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Out with the old Delaware & Hudson layout in with the new!

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Last weekend I finally bit the bullet and lifted the track on the old Binghampton modules and started work on the new L shaped layout.


The Old. Yard throat and downtown modules. The fact that I never detailed the twin bridges in the middle is a good sign that something was not quite right!

The blue spigot and socket arrangements are DCC concepts baseboard alignment dowels.


Baseboard framing was 16mm ply all joints were initially pinned and glued. Stripwood reinfocement added after 15 years!. Baseboard top 3/8" ply salvaged from a 21mm gauge layout started around 1984-5 but abandoned when I moved to the UK in 86!

Layout was originally wired for cab control converted to DCC c 2001, point motors are Seep with microswitches to actuate Peco-electrofrog points, control was by Triang/Hornby levers. System basically operated reliably with problems.


Mock up of eastern side of town. Staging tracks in background behind buildings industry tracks interchange with another railroad in foreground. Foam ground sheet material as track underlay.

Baseboards are from a 21mm dock layout I started building about 6 years ago, space was too tight for 4mm and made mistake of spacing parallel tracks too close with side swiping problem on 3' radius curves.


Mock up of CBD area!  Baseboard edge is in front of foreground buildings. I did not have space for most of the foreground buildings and the loco shed on the last layout. Most of the buildings were bought/assembled a long long time ago. Loco shed mid 1980s and has not been used on a layout.


The design evolves!

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The interchange has morphed into a variant on the Timesaver switching puzzle that can be operated independently or as part of a larger layout.


The yard has a short run round long enough for 4 cars and 4 industries to switch including including a coal depot (elevator), warehouse, grain elevator and interchange track. The coal depot is reached by a back shunt to make itvthat little bit awkward to switch.


There is enough room behind the buildings/scenic break for a 3 road staging yard each road long enough for 10 cars and a pair of locos. 

Downtown area.


This section is more tricky on an L shaped board. The track layout is basically a main and run round track, 2 road loco depot with turntable and 2 industry and a mileage track. The basic Idea was that a train arriving from the staging  would propel back to the yard on the east side of town to pick up or set out cars, return to the loco depot for servicing before departing for the staging as the return service, with a separate switching job to switch local industries and work between the two yards.



There has been some shuffling about of buildings, but I feel the original arrangement with the CBD buildings in the foreground and industry/loco depot in the background works better visually, though I will probably place the foreground buildings on a removable sub-base to avoid damage during normal operation/switching. 

The railroad is set in upstate New York/New England paper milling and timber processing, metallic and non-metallic mining were important rail served industries, while potatoes (Sate of Maine reefers) and bulk and bottled milk for New York and Boston were significant traffic up to the 1960s

Although the layout has to fit in to a restricted space in a bookcase, I am thinking of making a pair of removable sections to turn the layout into a dogbone continuous run to take to exhibitions.

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  • 2 months later...

More or less finished tracklaying & power-bus wiring on the new layout. Remaining tasks to commission DCC control system include installing accessory decoders to control pointwork, Loconet cables and Digitrax UR91 radio receivers 



General view Fort/Port James? or main line section of layout.


SD45s are on RW6 "The Paper Train" a high priority freight that conveyed newsprint from Canadian & on-line paper mills to the major Eastern US Cities. 

A pair of RS3 switchers & an RS11 wait their next assignment at the roundhouse while Baldwin Sharks 1205 & 1216 are working a local freight.

This section of baseboard will have a curved MDF fascia profiled to match the ground contours and the backscene will be formed in a similar manner with a painted backdrop of the Adirondack mountains.

H9N will run along the front of the layout past the foreground buildings before crossing the railroad with a 1930s concrete overpass.

I originally intended to use low relief industrial and commercial buildings in the background, but have decided on a combination of steeply sloping tree covered hills and rockfaces in the background, I will probably trim the loco shed back into a semi-low relief structure.


General view looking South.

