Central Vermont in Northern California
The CVRR in Northern CA project began when a building for this purpose was acquired in 2016. The vintage building was originally a kerosene dealer served by the Northwestern Pacific Railroad and (while its spur is gone) it sits alongside the right of way which now also hosts SMART commuter rail service. The building is slightly more than 30x40 feet and is entirely dedicated to building an operations-based model railroad using the Central Vermont Southern Division as a prototype, circa 1956.To take advantage of the building's interior ceiling height of more than 12 feet, we designed a double deck layout and raised the layout and operator aisles by approximately 3 feet. The result is that the benchwork is normal height for operators standing in the elevated aisle but 6 feet above the floor of the building, allowing us to put full height access aisles and comfortable agent offices under the layout itself. The around the wall helix scheme allows aproximately 650 feet of mainline, our biggest yard in East New London, CT is approximately 80 feet total length. We greatly emphasized design features to maximize operator comfort such as no bottlenecks in the aisles and no duckunders anywhere. Visitors enter under the full height mainline span and the step comfortably up to the operating aisles.
The CVRR Southern Division ran from New London CT, a busy port city, northward to rural Connecticut and then across the state line in to Massachusetts. The prototype continued in to Vermont and connected to parent company Canadian National at the international border. We have included most of the important towns along the line in Connecticut and on in to Massachusetts; our last major town is Palmer, MA where the line interchanges with the Boston and Albany main line between New York and Boston. The railroad is operationally interesting as there is a great deal of local switching and some hot trains including daily newsprint trains from Canada for newspapers in the Northeast. We chose to model 1956 as steam was still alive on the CV at that time. Also, the area has compelling scenic beauty as it gets more rural heading northward, but also will boast the dynamic port and urban scenes at the southern end.
Our layout is the result of the hard work of a core team of local contributors. We are building toward being able to enjoy large TT&TO operating sessions staffed by 12-15 operators and staffers. We are emphasizing very high reliability and craftsmanship.