Before I came across the New England Berkshire & Western
, I was just a typical model railroader. While there's certainly nothing wrong with creating your own fictional world and operating a fictional railroad within it, the NEB&W was my first exposure to prototype modeling. While the NEB&W is technically "proto-freelancing" (it never actually existed IRL, but it's easy to forget that), this was the first place I saw actual real-life scenes being replicated in model form and operated just like the prototype.
So whenever I get a chance to visit - and especially to operate - this railroad, I jump on it. It's one of the surest-fire ways to recharge my motivation and inspire my own proto-layout project. Here are a few pics from the past weekend's ops session. Whether you model New England railroads or not, I bet you'll see something that will get your modeling juices going....
|Here's a good example of what they're doing - a nice bridge scene on the model...|
|And right below it, on the fascia, is a picture of the prototype scene (unfortunately, I forgot to note the location). I used this same idea on my railroad. Even - or especially - when you don't have scenery, it helps show visitors what you're planning.|
|While the NEB&W has been around since at least the 1970s, they're always up to something new. Here's the start of their latest - a model of the Rutland's Addison Branch. This is where the famous covered bridge will go.|
|The famous East Shoreham covered bridge - image taken from a great website dedicated to the Addison Branch.|
|Another under-construction scene on the new Addison Branch.|
|When you enter the layout room(s), this is the first scene that you see on the right.|
|A little further down the line from the previous scene.|
|Looking back up the line. I'm only about 15 feet into the room at this point and already hitting modeling-inspiration-overload.|
|Chateauguay - the northern-most big city & yard on the railroad. The "Oldensburn & Lake Richilieu" comes from the north and interchanges here. Running the O&LR transfer job was my first task of the day.|
|Another view of Chateauguay - the O&LR track curves in front of Arendt Lumber. The rest of the track is NEB&W territory.|
|Forgot the name of this town, but love the scene since it looks very similar to the CT River Valley area I'm modeling.|
|North Bennington, VT.|
|Prototype photo for comparison (taken from here)|
|Bartonsville - The (prototype) covered bridge in this scene was washed away in 2012, but recently rebuilt.|
|Comparison prototype photo, taken from the NEB&W Facebook Fanpage (which, if you're into prototype modeling, I highly recommend - you'll see lots of side-by-side comparisons between the prototype and what they're modeling. Very inspirational!)|
|Scene inspired by the prototype Delaware & Hudson's line along Lake Champlain|
|Some fantastic bridge modeling in Green Isle|
It was a long but fun-filled day. We got through an entire 24hr operating day with, literally, dozens of trains, all run on a schedule governed by a 4:1 fastclock. Randy
deserves kudos for doing such a great job as dispatcher and it was great getting to spend some time with Bill
, Pete, new-friend George and other old friends.
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