Saturday, 4 February 2017

Neil Schofield's CP Rail's Lyndonville & Newport Subdivisions in Vermont, Part Don Janes

CP Rail 4233 and B&M 1701 lead a freight past the Ethan Allen Furniture factory in Orleans, Vt.

     An Amazing HO Layout Based on the CP Rail Line in Vermont

     After a 7 year absence form the train show in Springfield, MA. I decided to make the trip with fellow modeller Bill Moore.  I normally would be in Arizona at this time of year but due to my father's health issues I can't go right now so figured I would re-visit the Big E show. The show was great as usual and I went over budget as usual but the highlight of the trip was as a visit to two spectacular HO layouts in the area.  On Friday, Jan. 27 we visited Jim Dufour's incredible B&M layout in Lancaster, MA and on Sunday Jan. 29 we had the privilege of a private viewing of Neil Schofield's 1980's CP Rail layout based in Northern Vermont.  I will start with a tour of Neil's layout and in the near future we will have a look at Jim's layout.
     I have known Neil for quite a few years and have always been inspired by his work on locomotives and rolling stock.  His weathering techniques are second to none and I am happy to say that several pieces of my rolling stock were finished by Neil. Several years ago Neil had a layout in another location but due to work related moves had to dismantle it and relocate.  He did send me photos of that layout and I could tell that whatever he ended up building would be impressive.  Neil started the current layout a couple of years ago and to date says he has about one third of his layout plan completed.

      To date he has three distinct locations completed with scenery and structures, all which have been scratchbuilt to accurately represent the scenes being modeled. These scenes include Orleans, VT. location of the huge Ethan Allen Furniture factory and warehouse, Bradford with it's various industries and huge Agway feed mill and a scene representing the tracks skirting the edge of Chrystal Lake.  All these scenes have beautiful photo backdrops that Neil took at the actual locations and had Mike Confalone work on to match the colours in the photos to the scenery materials Neil was using.  This effort resulted in a seamless transition between the foreground 3D scenery and photo backdrops.  There are spots on the layout where it is virtually impossible to tell where one ends and the other starts.  In certain scenes I truly had the feeling that I was standing in the Vermont countryside and watching a real CP freight passing by.  I could go on and on about this excellent layout but I think the photos will tell the story by themselves.  I can't wait to get back to Charlton, MA in the future and see how Neil has progressed with the layout.

Here is another view of the 4233 passing the Ethan Allen factory in Orleans
After watching the train at Orleans we headed out along Chrystal Lake.  We spotted another CP train with a pair of RS-18'so grabbed a shot by the side of the road then headed back to Orleans.

Back in Orleans we watched the CP freight working its way through town.  This photo shows just how big the Ethan Allen factory is.
The large building in the background is the furniture warehouse connected to the main plant by an elevated runway.  This is a huge structure. The real building still stands today but without rail service.
A little further out of town the train is passing a farm crossing and corn field.  See if you can tell here the 3D scenery ends and the photo backdrop begins.  Very impressive work.
Here we see the caboose coming over the steel bridge.  Neil extensively modified and shortened the Central Valley bridge.
After a short drive we caught up with the train at Bradford. 
The RS-18's are just entering the crossing as we get here.  Note the price of gas back in the 1980"s

This is the large Agway feed mill in Bradford.  Neil scratchbuilt this structure.
    In the next installment we will chase a B&M freight along the same line. Stay tuned.


  1. Having spent a lot of time railfanning and photographing the Lyndonville and Newport Subs. in the late 1960's and early 1970's I have a special interest in Neil's layout. Your photos are great but likely don't do his superb modeling justice. It is some of the best I have seen. I look forward to your next installment.

  2. Thanks for posting Don.
    It was great having you and Bill over last weekend and I think the photos look great. Thanks Ian, I will say Don did a great job with the photos, if I remember correctly train #917 was about 2 hours late on account of all the photo run-bys requested by the railfans:-)

    -Neil Schofield