March 2005 - Page 40
Saturday morning in the business district of Lorane, PA. A lone Reading SW crosses Fender Avenue after completing a setout at Lorane Steel. Finely detailed Brouses Drugstore is the prominent structure in this scene. 1948, the SV became, almost literally, a new railroad. The post-war recession and reconstruction were quickly overtaken by economic boom, but changing technology was rewriting the railroad formula. Passenger traffic began to shift to the highways and airways, and time sensitive freight soon followed. In the early 1950s modern signaling and CTC operations were put into effect. The SV took delivery of new streamlined and air-conditioned passenger cars in 1948. The SV began transition to dieselelectrics in 1949. Replacement of mainline power proved to be an enormous saving by eliminating the need for facilities to fuel and maintain steam. The last mainline steam operated in June of 1959 with the last steam switchers being gone by 1962. The SV still held onto some of its steam; some board members believed that the diesel wouldnt last. This conservative thinking, if not apprehension, would prove in later years, to be a boon for public relations and for just maybe a few railfans. company. For a variety of reasons, that location did not work out as expected. Therefore, in 1972, the club moved to its present location at 400 South Main St. in Phoenixville, PA. The original concept was to model the steam-to-diesel transition era, roughly the mid to late 50s. This was, and currently is, the layouts period. The concept behind the layout is to simulate (with liberties forced by scale, technology and available space) the facilities and operations of three mutually interdependent railroads within a hundred-mile radius. From its humble beginnings, the club has successfully grown over the past 33 years. Membership fluctuates between 15 and 30 members, averaging around 21 for the past ten years. The club has been described as a working mans club comprised of individuals from almost every walk of life. It is this diversity that has enabled the organization to build the club with the modeling result visitors observe. When one first enters the clubroom, they are greeted with the urban yards of both Philadelphia and Reading. As they
The Real Scenario
The organization that is today incorporated as the Schuylkill Valley Model Railroad Club began as a round-robin hobby group meeting informally at individual homes and personal layouts. The original founding of the club is attributed to Jerry Powell and Bill Civitello. Jerry ran an ad in the local newspaper, and in October 1968, the first official meeting took place in his living room. From 1969 thru 1972, the founders plus several newcomers made plans and started the construction of a layout in the basement of a real estate/insurance
An SV 4-8-2 Mountain makes its way past the hobo camp near the Lehigh & New England crossover.
40 MODEL RAILROADING