The Naugatuck Railroad

A quintessential, lower-New England town, Thomaston, Connecticut, was characterized by its Saint Thomas and First Methodist churches; its single, wind-swept, leave-blanketed Main Street; and the carved, jack-o-lantern faces peering out of the windows of its 19th-century buildings on a blue, but temperature-nipping Halloween weekend.

The red brick Thomaston Station, flanked by small hills whose increasingly thread-bare trees had relinquished their colorful leaves to autumn’s wind, had been fed by a single main track and was located next to the sprawling, equally red-bricked, but now closed Plume and Atwood Brass Mill. They both had a story to tell. Like the life-representing leaves released to history and relegated to memory, the location exuded a rich past, which I eagerly listened to as I awaited the Naugatuck Railroad’s 2:00 p.m. departure. Paradoxically, the silence was the loudest speaker.

Originally part of the Farmington Proprietor’s 1684 purchase of Mattatuck Plantation, Thomaston itself had achieved independence in 1739 as the “Northbury Parish,” uniting with the Waterbury Parish in 1780 to form Watertown, but separating almost as quickly and becoming “Plymouth Hollow.”

Seth Thomas, of timepiece fame, settled in the village in 1813. Expansion intermittently earned it the unofficial name of “Thomas Town” until it was permanently changed to the present “Thomaston” in 1875 to honor the very man who had largely been responsible for its existence.

His factories, now numbering many, churned out watches and mantel and tower clocks, and he was responsible for the Naugatuck Railroad’s routing through town in order for him to be able to link it with the ever-expanding brass center in Waterbury.

Chartered in 1845, the Naugatuck Railroad itself was created to connect Bridgeport in the south with Winsted in the north on Naugatuck River-paralleling track, its initial construction commencing three years later, in April, with service from the just-completed New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad junction to Seymour subsequently inaugurated on May 15, 1849. Extensions to Waterbury followed on June 11 and Winsted on September 24.

The former line, simply designated the “New Haven,” carried more passengers than freight on a route system which, at its peak, encompassed most of New England, stretching from New York to Providence and Boston, and it eventually acquired several other, smaller companies, including the Maine Central and the Boston and Maine. The Naugatuck Railroad was one of them. Initially leasing it on May 24, 1887, it altogether absorbed it 19 years later, in 1906, but passenger service was discontinued on more than half the line, from Waterbury to Torrington and Winsted, in 1958, and five years later the track was completely abandoned between these two cities.

Because of the weakening New England industrial base during the 1960s, which reduced demand for rail services, the New Haven Railroad was forced into a merger with Penn Central in 1969, but further deterioration, due to freight customer loss and track disrepair, resulted in its own bankruptcy. The line north of Waterbury had, by this time, been renamed “Torrington Secondary Track,” after its destination.

Incorporated into the government-created and -sponsored Conrail, the former Penn Central had operated the Waterbury Branch until the Connecticut Department of Transportation had purchased the line between Devon and Torrington in 1982, leasing the track to the Boston and Maine Railroad for its own freight service north of Waterbury. Victim, like so many previous operators, to declining demand and revenue, it discontinued operations in 1995, after it itself had become part of the Guilford Rail System.

On June 7 of that year, the Railroad Museum of New England obtained a state charter for a wholly-owned operating subsidiary designated “Naugatuck Railroad” after the original, 1845 enterprise, leasing track from the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

Outlining its mission, it states, “the Railroad Museum of New England, Inc., is a not-for-profit educational and historical organization founded in January 1968. Its mission is to establish an interpretive facility where the story of the region’s railroad heritage can be effectively told. We have an extensive collection of New England rolling stock, including locomotives of all types, passenger cars, freight cars, and cabooses. We have New England railroad artifacts dating from the 1840s to the present-everything from tickets to signal towers.”

Its Naugatuck Railroad subsidiary, having turned its first wheel in September of 1996, operates historic excursion trains from Thomaston to Waterville throughout the year, including a myriad of seasonal- and holiday-appropriate rides and periodic steam engine runs.

