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 books for how to make a Lionel layout and was studied and drooled over by many of us:  me included.  I still have my falling apart 35 cent paperback second 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.

 PAL Magazine 5-22-2019 2019-05-22 008

 PAL Magazine 5-22-2019 2019-05-22 009

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PAL Magazine 5-22-2019 2019-05-22 007


Fall Layout

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Fall Layout

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Summer Layout

PAL #2 group 2019-05-22 007

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

PAL Magazine 5-22-2019 2019-05-22 011


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   Turntable and RH in distance

 Autumn Layout youtube link;index=12&t=0s

Spring Layout youtube link

Winter Layout youtube link

So there you have it, a great book Lionel 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.



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Original Post

Charlie; thanks for posting this info and providing me a virtual kick in the pants!

Visiting the Edgerton layouts has been on my bucket list since I re-entered the hobby in 1989.  Unfortunately I’ve not had any opportunity to be in the Rochester area over the last 30 years.  With retirement occurring May 31; maybe I can finally find the time during one of our PA family visits to make the trip up to Rochester.


Ted S

Thanks for the question on room size.  Fortunately I have both CTT and one OGR magazines issues and it took two to find some answers.

I do not have the size of the PAL Building BUT I have the room plot picture which is probably not to scale and shown below.  It is from CTT Aug 1991 and the size of each layout from OGR Oct 1989, run 107. 

Better PAL Pict OGR & CTT 5-24-2019 2019-05-24 046

Summer 24ft x 16ft,  Spring  26ft x 8ft,  Fall 27ft x 8ftm,  Winter 22ft x 8ft

The room sizes are larger than the layouts and there are open areas for people to view the layouts in each room.  But you can get the idea of how big the rooms are.



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Looks like the overall dimensions of the combined layouts occupy about 50 x 25.  If the grey is walking area, then obviously the room is much larger than that.  How I WISH I had that much space!!

What a unique and historic layout.  If I ever make it up to Rochester this is a must-see!!

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

Like the others, my exposure to the PAL layouts came through my little Bantam book. There was a magic and charm seen in those pictures of that layout that was in my Bantam book. Loved it. It's heartening to see that the layouts continue on!


I get to the port of Rochester at least twice a year and I've visited the club a number of times in the last several years.  Nice bunch of guys in the club, very welcoming.  The backdrops are still original as is most of the harbor scene.  It's definitely a must see if you get to that area.

I have wondered if the turntable on the PAL layout Summer layout was hooked up and operable.  I know the turntable on the famous Lionel 1949 Showroom layout and the 1993 version in Jackson, MS were not.

I watched the PAL 60th Anniversary and story link 3:43 min video of 2010 layout linked below


The following pictures were taken off my laptop screen from the above.

The first shows the almost never seen, in pictures or videos, the PAL turntable and part of the control panel, which a classic track diagram with control switches on it.  Do not know why the TT and Round House on the PAL Summer layout are usually missing in action in the CTT, OGR and PAL pictures and videos.  But maybe I am just too much interested in TT and RHs, my favorites areas of 50s era layouts.

PAL from laptop 5-25-2019 2019-05-25 001


The second picture shows the upper left area of the control panel with where the turntable and round house controls are.  It shows a large, dark circular knob of the turntable and round house selector switch and a turntable and roundhouse track power switch to the right of it.  I conclude that least the 2010 version of the PAL layout had a operating turntable and round house.

PAL from laptop 5-25-2019 2019-05-25 002           



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