and} shorten both calks.  The reduced circumference pulls the Kittaning Point cut (with the park and K-4s 1361 {since swapped for GP-9 7048}) right into the middle of the far basement wall, with Glenwhite and Kittaning Runs in the corners of the allotted space.  So far, so good.  What about the calks?

Well, the high end to the south, which is west of the curve in mainline parlance goes around two peaks in a huge flat-bottomed U-turn just 1 miles across, then past Allegrippus (where the early PRR loco of that name fell off the mountain) and up Sugar Run some 3 miles to Tunnel Hill, where it is joined by the Hollidaysburg Branch coming in from the Muleshoe Curve via the old Portage RR right-of way.  We simply straighten out the U-turn, paint the peaks on the wall, fake the junction with the branch, and - voila!  Tunnel Hill!  We then pull a similar funny on the other calk, heading downhill toward Altoona, eastbound, we allow the mainline to run merrily into the underside of the cellar stairs and fake a left turning junction, 4 tracks wide, north into Scotch Gap Run (some 2,000' short of the real spot where such a turnout could actually fit the contours.  This is the new trackage of the little known (mildly understated, eh?) but critically important Wopsononock Northern RR.  Here is the whole key to some vague semblance of sanity to the layout.  By utilizing the WN trackage, we can bypass Altoona and pick up the Northfork and Western trackage right into NYC and LI!  Amazing, ain't it?

Now, we only have to work out the detailing of the WN at one end and the Tunnel Hill/Gallitzin complex and tying in to the existing Berlinerwerke facility (now determined to be in the vicinity of Cresson, Pa.) at the other.

We have some more fudge factoring to do at Tunnel Hill and Gallitzin.  The e/b tracks are separated from the w/b at the Gallitzin wye on the far west end of town.  The wye is 1,000' across and the spread continues to about the west portals which are nearly 2,000' apart.  I do not need the wye here, don't have room for it anyway, and, surprise - surprise!, found at the curve that the helpers no longer turn on the wye there but continue on to Cresson, to be serviced at a mini-yard in the Cresson wye.  It just so happens that I need a wye at my version of Cresson (so what if it faces the wrong way?).  The only other discrepancies are that the tracks at Tunnel Hill/Gallitzin are at two different levels, with the w/b slightly higher and crossing over the e/b leg of the Hollidaysburg junction.  Here, we will look the other way and reverse the contours and exaggerate it, even more to get a good vertical separation to give the impression of greater horizontal room than we really have on the back wall where all this will hang.  This also ties in nicely with the way the e/b and w/b tracks come up out of the Berlinerwerke table.  There is only one tunnel for the e/b tracks, which join on each side of the hill.  That doesn't suit my desire for truly independent lapping on two mainline oval, twisted dogbones, so the tremendous increase in traffic created by the WN justifies a new bore.  Again, there is actually room for such at Gallitzin, so its not too unrealistic.

The really inventive part comes at Sugar Gap!  Here, we are going to follow the 1,600' contour up Sugar Gap Run with the e/b line only, duck under the Ruckberg ("back mountain", created out of the ridge above the north end of the curve for just this purpose) and just disappear.  Almost simultaneously, and rather a bit hard to believe, a very familiar looking consist may pop out of the portal at Chestnut Flats on the w/b track and run down Mil1 Run to Kreisdorf ("loop town") on the flats, where it will join the e/b rails for the long curve uphill to the PRR junction under the stairs (I mean just below the Horseshoe!).  Kreisdorf is just a servicing facility and crew town, not up by the Wopsononock (love that name, it's real) Northern, nothing much to look at.

BW drawn 29 Aug 1974, as revised  17 Mar 1979.
Special features that you may find worthy of note include the flying crossover at East Bend and the double scissors crossover in the e/b track just to the left of the main panel.  The flying one serves a very important function on such a long pike; it allows the equipment to get even wheel wear by equalizing the curvature in both left and right hand turns.  Go ahead, check me out; there are 4 lefts and 4 rights in a single lap, or 8 each in a full circuit of all mainline track.  For continuous running, on the full mainline, we need either a complex switching arrangement or just the scissors at East Bend (beyond the BW yard limit, but within easy reach of the panel - this is a one-man pike, you know!) with all four turnouts set right.  It only requires one of those sloppy commercial diamond crossings with independent thru wiring and a plastic frog.  No special wiring or controls are needed!  Some of you may feel the need to carp at the lack of a hidden yard under the Ruckberg, (the latter could still happen if I ever recover from the cost of all the track and lumber), but this gives me my dream layout with virtual1y unlimited running room for big power pulling heavy and long loads.  Now, if my wife cares to give up her half of the basement - - - -

