The Lionel 1949 Showroom Layout is widely known and respected and very popular for its realistic setting to show off Lionel trains of the 1950s.
Another less famous layout of that time were the PAL Police Athletic League layouts in Edgerton Community Center in Rochester, NY. These four layouts, representing the four seasons with realist scenery were built, starting in 1948 by volunteers and assisted by Lionel Train Co. The layout was made famous by coverage initially in the Lionel/Bantam paper back book "Model Railroading" published in the 1950s. This is one of the best Lionel written books for how to make a Lionel layout and was studied and drooled over by many of us: me included. I have a falling apart 50 cent paperback 3rd edition copy although I also have a later fifth edition copy. The Lionel "Model Railroading" had very good coverage of the four PAL layouts, one layout for each season set in Rochester: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. The layouts are in separate rooms and have some tracks that connect all four layouts. All four featured Lionel trains with realistic scenery and very good artistic paintings on the walls to showcase each layout. The Summer layout still has a turntable and round house and large freighter. The Fall layout is missing the drive-inn theater with the B & W TV and has been revised. The Winter layout is the one left more like the original and has new K-line track. The Spring layout has under gone the most change,with a new track plan with a huge viaduct crossing a valley and new GarGraves track.
For a quick 3:43 minute video of the 2010 Layout click below
Here is a link to another OGR Forum prior post on PAL
The updated layouts still have beautiful mountains, water, lots of bridges and of course those great wall paintings.
Notice the control panel, very similar to those on my layout! Also notice the great painted backgrounds on these three photos and the cover of the OGR magazine.
The Lionel 1949 Showroom layout was on display from 1949 and lasted about 10 years and was taken down and destroyed. There are not many movies of the layout but quite a few still photos. The 1949 layout was reproduced in the 1970s at a Jackson, MS mall and displayed over several months, and there is a good video, "Lionel Showroom Layout", on this layout which was also dis-mantled. There also are magazine articles on the layout.
The great thing about the PAL layouts is they still exist and you can go and see them. They have been updated some and other makes of trains are sometimes run. There are at least three detailed articles in train magazines:
OGR Run 107 in Oct 1989 by Fred Dole -This is the most complete and has great color pictures and four track plan diagrams
The late Fred Dole also made an excellent OGR video on PAL and lets you met Fred, see link below: click on video to make Full Screen or click # on icon bottom right
If you watch any of the listed videos you should watch this one. It must have been made by Fred and OGR as part of making the visit to write the article in OGR run 107, Oct 1989 shown above. This is a 15 min video.
The Home page of the PAL Edgeron Model Railroad Club where the above video was found
CTT June 1991 focuses on PALs history and the Police Athletic League and has mostly original black and white photos of the layout when recently built and has kids watching it
CTT August 1991 is a complete article with color layout pictures and has four track plan diagrams
Below are several Youtube links to watch the PAL layouts in action and worth your viewing.
PAL 60th Anniversary and story link 3:43 min video of 2010 layout
Summer Layout youtube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?...d18x7UWw&index=4 Turntable and RH in distance
Autumn Layout youtube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?...mp;index=12&t=0s
Spring Layout youtube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?...d18x7UWw&index=9
Winter Layout youtube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?...d18x7UWw&index=6
So there you have it, a great book Lionel's "Model Railroading" on the PAL layouts, three magazine detailed articles on PAL and the four layouts, and a great video on youtube. Best of all you can plan a trip to Rochester, NY and go see and tour the four seasonal PAL layouts in person. I hope I can arrange a trip soon.