The CapitalPenNScalers modular model railroad group welcomed visitors to the restored Annville train station at 155 N. Moyer St. on Saturday to see a display by the group that’s prepared annually for Historic Old Annville Day.

The Annville train station was moved to its current site at 155 N. Moyer St. in the late 1990s and restored by Friends of Old Annville. Today it serves as the official headquarters of Friends of Old Annville. The train station sites along the former Reading Railroad line, today used by Norfolk Southern.

The display consists of 10 NTRAK modules, one of a number of N-scale modular standards that makes it possible for modules to be easily combined and operate as a combined system.

Four of the modules in the display were constructed by father-son duo Bruce and Chris Kohr. Bruce Kohr said he’s been doing this a long time, starting with an HO set his dad had when he was 12, but N scale takes less space, just 1/160th scale compared to 1/87.1 scale. Kohr said he’s been with the Capital PenNScalers since 2010.

Chris Kohr said he thinks of their city module as a little New York. Kohr pointed to some of his favorite parts of the module, including a food truck courtyard and a set of track-adjacent row homes.

Darrel Moyer said that the tradition started about 20 years ago and happens annually with Historic Old Annville Day.

Construction of a single module can take up to 25 hours. Each module consists of three tracks that can connect to another module, with the tracks located at precise positions on the board to allow them to be hooked up to any module constructed according to the standard.

Joe Palenchar (left) and Chris Kohr observe trains in operation during Saturday’s display at the Annville train station.

Joe Palenchar built the train yard modules visible below. Palenchar said he’s been building modules for about 20 years, and pursuing an interest in N scale trains even longer than that.

5-year old George Gerstner and 8-year-old Frederick Fritz Gerstner check out the trains in Annville on Saturday, June 18. Frederick was watching a passing Norfolk Southern train while his brother observed one of the model trains making the curve in the 10-module display.

The hand-crafted modules are full of interesting details and touches. The grass effect you see is achieved by laying ground-up colored foam with a matte medium.

Trains on the display are controlled in two different ways. Traditionally DC power was supplied to the track in variable voltage through a decoder, which in turn controlled the speed of the engines. While that method is still used, increasingly models are using decoders in the trains themselves, some of which can be controlled through a radio remote or even an app interface.

Darrel Moyer shows off an app, Engine Driver, which allows a decoder in a train to be controlled remotely through an easy-to-use interface.

The train display will again be operating on Tuesday, June 21, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 25, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Tuesday, June 25, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

After that, the group will be taking the display to the Hershey History Center (40 Northeast Drive) on Saturday, July 9, and Sunday, July 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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