{Well, it didn't quite work out that way and the layout has still not been expanded through the Curve but it is great for dreaming and armchair railroading and my (now ex-)wife is really nice about using so much of the basement, so it may yet happen.  Major changes in the track plan include putting in three more scissors crossovers between the primary and secondary off-table tracks and the primary, secondary, and tertiary loops on the table (yes, there is now a third loop inside the other two) and dropping the diamond crossing so that by having all the scissors crossovers set reverse one can run a single engine all the way around all five tracks without ever touching the panel [whil(e)(st) tinkering, machining, or whatever!}

{This is as good a place as any to show the monster drawing of the existing Berlinerwerke-HO and proposed expansion through the Horseshoe Curve (drawn as of 08 May 2002); the expansion has not yet progressed beyond elevation of the westbound portion of the "High Line" at the lower left of the main table.  The original 4'x6½' board shown above was quartered and spliced 'way back, and then the left 4'x8' extension was added, and then the 8'x8' banjos were added on each end.  Bridgework to carry the "High Line" over the corner of the roundhouse and some means of geting off the table will follow.  This drawing, which is in Autosketch format as drawn (at ~135.5Mb), had to be converted to a Window Metafile (*.wmf) of nearly 2.5Mb and that, in turn, to a GIF file of 155Kb (uploaded at 137Kb) and with a JPEG file of 209Kb uploaded as a thumbnail at 89Kb:}

BW Autosketch Dwg. 08 May 02
08 May 2002 drawing by and © S. Berliner, III -2002 - all rights reserved.)
[Thumbnail image; click on the picture for a very much larger image.]

{There are some real oddities here; many lines vanished in the translation and were "doctored" back in by hand, some of the grades along the wall are just plain wrong, most elevations are missing, and various other minor details are dubious.  Also, circles are rendered as polygons in the converson.  Nevertheless, the overall picture is quite accurate.}


(Adapted from an update of articles in the March 1974 (Vol. No. 42, page 3) and the September 1974 (Vol. No. 44, pages 5, 6, and 9) of the "Long Island CANNON BALL", the newsletter of the Sunrise Trail Division, Northeastern Region, National Model Railroad Association.  If the update, ca. 1988-1992, was ever published, I've lost track of such.  One problem here is that I only just now am able to HTTP upload Autosketch graphics, so there are few accompanying illustrations yet.  When I can get around to it, I'll combine the old and current articles on the BW and give full coverage.)

Separation and restructuring of the Horseshoe Curve and Berlinerwerke-HO pages moved this onto
the Berlinerwerke-HO Continuation Page 1, where you will find the Update of the Berlinerwerke-HO Saga through 15 July 2010,
and to the Continuation Page 2, where you will find the Update of the Berlinerwerke-HO Saga from 15 July 2010.

If you are reading this page, you may well be a Pennsy fan, in which case there are endless sites for you to surf; one that really got me, however, is Rob Schoenberg's, on which he has a PRR station sign maker, which allows you to assemble a Pennsy-style station sign in color, letter by letter.  I'm trying to go Rob one better by adding a space, a hyphen, and an apostrophe, and by superimposing a keystone outline (ya gotta have a keystone to make it a REAL make-believe Pennsy station sign!).

Here are a few of the antiques still on the property:

Penn Line 20-ton Whitcomb
Penn Line 20-ton Whitcomb 0-B-0 Diesel - even with replacement geared wheelsets
courtesy of Lew English (of Bowser fame), she runs about as well
as a four-cylinder car on one cylinder!

  Athearn Vulcan 0-4-2T
Athearn's "'Lil Monster", a Vulcan 0-4-2T - this poor old beast, my second engine (ca. 1960),
still could run but the plastic worm is so worn that it needs help to go forward;
she runs backwards beautifully!

  AristoCraft 0-6-6-0
AristoCraft 0-6-6-0 Mallet - runs like a dream but won't pull worth a damn -
only the rear engine is powered.
This engine was advertised at one time (ca. 1965?) as "Old Maude",
but that was the first American Mallet, a B&O engine much shorter
and bulkier than this slim gem.

Photos by SB,III
(to be relit and reshot)

On my Model Railroad page 4, I added a Railroad Grades chart, with the major Horseshoe Curve grades included.

For tall tales of the BW and its equipment and such,
visit the Berlinerwerke Apocrypha page.

NMRA Logo You may wish to visit the Railroad Continuation Page, et seq.

of this series of Railroad pages, as well as the: HUB DIVISION


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

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