A Journey Into The Past
My first N scale layout –
“Why is it that photos kids take of things always turn out poorly lit and blurry?” That’s what I asked myself when I stumbled upon these four photos of my first N scale layout the Lebanon & Northern. My mind is as fuzzy as the pictures but it seems like it was around 28inX40in or something. The line was an oval with two spurs, and two tunnels, which served a quarry/crushed stone company in Lyme, NH and a team track in Lebanon, NH. Of course the whole thing was fanciful as there was never a direct rail line between Lebanon and Lyme as far as I know, but I was young and wanted something “local” to model, I didn’t have a huge budget and two switches were about the limit of my funds. Since there was no run around track or yard the only way to switch out the spurs was to run all of the way around the layout and come in from the other side, this made switching take forever so I generally just built manifests as they came off the spurs. I got around the small size of the layout by making Lyme 6 laps north of Lebanon and the line continued south to Claremont from Lebanon, however there was no lap count for that trip. A simple staging yard within the main tunnel, which was under a large mountain, could have stood in for Claremont but I never went far enough with the layout to improve it beyond what I had. It had to be torn down due to a move and it was never rebuilt. The base was rebuilt by my brother into a simple “train board” style layout with no scenery or structures but I believe that is now gone as well.
Motive power was provided by an AA set of Bachmann F9s provided by a Long Hauler train set and, later, a plastic frame Life Like GP38-2. Manifests were normally made up of boxcars – loaded to and from the team track, open hoppers – empty to Lyme and loaded on the south bound trip, and tanks which brought fuel oil to Lebanon and Lyme from the south.
Overall, it was a good little layout and it solidified my interest in N scale, I had been a staunch HO scaler for years and I still have much of that equipment. More importantly it taught me that I could make do with limited space and still enjoy myself. That lesson has been important because I have yet to live in a place which would allow me enough room for a large layout and all of my N scale layouts have been small or micro sized… I still enjoy them just the same. Hopefully, if you are on the fence about N scale or model railroading in general due to space, this will get you motivated to get a layout put together. Limited space is no excuse, especially with N scale.