Increasing traffic with trackage rights –
I know my layout is small, but sometimes I just want to add a little flair beyond the routine locals, compressed passenger consists, and the occasional photo-freight. I searched around for reasons to add more traffic but all I could really come up with was adding a through-freight which, in the end, would probably resemble the local with a little extra length and would be a pain put together since, due to space, I do not have a staging yard set up at this time. I spent many hours pondering what I could do and then it hit me… why not grant trackage rights to my old freelance railroad. That’s right; my first model railroad was a freelance.
The Lebanon & Northern was an oval with two spurs; one serving a stone quarry near Lyme, New Hampshire, the other serving a team-track in what was supposed to be Lebanon, New Hampshire. In theory the railroad hauled crushed stone south from the Lyme area (via Thetford, Vermont), did a little less carload traffic on the team track in Lebanon, and then continued south to Claremont, NH. It was set in the late 1980s – early 1990s and motive power was provided by a Bachmann F9 (A-A set but one was a dummy) and a Life-Like GP38-2, those were my first N scale locomotives and they still run. Years went by and that layout was eventually disposed of but the locomotives and rolling stock (and some structures) were preserved.
Flash forward a few years in the real world and I now model the B&M in the 1950s-1960s time frame but my current layout is modeled after a portion of the Northern line. It didn’t take much tweaking of the back story to come up with the Lebanon & Northern as a majority share owned subsidiary of the B&M operating on the Northern line but serving through freight stone business to Concord, NH. The F9s could easily fit within my new time frame and all of this would give me a chance to bust out that Rapido equipped rolling stock to toss on a manifest heading in either direction.
My original Lebanon & Northern color scheme was light gray with yellow trim but I decided to repaint one of the F9s into a Vermont Green scheme with yellow/gold striping (similar to B&M). The new look will be more “retro” and fit in better with the time period and older B&M equipment. I had already repainted the GP38-2 into a modified McGinnis scheme using black, Vermont Green, and yellow… sadly I think GP38s are a little too modern for my current layout so I decided that the Lebanon & Northern had bought their GP38 after B&M folded in the 1980s, long after the time period modeled on my layout now. Maintenance for the powered F9 is ongoing, 10 years without running takes a toll, but there is no clicking from the white gears so I am positive I can get a decent number of runs out of the old beast until I can find another locomotive to augment it with… perhaps a new Bachmann S4 or something.
Right now operations for the Lebanon and Northern consist of a stone train in either direction every other operating session. Sometimes petroleum products are moved with the stone but mainly empty hoppers move north and a loaded train of crushed stone moves south to feed construction in the distant city of Boston. I have a few covered hoppers I may eventually include for cement traffic but that isn’t a certainty yet.
It is still a pain to put this stuff on the track for the sake of adding something different to look at but my children were already running my Rapido equipped rolling stock behind various older locomotives, now it’s just an official part of my schedule. If you are looking for a way to spice up a small layout, you might want to try sharing tracks with another local road (or even a freelance) it will expand your modeling opportunities and give you an excuse to spend more money and time gathering up appropriate rolling stock and information.