Center of its activities is the Thomaston Station. Replacing the original, smaller, wooden depot located on the other side of the track, the 2,424-square-foot, wooden frame and brick building, with interior plaster walls and ceilings, had been constructed in 1881 by the first Naugatuck Railroad and currently occupies a 1.11-acre site on East Main Street.

After the last passenger train had departed in 1958, it had been used for several purposes: as a freight agent’s office until 1968, as a storage location for the Plume and Atwood Brass Mill, and as a small engine repair shop in the early 1990s. But a vandal-set fire in 1993, spreading from an inside corner and raging up the attic stairs, destroyed the roof.

Monetary donations from the Thomaston Savings Bank permitted roof, chimney, and upper masonry repairs to commence in 1997, followed by interior cleaning, and the installation of a ticket window, gift shop counter, and exhibit panels took place two years later, while a second grant, made in 2001, enabled a new canopy deck to be installed and the original platform canopies to be restored.

A 600-foot-long display track, located behind the building, had been lowered and reconstructed, and today cradled a stationary freight train “pulled” by New Haven diesel locomotives 6690 and 6691, which were attached to a collection of box and tank cars and the prerequisite red caboose numbered C-507. Posing on the spur line, it stood across from the station’s “Baggage Room” door.

The depot, to serve as the cornerstone of an ultimate, 1950s, working railroad station, will be joined by an extended, paved, and lighted platform; an operating control tower; hand-operated crossing gates; a crossing tender’s shanty; a mail crane; a water shed for steam engine servicing; and a hand-operated freight derrick.

The earlier, 1200 noon run, a three-coach collection pulled by diesel locomotive 2203 which somehow reflected the season with its orange and brown livery, screeched to a stop in front of the station at 1330 beneath a gray ceiling and deposited a menagerie of Halloween-costumed kids who promptly stormed the depot door to collect their pumpkins.

Replenished with a second, considerably-costumed group, the train vocally assaulted the silence with its high-shrilled whistle and released its brakes, inching past the station building and the side track-supported freight train as soon as its car couplings had tensed into weight-pulling movement, plunging into the autumnal forest in a southerly direction.

The hills sprouted bursts of burnt orange, glowing gold, auburn, and brown. Protestingly screeching as its wheels adhered to the track’s curves, the short chain of vintage coaches paralleled the almost-black reflective surface of the Naugatuck River, which was periodically highlighted by tiny, silver-sizzled rapids.

Carving out the valley of the same name, the waterway, the largest in Connecticut and a sub-basin of the Housatonic River, spans 39 miles from Norfolk to Derby, passing through the two counties of New Haven and Litchfield and 12 towns in the process. Originally used by the American Indians for sustenance and subsequently serving the English after their own settlement along it, it had facilitated post-Industrial Revolution production in the form of hydropower. Coupled with its paralleling tracks, it had enabled both manufacture and transportation of raw materials and finished products, such as vulcanized rubber, naugahide, brass, and metal clock parts. Today, after considerable revitalization, it provides recreation, fishing, and nature-related activities.

Approaching the south end of town, where the valley narrowed, the train moved under the Reynold’s Bridge, a concrete arch structure carrying Waterbury Road and constructed in the early-1920s. One of the few remaining bridges after the Great Flood of 1955, it marked the location of the small, no-longer existent station of the same name.

Trundling past the WHYCo Factory, the three coaches continued in their southerly direction, momentarily traversing the switch which led to the east side lead track to the new Thomaston Shop. The culmination of seven years of planning and construction, the five-track rail yard and 11,700-square-foot restoration building replaced the previous, 20-foot-long, deck girder bridge facility atop the former power canal one mile from Waterville where proper inspection of a four-axle locomotive had required up to six hours to complete. Tree and bush clearing at the new, two-acre site along the Naugatuck Railroad’s main line began in 1998, followed by prerequisite rock blasting and crushing, drainage, and grading. A 1,000-foot-long roadbed serves as the lead track to the area, built, as is the remainder of the yard’s track and switches, of 107-pound rails. The 65- by 180-foot shop, accessed by four 18-foot-high by 14-foot-wide main doors, is insulated, heated, and lighted for indoor, all-weather use, and two, 131-pound rail tracks run through it. A 60-foot-long, 48-inch-deep inspection pit facilitates under-car inspection and maintenance.

