Monday, 11 May 2015

The Green Mountain Comes Full Don Janes

Pierre Oliver is working on the installation of the bridge that will carry the mainline across the furnace room.

Completing The Mainline on the Green Mtn. Division

    Last fall, Pierre Oliver kindly took the time to drive to Sarnia and help me build the benchwork that would help complete the mainline on my layout.  I had started rebuilding the layout back in 2003.  My original layout, started in 1990, was in a 12 x 20 foot room and was 90% complete.  I decided I wanted more room so I converted my workshop into a 12 x 29 foot room that would eventually join up with the original room.  The workshop was moved into what used to be a recreation room but with the kids gone it wasn't used as such anymore.  Once the new room was well on the way and about 60% sceniced I decided to tear out the old layout and rebuild that room.  The problem was how to connect the new room with the old room to make a complete loop to run trains on.  I had to cross a hallway to complete the loop and did not want a duck under.  Pierre along with several other friends suggested I go through the furnace room and bridge the doorway leading to the layout. I heeded their advice and started planning the expansion.  What resulted was a narrow shelf running along the furnace room wall to carry the mainline and a shelf on the other side of the room with a six track staging yard.  Storage tracks were badly needed on the Green Mountain and this really helped solve the problem of where to store trains.  In one day Pierre had the narrow shelf installed, a bridge across the furnace room and a piece of benchwork built in the hallway.  I told Pierre I would need full access to the furnace and water heater so he designed a liftout bridge that could be put in or taken out in a few seconds yet was sturdy and stayed in perfect alignment.
      Once Pierre was finished I proceeded to finish all the benchwork in the hallway and other layout room.  I decided on open grid benchwork rather than "L" girder for this section and found it is much less bulky and was easy to put together.  The sky backdrop was extended the entire length of the wall and track and turnouts were installed.  Following Pierre's method of building the furnace room liftout bridge I built a bridge across the hall doorway.  It can be put in and lifted out in seconds and so far works great.  With the wiring finally completed I am now able to run trains around the entire layout.  Now the fun part starts, building scenery and structures.  It's been a long road since 2003 to get to this point but it was worth the wait.
Here you can see the narrow shelf Pierre built attached to the concrete block wall.  It is extremely sturdy and there is still room to store narrow items like card table chairs and table underneath. The hallway can be seen through the open door.
On the left can be seen the shelf that would eventually hold the staging yard.
This is the completed staging yard with six tracks each holding 14 freight cars and 2 locomotives.  The middle two tracks are a little longer.  Two strings of rope lights illuminate this area. Eventually I will add plexiglass panels to keep the dust off the trains in staging.
Here is an overall shot of the furnace room with the staging on the right and mainline along the wall on the left.  The bridge can be seen spanning the room.
At the entrance end of the staging yard I installed two block signals to indicate the direction of the turnout on the other side of the wall leading to staging.  In this photo the switch is lined for the main lineon the left as indicated by the green block signal...George Dutka photo
The mainline exits the furnace through HOOSAC Tunnel
This is the small hallway between the furnace room and other section of layout.  A bridge will span the opening.
Here is the completed benchwork that spans the area between the hallway and the existing layout.  IKEA storage cabinets under the layout are great for storage.
The new benchwork now joins the existing layout at North Bennington completing the mainline and allowing continuous running..
     Now that the mainline is completed crews are preparing for the inaugural run of Central Vermont`s Ambassador over the layout.  It should be coming in the very near future.


  1. I would love to see more detail on that lift out bridge.

    1. Bi Steve: I will get some photos and a brief explanation together about the lift out bridge...Don

  2. Well look at you go!
    Well done Don. When's the next ops session?

  3. I would love to see a better picture of the station a North Bennington.

    1. Hi Marc: I will take some photos of N.Bennington and post them in the near future...Don

  4. That's quite a collection of Helmers. I have two myself, and use the for modeling tools & supplies.


  5. Don, I am also modeling similar scenes, North Bennington is timeless, even today a Rutland steamer would look right at home I originally was going to model Hoosac Tunnel but decided on scratchbuilding Burlington tunnel instead .Looking forward to seeing more posts on your progress. John

  6. Hi Don:
    Thanks, for sharing your layout progress. In a month i will retire from 48 years as a railroader and my wife and I will re-locate back to Minnesota where i will build a simple HO layout. Along those lines do you have a track plan you could post showing the existing layout and the added mainline "loop"?