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 Last (for now) operating session on NEB&W
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Bill Gill

Posted - 02/18/2019 :  09:50:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For those of you who are interested. Saturday was the final operating session, for the time being, of the New England Berkshire & Western RR at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. The layout is being dismantled to allow renovations to the dormitory it has been housed in since 1972. We all hope that discussions for a new location will be successful. One of the goals is to make the layout more accessible to visitors. (The layout is a student run club at RPI, the Rensselaer Model Railroad Society). Saturday was a quickly pulled together session two months earlier than the usual Spring session. There was lots of work to set up everything in the midst of packing up at the same time. Train schedules were compressed to fit the time frame available. Normally there are around 25 operators at a session, Saturday there were over 60, so the "routine" was anything but. But it went well.

Here is a short (4 minute) time lapse video made during Saturday's session by club member James Lauser showing some of the work at the three yards on the layout (first Rutland Yard, then N. Bennington Yard and finally the fictional Chateaugay Yard.

I have posted this virtual video tour of the entire before, but thought I would post it again to keep these two pieces together. https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=e6d8iA5vGQ5

Country: USA | Posts: 2512

Carl B

Premium Member

Posted - 02/18/2019 :  10:43:52 AM  Show Profile  Visit Carl B's Homepage  Reply with Quote
What a shame....good luck in your quest for new digs....

Country: USA | Posts: 3125 Go to Top of Page

Frank Palmer

Posted - 02/18/2019 :  10:53:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit Frank Palmer's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Bill Iím sure youíll be involved in the resurrection of the NEB&W where and when it happens. Hopefully it will be soon.

After watching the video, I did jump through it though, I was wondering what the ratio of student to non-student adult operators there were? And I noticed a lot of 0-5-0 switchers.

Country: USA | Posts: 5057 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 02/18/2019 :  12:21:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Keep your chin up Bill'... Your next display will be even more magnificent.....

Country: USA | Posts: 5793 Go to Top of Page

Bill Gill

Posted - 02/18/2019 :  12:32:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Carl.

Thanks, Frank. There were a lot of alumni of RPI and the club there Saturday, more than expected given the short notice for the session. Usually there were around 25 operators at a session. Typically about 10 would be student members. Some student members prefer working behind the scenes - building models, installing cameras to try streaming sessions (not Saturday), some experimented with different signaling systems and keeping track and DCC equipment running and other non session projects.

Some non-student members are alumni, others are "local" model RRs who have had long time connections to the club. Saturday there were a couple younger operators too. I'd have to look at the video again, but caught a glimpse of the 12 yr old guest there in the final segment at Chateaugay. He ran a 29 car ore train the length of the layout along with a club member and then ran 2-3 more trains after that. I lost track of how many students came Saturday, my guess is about as many as usual, but they were swallowed up by the overall turnout of over 60 people. In addition there were a few family member guests, a newspaper columnist and his photo crew as well.

Yes, some of 0-5-0 work, mostly around dead spots in the track. The original surveyors of the NEB&W seemed to have located the three yards under some of the biggest plumbing leaks overhead :) Before any op sessions not only is there a lot of track cleaning, there is often a bit of realigning and switch work required. Yard workers all had to deal with dead spots while moving cars. The time table (especially the evening session) got compressed to try to fit all the usual trains into a shorter overall time to allow more opportunities for visiting, taking photos, etc. after the session, so even though the video looked like not a lot happening early (when the camera was set up), the yard guys were hustling to get everything done before that and the 0-5-0s were called in to help out. Note: I rewatched the video and most of the 0-5-0 work was around dead track. There was also a lot of reaching in with skewers and picks to uncouple.

Edited by - Bill Gill on 02/18/2019 12:46:17 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 2512 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 02/18/2019 :  2:38:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bernd's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Again I have to thank you for inviting me to an operating session last year. I'll never forget what a thrill it was to operate on that layout after having seen it several times during open house back in the mid 80's. As much as I hate to see so much layout torn down I know that a bigger and better one will be built somewhere. I just hope I'm still around and that you'll invite me to an operating session. Thanks again for that once in a lifetime thrill of operating on NEB&W. I'll never for get that.



Country: USA | Posts: 2987 Go to Top of Page

Bill Gill

Posted - 02/18/2019 :  4:55:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Ted. We're sure hoping so.

Thanks, Bernd. Enjoyed having you there!

Country: USA | Posts: 2512 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Premium Member

Posted - 02/18/2019 :  7:22:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm perplexed by the lack of news. Maybe it's for good reason. Perhaps there isn't anything really going on. I have no idea.

I do pay membership dues to the website. I don't know what that really means- am I a member or just a contributor to keep the website alive? Either way, it would be nice to know what is going on.

Rutland Railroad
White River Division
"The Peavine"

Country: USA | Posts: 450 Go to Top of Page

Bill Gill

Posted - 02/18/2019 :  8:30:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Railrunner130, As far as i know, no one at the club knows what is going to happen. The idea is to find a space big enough to move into directly and reassemble the layout without everything going into storage in between. There are people looking for locations. Right now none of us are sure how long it will take to find a suitable space. It's a big layout and reconfiguring it to fit a new location will take a lot of adaptation. From time to time there have been rumors of good finds and not good. That's all they are right now - rumors. It's frustrating, especially since I'm not directly involved in th planning or meetings.

Country: USA | Posts: 2512 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 02/21/2019 :  2:05:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit jknapp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Wow...that truly is a shame. Hopefully it will only be a "temporary" issue and the layout will be resurrected in a new building/facility. I was really surprised to read about this. It ranks up high among my favorite layouts. Good luck to all involved.

Edited by - jknapp on 02/21/2019 2:06:35 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 2550 Go to Top of Page

Bill Gill

Posted - 02/21/2019 :  3:32:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks, John.

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Posted - 02/21/2019 :  5:07:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey Bill, I tried to post to this thread once already, but I see it isn't here.
Anyways...thanks for sharing that time-lapse of your last NEB&W operating session before the layout removal begins.
Best of luck with the tear down, and with finding a future location.

Greg Shinnie

Country: Canada | Posts: 8031 Go to Top of Page

Bill Gill

Posted - 02/22/2019 :  07:26:08 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Greg.

Country: USA | Posts: 2512 Go to Top of Page
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