The concrete abutment at the north end of the Thomaston Shop indicates the location of the former Waterbury-Thomaston trolley line, which had crossed both the railroad and the river.

The Jericho Bridge, marking the spot where the flood had significantly altered the landscape, provided river-crossing access into Watertown.

Continuing to bore its way through a virtual tunnel of leaf-clinging trees and bare, skeletal, white and gray limbs, the diesel engine pulled its coaches toward Waterville, momentarily rustling the crunchy, mosaic blankets representing the collected “flesh” of the once foliage-rich trees now lying beside the track in post-life surrender. Like an oil-black mirror, the river reflected the season’s colorful denouement.

The track, reconfigured because of the flood damage, crossed Frost Bridge Road, arcing into a sharp s-curve before entering the town of Waterville over the Chase Bridge.

Threading its way through the Naugatuck Railroad’s Chase Yard, comprised of a motley collection of steam engines and coaches, the train clacked past the sprawling, former Chase Metal Works factory complex at a snail’s pace, south of which was Waterville Station.

The town itself, as evidenced by its large brass mills, had once been sustained by this industry, and was today a sub-section of greater Waterbury itself.

Ceasing motion, the train terminated its southerly, outbound journey, the locomotive disconnecting and passing its coaches on the Huntington Avenue siding before recoupling itself to the former end car.

My own coach, number 4980, had been built in 1924 by Canadian Car Foundry for Canadian National Railways and was typical of the type used for long-distance travel, inclusive of that on New England services operated by Central Vermont and Grand Trunk Railways. Converted in 1969, it served Montreal commuter routes until it had been retired in 1991, at which time it had been acquired by Thomas V. Brown and donated to the Railroad Museum of New England.

Inching away from its southern terminus, my living history excursion train recrossed the town of Waterville, moving past the Chase Metal Works Factory and the coaches lining the rail yard.

The silver rails ahead seemed to slice through the dense forest. The hills, as if torched, flamed orange, gold, and chestnut, the restored cars resettling into rhythmic, lateral rocks as their wheels screamed at every curve and track imperfection.

The Thomaston Station, soon moving by on the left side, quickly yielded to the red brick Plume and Atwood factory across the road.

Tracing its roots to the brass mill the Thomas Manufacturing Company had organized in 1854 to roll metal for clock movements, it had been known as “Holmes, Booth, and Atwood” when this concern had purchased it in 1869, adopting the “Plume and Atwood” name two years later. Incorporated in 1880, it had produced a comprehensive line of lamps, lamp trimmings, gas burners, and brass lamp parts, becoming one of the railroad’s major freight customers for more than a century-the railroad itself thus complementing and facilitating Thomaston’s very purpose. It had been the center of Plume and Atwood’s Waterbury-relocated manufacturing division and main office.

Dorset-Rex had acquired the plant in the late-1950s, but the Hurricane Diane flood had severely damaged its tooling, equipment, and buildings.

Climbing a considerable grade, the diesel engine pulled its cars between some tall rock faces, following the left-curving track past green pine and conifer to the face of Thomaston Dam, plying the eight miles of rail between Thomaston and Litchfield laid as a result of the flood. Part of a network of flood control dams constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineers in the Naugatuck Valley Basin, the $14 million project, completed in 1960, had been integral to the town’s recovery after six inches of rain had caused the river to overflow and its banks to collapse. The dam itself prevented further downstream damage.

The first train to ply the new route had been a 28-car-long freight service operated by the New Haven Railroad and pulled by Alco RS-3 diesel locomotives 561 and 533, destined for Torrington and Winsted.

Pushed by its engine, my own train slowly negotiated the track past the rock faces; the abandoned, Plume and Atwood Brass Mill; and over the road crossing in the reverse direction, ceasing motion with a gentle screech from its brakes in front of the Thomaston Station and ending its 20-mile excursion.

