NEB&W Guide to Our Earlier Layouts
First & Second Layouts
I joined the club in 1968 when we had already moved to the third location, so I'm not sure exactly what photos pertain to what. The first layout was in the basement of the Pittsburgh Building from 1947 until '62. The second was in the basement of the University Building.
- This layout was built in the former auditorium in the "People's Avenue Complex". It was in the shape of a giant "U" with the idea that someday operators would sit on elevated platforms and be able to run trains the entire length of the layout from one spot. The concept was based on an article in Model Railroader, "Stacked Mainlines for Mileage". We never got to put in backdrops and in fact, never in thought of them. The flowered wallpaper and large windows were a distraction from viewing the layout.
The small yard was our version of Chateaugay back then, actually called Chateaugay. The town up high was called "Fort George" and would over time evolve into South Hero on our current layout. Middleton's silver bridge was incorporated from earlier layouts but didn't survive the move to the new location as there was no similar prototype whatsoever anywhere near the areas we were trying to model. (It was given to Dave Messer for his layout.)
The rock crusher against the hill was scratchbuilt following a Tennessee prototype also featured in MR. Originally it was to be a coal mine (how can you have a layout without a coal mine) and the town was called "Limburg" after a coal mining area in Holland, since we wanted to capture the Dutch heritage of the upper Hudson area. Over time, the name stunk, too close to the cheese of the same term, so it became "Neulimburg" (New Limburg, pronounced so the "Limburg" part was disguised. This scene evolved into our current Gassetts talc mill scene.
- On the opposite leg of the "U" was on the lower what would evolve into Port Henry. Behind it was the line climbing from the city of Berkshire (later Troy) to Schuyler (later Saratoga), with the branchline rising up to go to Regis (later North Creek).
- The "bottom" of the "U" was dominated by the large yard of Berkshire. Directly behind it were two more mainlines, including one coming off the silver bridge. Somehow, we managed to hit all the columns, too.
- The branchline contained two towns, Regis and St. Vincent, which became North Creek and Tahawus, respectively. St. Vincent was to have the AHM/Jack Work coal mine. As befitting our cliched view, the branchline was perceived to be a sort of time-warp, except taken to extremes. For instance, the turntable was a wooden gallows one, which would have been extremely rare by 1950. However, because the branchline was the only spot on the layout to use scale-sized rail instead of Code 100, we decided to move this section to our new location. It lasted for awhile on our current layout but soon was replaced by a more accurate rendition of North Creek.