The Allegheny and Eastern is a free lanced road very loosely modeled on the Pennsylvania Railroad in central Pennsylvania and New Jersey. There is no specified era, so modern diesels and modular freight coexist happily with turn of the (20th) century steam and wooden cars.
The layout is designed primarily for operation, so each town can be switched without fouling the main, thus enabling simultaneous operation of several trains. The layout is loop to point. One point (Port Delaware) is a main yard, engine facility, maritime terminal, interchange and several industries. Another point is Carteret, which has a coal-to-oil synfuel plant, a cement works and an interchange. Several towns are accessed from the loop, which include a coal mine, a petrochemical plant among other industries, as well as passenger stations. The loop connects to the points via a wye, so that trains can be reversed by traversing the loop. This greatly facilitates operations.
Most trains are turns originating in Port Delaware and going to only one town. Some trains have more complex schedules, running, e.g. from Port Delaware to various towns on the loop, then to Carteret and back through the loop to Port Delaware.
A car card system is used to route cars. Four movements can be accommodated on each card. After completing each move, the card is advanced to the next movement for the next train to come into town. Thus, routing is automatic. By using 2 or 3 movements per card instead of 4, cars are effectively “shuffled” and trains do not repeat themselves.
We operate the layout at least once a month as part of any operating group, so there is the continual stream of improvements, suggestions, repair notices, etc., which do so much to keep up interest.