Descending the three steps to the platform, the adults emerged from their scenic and historic ride. Descending the same steps, the Halloween-costumed kids emerged from theirs.

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N Model Railroad

Many railroad train hobbyist out grows the O model as well as the HO model after years and years of childhood fun. A certain absurdity hangs over the hobbyist creating a vacuum feeling from within. The O model and the HO model has become kid’s stuff. It’s time to face up with a new challenge which offers a sense of creativity and pride. The N model railroad opens a new dream, an unknown horizon which quenches and satisfies one’s hunger for more meaningful challenge.

The exciting feature of this model railroad, that it is much smaller and its delicate minuteness requires much a larger challenge in the handling and assembly. It demands the expertise of a skilled hobbyist. The N model railroad has a 9mm tracks. It demands accuracy and precision in setting it up. The operation of its run in calculated curves and loops requires the right amount of velocity and speed avoiding any possible derailment. The model comes with the challenging craftsman’s kit consumes time and effort from a skilled builder and hobbyist. The very interesting feature of this model though smaller in scale, it is intricately designed to the minuscule replica of its actual life size counterpart. The N model railroad stimulates the hobbyist’s artistry recreated in his very own living room. It presents a memorial of a certain era that made train runs so famous and remarkable that somehow affected the hobbyist’s past.

Model trains and railroad all started sometime in the 1930’s by E.P. Lehmann of Nuernberg, Germany. Sometime in the sixties it invaded the United States and now popularly known as LGB of America. The N model railroad needs only an affordable space in your living room. Its authenticity of depicting an era is accurate and the replication of its model is delicately exact and detailed. It is small in size and portable making it easy to move in other spaces. Repairing worn out cars, coaches and other parts will require extraordinary skills. Spare parts are readily available in your nearest hobby shop supplies store. Hobbyists are cautious to keep it away from toddlers for its attractiveness in color; it may just end up stuck in their mouths. Step up and join the big boys.

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Guide to HO Scale Railroad Model Trains Track Layouts

There are a few things to remember when designing custom layouts for HO scale model railroad trains. First – enjoy yourself! There is lots of room for creativity, just stay with in a few basic guidelines.

Some very useful online tools including free software to design your own railroad model layout; search for it – it is even fun to use. You can also do it the “old fashioned” way, using pencil and paper with a compass for curves and a ruler for straight-aways. Keep in mind that no matter how exact you are in your design, when it comes to laying the materials, some adjustments will always be necessary.

You can also design your layout right on location, placing track pieces and switches loosely in place to get a feel for what it will look like. You can move things around until you have it exactly the way you want it. This is known as “going free-lance.”

It is helpful to deliberately leave openings for later changes and additions. Leave some space for a train yard you might be able to add later, or other details you might not have the time or money for in your railroad model right now. This makes for a rewarding, multi-stage project, growing in complexity over time.

There are several different types of yards you can add. A “hump” yard has a gentle slope with an uncoupler, allowing uncoupled cars to gently roll away from the mainline. A staging yard is a section of track deliberately hidden from view, where you send your trains to wait. It is useful to simulate long-distance runs, or simply for storage purposes.

One important guideline to keep in mind is the minimum radius for your turns, which in HO scale model trains is 18 inches for 4 axle diesels and 22 inches for 6 axle diesels. As a general rule, things will look and work best with 24 inch radius turns. For a full circle, this means 48 inches diameter, so you will need slightly more than a 4 foot wide space for such a layout.

Another important guideline is the maximum grade, which for HO scale model trains is 4%. What this means is that you should take 100 horizontal inches to rise 4 vertical inches. And that’s a maximum. Try to keep hills somewhat less steep than that. And test your engines to find out what they can handle and how many cars they can pull up that grade you’re creating.

To simulate greater height, instead of creating a steep climb for the rails themselves, drop the ground level underneath. You can create some breathtaking gorge and valley scenery, or even just send a road or another track underneath.

For getting started with your first layout, it’s probably best to stick with sectional track, which is fairly easy to snap together. More advanced modelers of HO scale model trains prefer to construct their layout from flex track. It comes in bundles, so it’s generally cheaper, and, as its name implies, it is a very versatile option, with greater opportunity for customization. It will make your railroad model look good. You can create small, brief curves with more natural lead-ins as opposed to being restricted to standard radii and straightaways in the snap-together sets.

