The Schuylkill and Lehigh Railroad Club is dedicated to building, maintaining and operating a model train layout inside an actual 19th century passenger car (Coach Car #72) at the home of the WK&S Excursion Railroad located in Kempton, Pennsylvania.
The actual Schylkill and Lehigh Railroad was chartered in 1880 and operated over the same trackage as the WK&S does today. The Schuylkill and Lehigh ceased independent operations in 1923. The Schuylkill and Lehigh was acquired by the Reading Line and became the Schuylkill & Lehigh Branch of the Reading Railroad.
The coach car that contains the layout was an Atlantic City line coach car #72 built in 1889. The coach was later sold in the 1920's to the Ironton Railroad and converted to a tool car; windows were boarded up, seats removed, etc. In 1963 it was sold to the WK&S Railroad and moved to Kempton, Pennsylvania. Upon arrival it had no couplers nor did it have trucks. It was deliver to Kempton on a flatbed truck and place on the ground. A plywood ramp was fashioned to allow access to one end of the car. It was initially utilized as a static museum car. And over the years it was used to display various railroad memorabilia. In the early 1970's, the WK&S invited a group of men to create an HO gauge model train layout inside the coach car.
The Schuylkill & Lehigh Model Railroad Club was created as a result of that request. Construction of an HO model train layout began in the coach car about 1972 and the innaugural running of model trains began the spring of 1974. To this day the coach car continues to serve as the home of the Schuylkill and Lehigh Model Railroad Club.
The layout is a loose representation of the Schuylkill And Lehigh Branch of the Reading Railroad. The layout was originally built in the early 1970's and was introduced to the public in May, 1974 and has been evolving since that time. There is no admission fee to visit and enjoy enjoy the model train layout but a good-will donation is accepted and appreciated. Each year, with the help of visitor's good-will donations, the club's dedicated members replace old track with new track, install new switches, new model structures, scenery and up dates to operating equipment as needed.
In August of 2012, the club purchased and installed new carpeting. The color scheme of the carpeting was selected to closely resemble the Schuylkill & Lehigh colors and to handle the wear and tear of frequent visitors passing through the coach
car during each season. The following year the club members installed a new ceiling. In 2015 railings were added to the stairs at each end of the coach car and repairs were made to the platform at the north end of the car.