Member Profiles

Mark A. Cowles
Port Authority Terminal RR
(A wholly owned subsidy of the Great Lakes Central Railroad System and affiliated with the Detroit & Charleviox Railroad & Steam Navigation Company)

The railroad is a 4′ x 8′ layout with a very small peninsula jutting off one corner.  The layout has a backdrop scene divider, effectively making it into two 2′ x 4′ segments.

The railroad is envisioned as being a terminal line serving a large urban area with a car float / carferry connection.  It is a synthesis of the warehouse canyons along the Cuyahoga River valley in Cleveland, Ohio, a.k.a. the “Flats”, along with the operations of the car floats and the pocket railroads and yards that served the New York City area combined with the river ferries of Detroit, and the railroads of Toledo, Ohio.

I grew up next to the Nickel Plate Road, and now live in a town served by the Ann Arbor and the Pere Marquette/C&O, which accounts for most of the motive power.  I also lived in Connecticut and met the New Haven twice daily, as my dad commuted into the city on it.  I rode the Burlington, the CB&Q, for four years while attending college, with a dorm room adjacent to the Rock Island’s Golden State route.  This accounts for much of the rest of the motive power, although it is usually restricted to the club layout.  I’m working towards an era of about 1963, but not fanatically so.

If you need a quasi-prototype situation, lets say that the Maumee River Bridge in Toledo was knocked down by a storm, and to avoid any further interference with navigation, car ferries replaced it.  Hey, it’s my world!

The layout is operated as a switching layout, with approximately 54 specific siding locations.  Currently it is a solo operation, but could be set up for two or three operators, if I ever got the wiring done.  I operate it as if I were the local crew, throwing most of the switches myself, and determining the switching order.

Because cars are often removed for use on the LaNtrak layout, I needed a system that took that into account.  I use a simplified card system, with all cars coming off of the float, and returning to it.  As cars come off the float, they are assigned, by drawing a card, to a particular siding, based on the type of car.  As crew, I really don’t care where the car has come from, or where it is going after return delivery to the boat, nor for the most part what is in it.  The rate clerks can worry about that.  Uncoupling is done by the crew, and with sharp curves, some coupling also has to be manually assisted.  Normally, about eight cars come off the float, and a full operating sessions takes about 90 (real) minutes, if I don’t screw it up.  If I just switch the yard, it takes about 30 minutes.

Remember, Model Railroading is Fun!  


Bob Holmes
Wakefield, Houghton And Trout Lake – Fathfully replicating that which never existed.

My railroad is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and could be said to be a reincarnation of the DSS&A.  The line connects Wisconsin (I get a little foggy as to where exactly) with Canada (more fog on this end too).

WHAT serves the mining, logging and manufacturing needs of the central UP as well as transporting overhead traffic.

Like a number of short line railroads, WHAT seems to have built up a strange collection of motive power.  Only a few locomotives wear full WHAT paint, most bear the image of their prior owners, sometimes with small WHAT reporting marks, sometimes not.  Identifiable home road power includes U23b, SD-45 and C-628/C-630 models. Leased power runs both large and small and includes SD-45, B-40-8, GP-15-1, B-23-7, GE 70t and others.  The majority of the locomotives still wear previous owners paint without any WHAT reporting marks and include GP-40-2, SD-40, SD-35, GMD-1, F-3a/b, F-7a/b, MP-15dc and others.

While I don’t have a specific era in mind, most of the rolling stock is more or less current.

I use a car card/waybill system to ‘operate’ and can accommodate up to 4 operators using the MRC Prodigy Advance2 DCC system.


Mike Shollack
Grant Junction

I became a LanTrak member in September of 2014 and had very little model railroad experience before joining. I did have some model building and painting and scenery making experience prior to becoming a LanTrak member and that experience has helped.  I have found that LanTrak is made up of a group of individuals with a very rich amount of model railroad expertise and they are great at sharing that information and way beyond that are the friendships that I have made with some very nice people…

My railroad is grandkid inspired. All of my family members are represented in some form on my layout. I have chosen to model the Erie Lackawanna and Pere Marquette lines in the 1940 to 1974 era.

Along with the home layout I have two modules and have adopted (scenery and etc) one of the club’s corner modules. I also have designs on making a three module yard to use at shows when the big yard (five modules) that the club has access to is not available.

Current plans are to build two new railroads at grand children’s houses. Both will be dogbone style. One will be based on Yokohama, Japan where that family lived for about 16 months. I also have plans and materials set aside for a redo of the Grant Junction into a L shaped, shelf style layout – 7′ X 11′ with double track mainlines.

I’m looking forward to many years of friendship, fun and events ahead…hope to see you there!