A final point to consider in your design is to be sure you will be able to get to all parts of the finished layout for maintenance purposes. Some advanced modelers constructing larger layouts will even make “access hatches”, large holes covered by a movable portion of scenery, where they can come up from beneath and actually stand in the middle to work on those less accessible portions. Be sure the opening is large enough to comfortably stand and move around in. The scenery on the removable section should be light and durable for ease of handling. You may also want to create a screen of trees or some other visual obstruction in front of the removable section.

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Paraguay’s Railroad That Used To Be

Paraguay had the first railroad system in South America. The railroad was begun in 1854 and completed in segments by1889. Unfortunately it no longer exists as an operating railroad. All that remains are a couple of museums and a few stations here and there. On a bright sunny winter day we visited the factory museum in the town of Sapucai. When the railroad operated this was where the trains were built, repaired and maintained. The rolling stock on display outside consists of two locomotives, one nearly fully restored, a wood slat car that was used for transporting railroad workers and a crane on wheels.

Our kids had great fun climbing on the locomotive, getting into the cab and ringing the bell. Inside the shop building we saw antique machinery and some other rail cars in various stages of disrepair. A couple of workers looked semi-busy working on some engine parts. The museum also includes the railroad’s former administrative offices with antique office and dispatching equipment. The passenger depot was not open to view. Several buildings that housed railroad workers still exist. A few are occupied but most appear to be falling apart and abandoned.

As we left the rail yard we drove through town on the main road that parallels the line where the tracks used to run. We passed by one of the former railroad stations which had been very nicely restored. A little farther down the road we saw another station that had been left to crumble. It didn’t look like any efforts were being made to restore it.

From there we went to La Colmena which is mostly a Japanese community. Our host Luc recommended that we stop at Restaurant Fujimi for lunch. By the time we arrived lunch was over and the restaurant was closed. He found the owner and talked her into reopening it just for the ten of us. The owner agreed but the regular menu was sold out so we had to take essentially what was still in the refrigerator. That turned out well enough, however. We were served pieces of fried chicken, pot stickers, rice, salad, sardines and tofu. For desert we were given a bag of mandarin oranges. I guess we cleaned out the refrigerator.

The other railroad museum is the former main depot in the capital city of Asuncion. We saved that trip for another time when we were in the city. The opportunity came a few days later when Luc had to deliver 1,000 pounds of frozen Tilapia fish from his aqua farm to a private indoor tennis club. We spent an hour there while the club’s employees unloaded the shipment. Afterwards we had to make a few other stops in the suburb of San Lorenzo. When we finished the errands the evening commute had begun and we got stuck in stop and go traffic, more stop than go.

By the time we got to the depot museum it was already closed for the day. We found a door that was open so we went in and looked around before a guard invited us to leave. We took a few photos but it was too dark for good pictures. The depot’s exterior Victorian architecture is elegant, however the museum is pretty bare. The very large interior houses only an old diner and a passenger car plus a very small locomotive. Hardly worth the trip. The museum at Sapucai is a better choice for rail fans and there’s much less traffic.

After we were escorted out of the museum we went to a central Plaza Mayor where the Cathedral of Asuncion, University of Asuncion and the former Congress Building are located. Congress recently built a new building for itself and the old one is now a museum and meeting hall. Along with the musical, art and historical exhibits there are two wooden poster boards painted as a man and woman dressed in Spanish colonial period clothing. There are holes where people can insert their faces and the kids had fun taking pictures of each other in the “costumes”.

On one side of the plaza is the colonial palace. It was all lit up and very impressive looking. It was closed for the evening so I didn’t see what’s inside. I was told the palace is used as government offices. As we walked along the edge of the plaza on the Paraguay River side there is a wall about four feet high. We looked over the wall and right below us there was a shanty town slum. What awful living conditions! And right next door to the historic government and church buildings, too.

