have been modeling even before my teenage years, first with airplanes, then
boats, and then trains, that being a tinplate Lionel "O" gauge
track around the Christmas tree. It was moved to a spare room after
first real layout was on the reverse side of a ping-pong table and powered
by a car battery. Tin strips passed current under the roadbed to a
control panel fastened inside the track loop and wires ran under a grass
mat to switches and accessories. Everything went fine until the
strips accidentally touched and completely melted the wires, filling the
basement with smoke. Equipment was mostly Athern and Varney for
rolling stock and Revel or Faller for structures.
moved to Connecticut and my dad helped build my first real layout.
Tracks were mostly flex-track and as a teenage modeler I managed to build
my first transistor throttle and a relay-controlled block system with
signals. By the time I went off to college I had started building
wooden kits including several of the Ambroid "1 of 5000" series.
There were a number of us in a club under the guidance of a mentor,
Bob Boydon, who drove us to Hartford to buy parts and to show us how to do
weathering as well as scale operation of trains. At school I
continued to build models in my dorm room. Soon after I married,
moved to an apartment and built a small switching layout. This was
my first attempt at hand laying track, and while it didn't look like much
it served as a prototype for future trackwork construction.
apartment became too confining so after a year we moved out to the county
in Coventry where a two-level dogbone took form over the next couple of
years. I was always reminded that my scenery was more like the
surface of the moon than earth, but at least the trains ran.
Trackwork featured a double crossing, a three-way switch into the roundhouse
and a CTC board for four-cab control. There was a section of about
thirty-five feet of track in a tunnel that yielded seventeen cars that had
disappeared when the railroad was dismantled and moved to its current
location less than half a mile away.
the North river occupies one side of the basement and features Hand laid
track including a slip-switch, computer control and several prize-winning
models. The tracks are mostly at the same elevation with no tunnels,
spirals or obstructions; the scenery goes up and down instead of the
are over seventy locations to spot cars with four trains per day where
operations are via a colored tag system. The track from Lee
Interchange to the main yard at Harrietta connects the North River to the
outside world. Harrietta is a large single ended yard that services
a stockyard, the repair shops and several tiny local industries.
Peddler freights begin at Harrietta and pass through Charleston, Boxton, Union and Bobston where a double-ended yard provides some interesting operation problems.
A long spur extends from Bobston to the lumber camp where a scale
logging camp is under construction. Charleston and Union both
contain run-around tracks and serve about a dozen industries in a wide
variety of configurations.
dedicated computer detects the position of trains, controls the block and
signaling as well as the turntable. There is also a sound multiplexer for
sound effects and a random car-traffic generator
are a few shots of my Current Projects
those interested in the technical aspects of this site click here Site Notes
Visitors are welcome. For
those who insist on sending snail mail, please send to:
Bob Van Cleef, 46 Broadway, Coventry, CT 06238
Otherwise, send email to: email@example.com - phone: (860) 742-1889