Lackawanna Terminal Railway Track Plans
Updated 8/1/16

Train room size and mainline length:

The Grotto of Greed, within which is housed the Lackawanna Terminal Railway, measures approximately 28.5' by 24’ with a 156 square foot alcove for about 840 square feet of space. The access stairs and furnace with its ancillary equipment are in the center of the room leaving the walls free for the benchwork. The railroad is double level so the mainline runs approximately 260 linear feet with a double track helix that adds another 158 feet for a total length of 418 feet if the trains run the whole railroad which they normally do.

There are tracks which circle behind the helix on the upper and lowr levels allowing the railroad to be cut into two different railroads if that becomes desirable or necessary because of work being done on one level or the other. Those tracks are also used for staging; one for the coal train next to Sulfex Chemical Company on the upper level and the other at the bottom of the helix at CP ”Bill” on the lower level. Track is mostly code 83 flex with code 100 in the staging yard and helix. There is some code 70 in the National Chemical and Refining complex.


There is an eleven track dedicated, double-ended staging yard on the lower level. For operating purposes and convenience (and following the advice of Frank Ellison), it was designed to be out in the open; the right end of the staging yard represents Buffalo, NY; the left end represents Binghamton, NY. Trains, with some exceptions, are automatically staged for the next operating session when they enter the staging yard after a run. 

The Mainline:

The mainline was designed to be single track with lengthy passing siding to handle fairly long trains. If you face the railroad, no matter where you are in the room or which level you are looking at, right is always east and left is always west (that wasn’t in the plan, of which there was none, it just worked out that way). It also means that trains running side by side in the same direction through the double tracked helix are actually traveling in opposite directions. That also was not planned but is an interesting outcome of the design.

Track planning and design theory:

The entire railroad was built without a track plan and the benchwork limits were laid out on the floor with a framing square. tape measure, straightedge, and chalk. Consideration was first given to operator space needs, then reverse curve placement, staging, and finally, how the mainline connects to everything with the lineside industrial strength to provide a vital need for rail service. Since the Lackawanna Termiinal is a railroad born in the seventies and runs now in the eighties, all industries are large enough to require the railroad for their existence. Some industries, such as National Chemical and Refining and Stradivaius Steel are massive and require dedicated switchers. There are, therefore, no “mom and pop” companies like the local lumber yard or fuel company. There are, though, abandoned sidings and yards that used to serve industry that no longer exists or have grown smaller in their needs. Below are the track plans for both levels. They are, hopefully, to be updated soon to reflect the latest changes.

Train length and engine assignments:

The standard length for a through train (non-stop Binghamton to Buffalo} is three engines and twenty eight cars though trains can exceed that length and some of the locals are shorter depending on the industries they intend to service during an operating session.

Upper Level Track Plan
Lower Level Track Plan
All track plans are the work of: Paul Tupaczewski
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