We have been traveling in two groups of five people in two four-door Toyota 4×4 pickup trucks. We spent the night in San Lorenzo and in the morning the ladies went directly home to the aqua farm. The rest of us went with Luc who had a few more errands to run before heading home. We first went to the Agricultural Expo in the town of Mariano Roque Alonso to buy some fencing equipment for the aqua farm. This was the only place in Paraguay where I’ve seen a six lane divided highway and the traffic warrants it. Then we went back to Asuncion to get some groceries at Hiper 6 Supermarket, a very large and well stocked store. And what special product did we see in the freezer section? Luc and Aida’s very own EcoPez brand Tilapia filets! Luc bought a cake as we will celebrate their daughter Suzy’s 18th birthday upon our return to the farm.

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Designing Landscapes For A Model Railroad

Obtaining all your supplies is just the start when it comes to model railroading. The next step is to do the landscaping with the help of foam spacers. They can be shaped to the design you’d like and then sealed with a fiberglass or hardener to protect them. A wire frame can be used to reinforce a larger landscape and some modelers will even bring in sand, dirt or stone for a more realistic look.

It is worth noting that the addition of real-life materials can actually diminish the authentic look that you may be trying to achieve because of the extra texture that is added. Most of the dirt isn’t fine enough to give the look of “earth” in a miniature unless it is coated with a finer powder or dust. You will need to keep the scale in perspective and work up to the tallest items such as mountains. This will help to form the valleys and lakes or stream areas to make them seem more natural.

After doing the base, you can start to have a little fun. By painting all the surfaces, you will cover any extra glue and then you can begin to start to place items like stones and coverings. You can stipple on some grass with a fine brush to make it seem a little more realistic being careful to plan as you go.

For example, if you are adding a water feature, have a ragged edge infringing on the side of it instead of taking grass right up the edge of the water. In real life banks are washed away and tree roots are exposed from nature. By mimicking this, your project will look more realistic and please your viewers.

The easiest way to add the track is to just glue it down. The most realistic way is to make a bed of crushed rock and add wooden beams but this is very time consuming and not very common. You can even find software that will help you with your design and layout. Be careful to keep in mind that there will be maintenance and you will need to be able to access your tracks for cleaning and repairing at later times.

The last step is to create the “vignettes” or small scenes. This is when the imagination of the model railroaders really can really make the layout come to life by creating the tiny scenes.

Having the right theme for your city or train station is as crucial as keeping the right scale. You have the option of erecting the houses and buildings yourself or buying them already done and just placing them correctly. The human eye is capable of detecting even minute differences so staying true to scale is important in keeping the layout realistic.

Landscaping involves so much more but you’re probably anxious to put on your engineer cap and start planning your project. Start by turning on the light and enjoying yourself!

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Model Railroad Wiring Basics For DC Control Wiring

Model railroad wiring for DC control systems can be confusing for the model train beginner. This is because, unlike DCC, you have to create electrical sections of track to run 1 locomotive at a time.

The majority of model train layout problems come from a lack of sufficient electrical power on certain parts of the track. This is usually caused by a power pack that is too small for the model railroad track you have built.

Most starter train sets are manufactured to achieve an entry level price. The power packs in these starter train sets have just enough power to drive the train around the track supplied. As soon as you expand the track, that power pack has to drive the power a longer way and this is where the problems start.

If the power pack is not strong enough, you may have a very low voltage at the furthest point away from the power pack. This results in your engine running slow or stalling at that point. You also run the risk of burning out your power pack, or it overheating, by doing this. This can be dangerous and should be avoided.

Another common model railroad wiring problem is using electrical cables that are too small. By using wiring that is too small, it restricts the electricity flow getting to the end of the wiring. This results in a voltage drop at the end of the cable. It is important to check what current you will be drawing at full load and use the electrical wiring that is designed to carry that full current with some extra capacity.

I have many other model railroad wiring tips which I’ll share in other articles.

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Building Model Railroad Benchwork

Benchwork is what we call the support structure of your model train scenery and layout. It may not be as exciting as running your trains or detailing a locomotive, but, taking some time designing and building a solid foundation for your layout will pay off in leaving you plenty of time to enjoy your hobby. And some time soon, your wife is going to want to eat in the dining room!

