Main Yards and headquarters for the North River Railway. Lee interchange is in the background. Harrietta is the furthest
western point and largest single town on the North River.
The action only begins with the single-ended
classification yard at the left foreground. One of the leads also
services a few local industries and just off the lead is a team track
services the local farming community. The center contains the engine
facility where gondolas containing pipes (for locomotive flues)
supplement the box cars and flats of materials used to keep the engines
in top repair. These cars are spotted in one of the stalls, while yet
more supplies are delivered to the run-off lead.
Front-end cars are spotted on the other side of the
main next to the main station. Coal must be delivered periodically to the
coal pocket and a gondola must be spotted at the ash pit on the approach
track to carry away the cinders. These two cars are either the first or
last operation for the day.
The Car shops just beyond a slip switch and to the
front right also require delivery of materials or any type of car for
The stock yard beyond the yard and a bit to the
right must be handled by the yard crew in addition to the tracks at Lee
Interchange to the left rear.
There is a total of (18) locations for spotting
Cynth, conceptually, is several miles east of
although you can see the Harrietta car shops in
This town is built around a siding that is normally
occupied by cars at Bettinger's warehouse. This can be a real nuisance
to the switching crew as there is also a spur for the local coal yard
branching to the front of the table.
Just to the east of the run-around is May Ice
company that supplies most of the Ice for Bossert’s Beef and Bologna in Harrietta. The track to the far side of the main line service the coke mines
and a local team track. The siding also serves as a drop-off point for
peddler freights to drop off cars for the local to shunt to the A-Track
area to the east.
There is a total of (8) locations for spotting
This (4) industry area may seem like a rather
simplistic to switch and it would be except there is no run-around
track. Cars, depending on the direction, must dropped off at Cynth or Union by the peddler freight and pushed into position by the local. Conversely when the
car is loaded the local must pull the car from the siding and push it to
the next town for pickup.
the town of UNION
A more general view of A-Track showing the numbering
towns of Cynth and Union. This view shows how the run-around tracks at
Cynth and Union must be used to position a car for facing-point moves at
These towns are theoretically several miles apart.
UNION / BOXTON
including the Boxton factory complex is a bit more involved than would
seem at first glance and can be a very nasty switching problem for the
Like Cynth, the fun begins with a run-around track
which may or may not be holding cars for the local industry. The lead
off the main towards the front goes to a double-ended spur containing
both facing and trailing point switching. The fun continues if there are
too many cars at Slipshod Oil to the right, the lumber yard straddling
the tracks or the tie plant just beyond to the left. There are almost
always too many cars forcing the crew to shuffle through the cars to spot
them correctly. Take a close look and the problems become apparent.
The rest of the work is easy. Boxton to the left
has two spurs that are simple by comparison, followed by Boyden Mills to
There are (10) industries in this area.
Bobston (top) as a double-ended yard looks a lot
worse than it is. Incoming peddler freights usually consist of only a
couple of cars so the crew can simply run around the trains and switch
out the cars.
There is a small cattle shed to the extreme left,
a couple of industries on the rear classification track and a couple of nuisance
moves for the coal, sand, ash pit and roundhouse.
The two trains from this town are the eastbound
freight toward Harrietta and a daily logging run to Timberly. Note the
track running behind Bobston containing a small flag-stop nuisance factor
for the logging trains to Timberly.
Bobston services (9) industries.
Lee Interchange is much more than a simple siding. It
is the connection to the outside world. The North River is operated as a
true point-to-point railroad and the track that extends to the left does
not exist except on paper.
Cars interchanged from outside roads arrive at this
spur and shipments to the outside world are made by this connection.
Timberly is probably the simplest of all areas to
switch however there are still a few “Gotchyas". The spur to the
logging camp is quit long and the logging buggies take careful handling
to prevent derailments. There is also a LCL flag stop half way along
(see track behind Bobston) that can be that one-to-many car that makes
switching out Timberly impossible.
This table is what I call an inverted 'T'-beam construction.
Two 2x4s on legs run the length of the room. the beams are (2) 1 x 2
boards glued and screwed to form a “T”-shaped beam and are spaced every
foot along the top surface. Risers support the sub-roadbed which is 2 x
1/8” Lath board cut in strips and triangles that form sort of a seamless
plywood base for the track. The same lath board is also used for the
roadbed with almost no waste except for sawdust.
This all provides a fast, inexpensive construction
that has withstood the test of 40 years of time.
Another view of bench work. Notice the cable
running along the front edge and the platform of switch machines to the
right. Most wiring is accessible behind the front fascia (removed for
these shots) so that most work can be done standing up instead of
crawling under the table. Solder leads to the rails first, then bring to
front and make connection. Only rods to the turnouts has to be done
under the table.
Note that the legs are well back from the front
edge of the table giving a lot more space at floor level
The North River is in a 12' x
38' room with the corners rounded to a 22" radius. Track work is
essentially flat but there is a single 2-1/2 degree drop of about 1 inch
for scenic effects at Bobston. It is the scenery that goes up and down,
not the tracks.
Scenery is a modified Hard-shell
using a paper machete layer using Hydrocal and paper toweling. A second
"texture layer is added using Hydrocal and sawdust for horizontal
flat areas. Vermiculite is used for vertical cliff areas to allow
carving. The mica flecks add detail that can not be duplicated any other
way. Dry color paint is used both in the texture coat and painted on
afterwards to prevent any white from showing through. Woodland Scenic’s
Ground foam, shrub and gravel materials finish the ground.
A 1/2" drainage ditch along
the side of tracks, especially in cuts, adds to the realism of the
track-work. Rail is mostly hand-laid code 83 nickel silver rail with a
minimum radius of 22".