Friday, March 22, 2019

New England, Berkshire & Western Finds New Home

The New England, Berkshire & Western Railroad (NEB&W) has found a new home. 

Earlier I reported that the layout, built and maintained by the Rensselaer Model Railroad Society (on the campus of the Renssaelaer Polytechnical Institute), needed to move from its current location due to the need for renovations.

At that time, the club had nowhere to go. The plan was to cut up the layout and put into storage.

To avoid that scenario, the club issued a plea for “massive amounts of publicity” in an effort to “reach some wealthy benefactor, or even just convince the school the importance of not letting us wither away in storage.”

Their effort seems to have worked; according to a report by the Institute, the layout will “soon be moved to a location that will allow the public better access to its miniature re-creations of communities from Troy to the Canadian Border set in 1950.”

The new home will be a space leased by the Institute at 258 Hoosick Street in Troy.

“This move is uncovering a hidden gem and elevating it to a position of prominence in the community,” said Dalton Slegel, the president of the Model Railroad Society.

“We are honoring the historical connections between Rensselaer alumni and railroading heritage, as well as the immense contributions of club members over many decades.”

This summer the club’s current home, Davison Hall will undergo renovations, including removal of asbestos insulation and the removal and replacement of aging water and heating pipes located directly above and around the NEB&W layout.

In addition to being more publicly accessible, the new space will provide the club with additional space to expand the layout.

Adirondack Studios and Clarke Dunham of Dunham Studios, which specializes in model railroads, has been contracted “to develop and execute a plan to safely remove the railroad from the basement of Davison Hall, provide secure temporary storage, and reassemble it at the new location.”

The relocation should be completed by fall.

Photo above from TrainMasters TV.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Great Canadian Model Railroad: CN and CP in Belgium

As you may recall, the first word I wrote was: “Wow.”

Well, “wow” again—this time about the club layout Evan is involved in.

The layout, which features modern Canadian railways, is in a 24 by 24-foot room in an old school, going around the walls with a central peninsula.


In an adjacent room there is a loop of track to connect to lower staging level. The club plans to add an extra loop and coal loading facility.

The layout, which is still under construction, features prototype areas such as Alyth Yard and engine terminal in Calgary, Blackie, AB and Ashcroft, Elkview mine and Sparwood, BC.

One of the special highlights is the Cargill elevator. I asked Evan who made it.

“Everybody of the club made a contribution to the building,” he wrote. “One specialised in the lights, another built it and another painted.

The silos are from a Walthers cornerstone kit, and the rest is scratchbuilt based on pictures found on the web, he says.

The building is “totally made out of styrene,” he adds, with things such as conveyors a mix of scratchbuilt and kit bashing.

“Altogether, seven members worked on it, including me,” he says. “So it’s a real club project.”

As for trains on the layout, they are a mix of CN and CP due to the interests of the members.

While most of the layout is permanent, two parts are modular: Ashcroft and Blackie. They can be taken to train shows.

For scenery, the club uses a base made out of Styrofoam, then covered with plaster cloth and Sculptamold. The ballast and dirt “are from mother nature, sifted to match HO scale,” Evan says.

The track is Peco Streamline code 83, with code 100 for the staging.

The layout is operated with walk-around DCC, with signaling and switches controlled by the dispatcher.

This is the second layout the club has built. The first was a portable layout, called the Nitinat River. It was set on Vancouver Island. It was featured in Great Model Railroads 2013.

(A post about that layout will come soon!)

While few people model Canadian railways in Belgium, Evan says the club's work “is known and well appreciated.”

“The goal is to organize operating sessions for visitors when the scenery is more evolved,” says Evan—so start planning your trip to Belgium now!

In addition to Evan, the other members of the club are Erwin, Erik, Paul, Alex, Xavier, Koen and Lode. 

You can see videos of the layout by clicking here, here and here.