Your benchwork is going to be determined by a number of things to consider, including: how much space you have, your layout goals, fixed or movable, and will you want to take all or part of your layout to shows, conventions, your friends house?

There are two options to benchwork – you can purchase a kit, which is easily assembled and taken apart, or you can build your own. If you build your own, you can make it permanent, or modular.

While kits are fairly straightforward to assemble (you read the instructions, right?), building benchwork from scratch require minimal skills working with wood and tools.

A note here before we continue on about a few less common alternatives – shelving and shoe boxes. The British are masters at shelving layouts, using one or two walls for a ‘point to point’ layout (no loop). These are usually created with smaller sections, two to four feet in length. And shoe boxes – if you are working in the smaller scales, say ‘N’ scale or smaller, there are a growing number of model railroaders building shoebox scenes, leaving attachment points so they can be mated with other scenes, creating a larger layout.

Benchwork Particulars

If you are building your own benchwork, it’s a good idea to start with smaller modules. That way you can expand your layout over time (sometimes a lifetime!) Build a framework up to 2×6 feet out of 1×4 lumber. Add 1x4s inside the frame to create a grid with spacing about 2×2 feet. This provides a solid and level platform to work on. From here, you can either attach ½” plywood directly, or as some do, attach 2″ thick extruded foam insulation (available at home centers). This material is light, strong, and easy to work with.

Construct your benchwork using screws, so that you can dis-assemble it if need be.Using foam insulation, you can vary the elevation of your landscape, carving into it to create depressions for water or valleys, and gluing on to it to add hills and mountains. Make sure you use the correct adhesive for the material you have.

Benchwork is the foundation upon which you are going to build your model railroad layout. Make sure it’s sturdy, and fits your needs both now and for the future. And have fun!

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Model Railroading – Topics

railroad model Themes

themes railway link model trains, buildings and landscapes together, telling the story of the train display and explain its premise. The topics can range from the history of winter holidays, with everything else in between. A theme is really a matter of individual preference and can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, depending on the number of resources you may have available to develop it.

The creation of a theme is essential before building a model railway display, as all trains and accessories depend. Whatever model railroad theme you decide, choose one that best interests you because you’ll have more fun researching the era and the construction of the accompanying display a topic that interests you not. Some general considerations for themes include the purpose, location, season and time.


The purpose of a train display helps develop the model railroad theme. The goal may be what you want – move passengers from a busy city to another, carrying livestock through the countryside or simply showcase a variety of different trains in a relatively free environment landscapes. Basically, the purpose answers this question: What do you want to convey in your train display


In addition to the objective of display, the location serves as one of the main elements of a model railroad theme. With no location, it really can be no theme. The location can be anywhere you want, if you choose the North Pole, the American Midwest, a desert, a jungle or busy metropolis. Consider a location that interests you so that your search is the most satisfactory.


Once you have determined the purpose and location, the next consideration is the season or time of year. If you have chosen the State of New York in winter, then you probably want to add synthetic snow, ponds and frozen lakes and maybe a few houses decorated with pine trees. For a summer theme in the southern United States, you can choose to include mountains full of lush green trees, sidewalks lined with flowers and people swim and picnic on a beach.


The time period also allows for a model railroad theme. Generally, fans choose a time period between the 1800s and today; however, there are no set rules as to what time a railroad model display to represent. The time, however, determines what types of trains and accessorizing buildings and landscapes to use. For example, the theme of the city in the 1990s may include an Amtrak train traveling past shopping malls, arenas and densely populated residential areas. On the other hand, a late 1800s theme would move a steam engine with a broad campaign and sparsely populated border towns.

Examples of themes

Some possible topics rail can be:

  • West Virginia in autumn 1950
  • modern day New York at Christmas
  • US Midwest in the summer of the late 1800s

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Wiring Model Railroad – a basic understanding will take you a long way

Being able to set up the model railroad is an element wiring extremely important to be a model train enthusiast and railway.

