Monday, 9 July 2012

Wells River, Vt,- Station Model

The finished model of the Wells River, Vt. station as seen on the Green Mountain Division was built from a laser cut wood kit offered by Heartland Railway. All photos by Don Janes.

A Kit from Heartland Railway
by Don Janes
         Back in May 2011 when the B&MRRHS put out a call for a member to build and write a review about an upcoming kit of the Wells River station produced by Heartland Railway, I replied to the e-mail right away. Wells River has always been one of my favourite stations.   It is a perfect example of a small town station but is large enough to be the focal point of a model railroad scene.   It has great lines with a lower roof covering the platform all around the building and gables on the front, back and each end of the station with some very attractive decorative trim in the gables. The prototype sat in a wye, with the mainline from White River Junction to Newport, Vt. at the front and the line to Woodsville and beyond at the end of the wye behind the station.    The station served both the Boston and Maine and the Canadian Pacific Railway and featured two order boards and a ball signal.  The station was built around the turn of the century and was burned down by vandals in the summer of 1974.  It was privately owned at that time and not in use by the railway.  Heartland has done a very good job of reproducing the Wells River station.
     In June 2011 I received word that I had been chosen to build the kit.   The pilot model would be on display at the NMRA convention in Sacramento, CA then shipped to me along with a kit to be built for this construction article/ kit review for B&M Modeler's Notes.   When I opened the large box containing the finished model I was a bit surprised as the kit was painted a two tone gray colour with brown cedar shake roofing.  Not exactly the colours for a B&M station but otherwise a very nice replica of the station.  I checked it against photos I had and was impressed.  There were a few differences between the model and the prototype but overall it was very close.  I was informed by the manufacturer that the station was reduced by about 20% of the actual size to make it more manageable to fit on most layouts.  I think this was a good choice since it is still a rather large structure, even after being reduced. It has a footprint of 3 ½” x 9 ½” around the foundation.  After looking at the photos of the finished model I think you will agree that it builds into a fine looking structure. 

The photo on the box shows the pilot model which was not painted in B&M colours.  It also shows a cedar shake roof which is incorrect.  The prototype had a shingle roof.  Heartland Railway's web site is listed on the box but the model is not listed on the site.  Kits must be ordered directly from Heartland Railway.

The kit is entirely made of laser cut wood,  The walls are tab and slot construction and are quite precise.  All the windows and doors are peel and stick laser cut wood and are made up of several layers including window glazing.  Once I had the basic shell constructed I pre-painted all the windows, doors and various sections of siding their proper colours before continuing with construction,  This resulted in a much neater job.


This is a photo of the basic structure shell.  I added all the interior bracing to help prevent the thin plywood from warping.  The kit did not include any bracing but after talking to Jerry Ford, the owner of Heartland, he agreed to include lots of 1/8" bracing.

The lower pre-painted siding and windows and doors have been added at this point.  I found that labelling all the pieces on the plan and on the wood helped keep construction organised.

There is a thin plywood roof that runs around the entire structure and to make sure it was straight I added the roof brackets then clamped the plywood roof sections in place with alligator clips until the glue dried.  This method resulted in a nice straight roof  as can be seen in the photo below.

I followed the instruction just about to the letter and completed the structure as seen above.  I used black paper for the platform roof and peel and stick shingles for the main roof and gable roofs.  The real station didn't have the small gable roof sections and I mentioned this to Jerry.  He has since redesigned the ends to match the prototype. Also, peel and stick shingles and Tichy chimneys will be included in the kit as well as brick material for the foundation and basement windows.

Thanks to information from B&M modeller Paul Dolkos I was able to find a source for the "Gingerbread" iron roof trim.  Paul scratch built a model of the Wells River station for his B&M layout.  This etched brass roof trim will be included in the kit.

A southbound B&M RDC is about to make a station stop at the Wells River station.  With so few passengers taking the train now days it won't be long until this train is history.

The kit of the Wells River station by Heartland Railway builds into a very nice model.  It is not a shake the box kit and will require time and patience but the results will be rewarding.  Jerry was very good to take suggestions and I believe the production model will be a very close replica of the prototype.  My next step is to build the two train order signals and the ball signal that were prominent fixtures at the station.

     A full review and lots of construction photos can be found in the B&MRHS's "Modeller's Notes" issue #135, November-December 2011...Don Janes.

1 comment:

  1. Now if we can get that in N scale! Nice work, George