Although I never met Marty in person, I was aware of his larger-than-life presence from the magazines and OGR forum (I still have the Dec. 1991 issue that featured his spectacular toy train layout). When I learned of his illness, I like many of you, was affected, from a sympathetic and admittingly from my own mortal perspective. After Marty passed away, for some inexplicable reason, I became interested in catenary - and I recalled Marty's layout had been an early adoption of functioning catenary.

Low and behold, I subsequently somehow stumbled upon the OGR DVD - Great Layout Adventures volume 13. I don't remember how I found it, maybe from reading the forum, word of mouth, or perusing OGR's web store, don't recall exactly. Anyway, as I already had volumes 1-11, I don't know how I missed volumes 12 and 13! I recently purchased both and just last night finished watching volume 13.

I don't know if the video reviews were already discussed on the forum, and I won't try to describe the layouts or the interviews with the builders, suffice it to say they're very nice. Marty was a genuine proponent of the hobby and his passion and good nature become quickly evident in the interview. Dave Connolly's layout and interview followed Marty's, and then John Coy's and Steve Nelson's (aka Mr. Muffins) layout and interviews. All of these guys are great model railroaders and are also are nice guys. I chose the Blue Ray DVD version because I have a 55" HD TV - thus all the better to watch as compared to a laptop or tablet.

If you never met Marty, or any of the other layout builders, this is a great way to understand a little more about what goes into building a dream layout and getting to know the builders.

BTW: volume 12 was also very good. I actually don't have the time to do a detailed review on either DVD, but just know that they exist. I sincerely hope that OGR and others continue to make more DVDs in the future...I understand that on-line/YouTube videos are taking over and that's where the demand is, but I for one prefer Blue Ray DVDs...wondering if that makes me old school - just like preferring print vs. digital magazines  


Last edited by Paul Kallus
Original Post

I have personally see Marty's layout when he was alive and he told me when he built the layout with catenary he told me he built each catenary stand from scratch and he built the whole catenary system the way he thought Lionel would have built it in his mind  . he welded all the brackets and stands from scratch and it worked flawlessly . with out any problems ! catenary was his favorite as he grew up in Philadelphia where they had catenary at the time he was growing up  !


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Last edited by Alan Mancus

Marty's layout is amazing; photos don't do it justice. I had the opportunity to visit his home several times over the last 3 years and each time I saw / learned something new. I have a doctor appt. every 6 months in Boston, and afterward, I would stop to visit Marty & Dotty before heading for home. I would email him a few days before coming to Boston to ask if he would be around, and he would always say, "Yes. Come by." 

Upon walking down the stairs into his train room, you are immediately surrounded by the layout and trains, and it was very easy to feel Marty's enthusiasm and passion for our hobby. He truly was larger than life. I'm going to miss what became my "regular" visits with him and Dotty, and it makes me sad to know he is gone and the lights in his train room are off. 

While Marty is no longer with us, Paul's suggestion to get the videos that feature him is a great way to keep his memory alive. The TM Toy Train Revue #5 from 2015 is another must-have DVD if you want to see Marty & his layout.


Great Layout Adventures 13

“13” is definitely not an unlucky number when it comes to this video!
Great Layout Adventures 13 features four very different layouts built by four great people.
  • Toy trains run under catenary on the late Marty Fitzhenry’s layout
  • Ride the Glacier Lines on John Coy’s layout
  • Enjoy weathered trains and great scenery on Dave Connolly’s layout
  • Check out Mr. Muffin’s huge in-store layout
  • Kadee Coupler Demo

1 hour and 37 minutes of Great Layout Adventures in this video!


Rich Melvin

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