It is also an exciting element of this hobby that you are able to control the stops and tracks of all railways. The trains are intended to stop at every station and decelerate gradually on corners and tight junctions. To make this possible, you should have at least a basic knowledge of railway wiring model.

cable railway Model railroading is the aspect of that is to make electricity flow so that the engine is able to take its cars and buildings and street lamps illuminate. In fact, the wiring has become so advanced that you can attach a small camera on top of your train moves across the screen.

Be creative and you can include almost anything on your screen to make it more fun and appealing.

railway wiring pattern of the foundations

As you already know, model railroading exposes you to many areas and one of them is the electrical wiring and circuits. Of course, if you are a beginner and do not have knowledge of this area, then it is best that you consult a friend or amateur model train companion to get you started. You can even buy a pre-wired plinth circuit if you like.


controllers or processors execute the voltage which establishes the speed at which the motor of the train operate. The controllers also give food different accessories so that they can be activated or deactivated. The controller (DC) and DC terminals (AC) AC terminals. Terminals DC control the process so that the motor can move in the opposite direction. The AC terminals will control accessories such as lamps. Wiring can run from under the board for each accessory. It’s easy to connect son as both the AC and DC terminals are usually marked on the controller.


The tension is also an important part of your wiring. Lights and other accessories included in the display must be evaluated at the same voltage or just above the output terminals of the AC. For example, if you use a bulb of six volts on a 12 volt device, the bulb will blow. Furthermore, having too many accessories on the same power supply can reduce the performance of your engine. So look for things like the train moving slowly. This indicates that you may have to add more power supplies to power all these accessories on your model train layout.

Digital Command Control (DCC)

DCC is a major breakthrough in technology that allows an operator to give a digital signal path. The signal indicates the engine what to do and if you use two locomotives on the same track power, it can be done independently.

To avoid accidents

working with the wiring may present the worst case, then here are some tips to help prevent the occurrence of accidents. Every son should be properly wired and tightened. Your tracks must be connected to terminal DC not the AC terminal as this could damage the engine of your train. Debris and dust to accumulate after a while to clean the track with a soft, clean cloth with a track cleaner. You want to avoid dust getting inside the engine and cause a short.

The day starter reduced by modern trains models, it is very easy for someone without experience of railway wiring pattern that everything is color coded. This is where you should probably consider starting.

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O Model Railroad

In the US, a number of trains have left their mark in American history. Often, as a traditional practice bringing a period of history in the house played a very important role in the formation of an amateur or railroader future. This comes just as a Christmas gift or a gift to a young boy and a hopeful parent, a kit for beginners O railroad model.

The O Railroad gauge model is built to a 1:48 or ¼ “of a foot, at a distance of 1 ¼ inches and just requires a large space in your living room or just around the Christmas tree. Many of these toy trains are made of tin plates in particular during the 1920s and 30 carrying lettering lithographed and details. Sometimes in the latter part of the 1930s, the major manufacturers have begun has published a more detailed product rolling stock and locomotives die cast, but the term “tinplate” remained to designate the O gauge model railroad rails three and two American Flyer S-gauge trains -Rail and accessories .

Lionel, the best-known producers of O and O-27 tinplate lost its commercial reputation in 1959 when Lionel J. Cowen sold his shares. the company has been a difficult time and difficulties due to changes subsequent to the property providing quality and product sales to drain jeopardize its reputation.

Today, Lionel is back on its tracks, creating a commercial return and impact of advanced technology, offering a range of new ideas and products added to old favorites of time. This has made the Christmas holidays for children worth looking forward with a clear picture of what Santa has for them. Similarly, resulting in competitors such as Lionel K-Line, MTH, Weaver and Williams. Daring as it sounds, they posed as a healthy challenge for Lionel improve product quality, increased its value and provide a collection of larger shares in the market.

Atlas O, O Manufacturer railroad model suit and focused in the development of a new line of two locomotives and three across the track and cars, as well as railway track structures and new innovative systems to three rails. Millions of children and future amateur and railway aspiring eagerly awaiting their expected gifts under the Christmas tree or their beds, model railroad O, all time favorite of children and then ‘today.

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