Jonathan Harger's Central Vermont

Jonathan Harger's Central Vermont Photo Gallery

Above: A freight crosses a bridge on Jonathan's CV layout. Photo Credit: Jonathan Harger

Above: New London Union Station and New London yard. Photo Credit: Jonathan Harger

Below: Another view of the yard in New London. Photo Credit: Jonathan Harger

Above: A CV freight charges up grade out on the line. Photo Credit: Jonathan Harger

Below: An industrial area on the layout. Photo Credit: Jonathan Harger

Article By: Jonathan Harger

This layout is budget variety designed to operate in both point to point and circular running. It was originally a generic transition era Connecticut layout designed to connect New London, Connecticut with Palmer, Mass. and thus have some locomotive power from, Central Vermont, Boston & Albany, New Haven, and (Central Connecticut for engines that would not be on the other roads’ rosters). When a waybill system was planned for operation, the benchwork railroad needed to be scened for more specific areas. The Main Yard became New London from which the train moves up through an Avalonian Gneiss cut to Montville where the transition occurs to Iapetus Schist type bedrock.

The train then moves through an igneous cut in Norwich onto the glacial flood plain of Willimantic where the second yard and planned service area are located. From here, the circular form of the layout takes the train over the Thames (and the New London Yard!) to head up into the Eastern Highlands of Connecticut with a siding in Tolland if running CV - Pomfret if running NH and out under a narrow gauge lumber road to the upper staging yard representing Palmer, White River Junction, or Montreal on the CV and Putnam, Boston on the NH. There is also a lower staging yard representing New Haven and New York.

It is a basement layout using gridwork construction of several tables hooked together, but designed to be able to be taken out separately if needed.  The trackwork is on Homosote with plywood support underneath. The track itself is 90% brass ripped up from other layouts that were going to nickel-silver. Some areas have been replaced with Peco flex-track.

The yards are all hand thrown turnouts with some electric Atlas or solenoid turnouts on hard to reach areas of the main line. The two control panels - one for New London Yard and one for main line operation, are scrap plywood with an assortment of Radio Shack 6-way, toggle, and momentary contact switches controlling a traditional block system.

The structures on the layout are a blend of Mohegan & Pequot cast-offs, or train show and eBay pickups with more specific buildings being constructed to fit specific areas. So far the Norwich Thermos Co. and shoe factory are complete and a scratch built New London Station part of the City and yard area have been started. Willimantic has some buildings complete, but is mostly incomplete or a blend of whatever is available. The background scenery is Faller southern Germany (I had bought my father-in-law more than he could use on his Marklin layout) with some New England farms pasted in. Pictures from plastic kit boxes have also been liberally used.

The power is a blend of old Athearn, AHM, and Train Miniature, with newer Spectrum and Proto power added as the others feel their age. Many of the engines have been modified to be close to the power used by the Central Vermont in particular. The rolling stock is also a blend of cars from 45 years ago and my first layout in Willimantic to more recent purchases.

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