The backscene will follow the line of the foam track underlay, loco shed will be trimmed back to fit. Turntable is Peco,

Spur tracks at the south end of the yard will be used mainly to store empty box cars for paper traffic from the local paper mills, ore cars/hoppers for traffic in connection with iron ore traffic.


General view looking North.

Foreground buildings


Depot parking lot?

A more open foreground may work better visually and be a lot less work than detailing all those buildings.

I will probably replace the depot with one based on an actual depot on the actual line.



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Finding a home for the loco shed has been a problem since the day I bought it many years ago. It did not work in on the last N gauge layout so kind of now or never for the N gauge.


I finished (most of) the wiring on the staging, industries yard board and surprise myself by running some trains to test that the layout is workable.


Baldwin RF16 "Sharknose" diesels 1205 & 1216 picking up a cut of boxcars from the paper-mill. Rather like the Irish Rail MK2AC coaches the D&H acquired the sharks from a scrap dealer for an equivalent amount of scrap metal (boxcars).

I have cut an opening in the baseboard for a river/stream to add a bit of visual interest and use up a Micro-Engineering bridge kit.

I was playing with the AF feature of the camera with an aperture of f25 on a tripod to try and get a decent depth of field(difficult in N)

The building behind the locos is a silo for storing household coal common in the North East and other parts of the US & Canada that have hard winters. A paper mill is a no-brainer as a lineside industry on the D&H.


Shorter exposure moving train.

The layout is similar in concept to Castlerackrent with an industry to add operating interest and act as a view blocker to the staging/fiddle yard. 


The Sharks leaving Port James on a local freight. The dilemma at this stage is whether to keep the layout as an Office Display piece or keep it in the garage and expand it into a large continuous run Class 1 layout (so I can run my collection of American diesels.) and once again let the Irish 21mm layout take a back seat.😔


Mill/staging baseboard. 

Control is DCC (Digitrax DB150 command stations with radio throttles) the layout is divided into 3 power districts protected by Powershield PX1 digital circuit breakers (circuit board in left center), the circuit breakers both simplify fault finding and appear to have prolonged the lift of the command stations.

Seep point motors connected to Lenz stationary decoders. Power feed to be wired in for pointwork and stationary decoders to be connected to circuit breakers. Trackwork, point motors, electronic components have all been salvaged from a layout started in Ireland about 20 years ago.


Trackwork is Peco Code 55 with Electro frog points, I initially wired the points using the built-in switches to control frog/crossing changeover but have since installed sub-miniature micro switches and as relying on the combination of blade contact and built in pointmotor switches lead to intermittent contact  & un-reliable slow running.

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  • 1 year later...

I didn't get far with the new layout apart from replacing the stationary decoders on the staging/branch line baseboard with a Triang lever frame which I last used about 14 years ago!

I had successfully used the Lenz Decoders to operate Peco point motors, but the Seep motors have a heavier current draw and could potentially exceed the current rating on the Lenz Decoders.

The baseboards were successfully re-located to the house on the weekend to free up space in the workshop to start work on a 4mm 21mm gauge layout, which is a good incentive to get the N gauge working and complete some basic scenic work.

The big decision at this stage is whether to model the background in the down town area as a typical Appalachian steeply wooded hillside or as a more industrialized area with more large structures and buildings.






Digital vs 60s technology.

Digitrax "Duplex" walk around radio control for running trains and Triang level frame for controlling switches (points)


The Mission Control Office, Workbench, Keadue and archive.

Keadue is firmly in the Analogue age, points are operated by "Blue Point Motors" (push-pul rod with built in auxilary switches). Trains are controlled by simple hand held Gaugemaster & hand built controllers that plug into DIN sockets mounted on the fascia, one for the main line one for the yard.  Section switching is through the 'Blue Point" auxilary switch using Stewart Hine's "linked section control" concept which basically eliminates the requirement for a control panel or separate section switches, a couple of section switches are used for isolating locos in the loco shed coal stage area.

Back to where it all started Dublin c2001 Kato D&H RS2 switches the warehouse complex on the old Binghampton layout.



Edited by Mayner
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