Sunday 17 May 2015

Last Spike Driven on the Green Mountain Don Janes

The last spike is being driven where the two ends of the mainline meet.  Since starting the new layout in 2003 it was truly an occasion to bring a big smile to my face.

The Inaugural Run of the Ambassador

The Ambassador, led by B&M F2 4225 is crossing the Connecticut River as it departs White River Junction on its inaugural run over the Green Mountain Division
          After twelve years it finally happened, the last spike was driven on the mainline of the Green Mountain Division and the trains started running the entire length of the railroad.  It was a great day for me and it shows by my smile as I drove the last spike.  To finally see those locomotives and cars doing their job on the railroad, that was truly rewarding.  The biggest thrill was to see a train traverse the entire layout without incident, but then again there were no visitors there so why should anything go wrong? 
     For years I have been building locomotives and rolling stock but it only ever ran back and forth on whatever track I had down, not a true test of the reliability.  Even though things seem to run great in that situation there's nothing like a loop around the layout, running over turnouts and around curves to bring out the worst in a locomotive or car.  Although I haven't had a chance to test all my equipment I am very pleased overall with its performance.  I have run into a couple of steam locomotives that climbed frogs or bogged down on curves so I will have to look at them at more closely. 
     This also gave me the opportunity to test out all those hand built turnouts and Tortoise switch machines to make sure they operate the way they are supposed to when trains are actually running over them.  So far so good.  
     Now I can start working on scenery and structures and building some more rolling stock kits, the part of the hobby I really enjoy.  So sit back and watch the first Ambassador as she rolls along the Green Mountain Division for the first time.
The colourful B&M F2 is blowing for the crossing as she is leaving White River Junction.  The boys at the grocery store seem to have better things to talk about as they don't even give the train a second glance.
Here is another view of the train as it crosses the Connecticut River.  The trees are just starting to take on their fall colours.
Waterbury Vt. is the next stop.  The station was built for me by Rich Cobb and I hope to get some scenery done in this area in the near future.
Here we see our train leaving the main layout room and heading towards the furnace room.  This is where you can also take the track to the left of the locomotive to the staging yard.  The track in the foreground is the Wells River Branch
Pennsylvania RR Pullman car "Centhill" brings up the rear.  Sleepers are still carried daily on this train and it's not uncommon to see cars from several different railroads in the consist, one of the things that make this an interesting train to watch..
The train passes through the furnace room over this long lift out bridge.  Staging is to the right.  By passing through this room it adds a sense of distance to the run. Please excuse the mess on the floor, that will be cleaned up in the near future.

The mainline exits the furnace room through Hoosac Tunnel.  This is a replica of the West Portal of Hoosac Tunnel and was given to me by my friend Dick Elwell.  This scene will look much better once the scenery is added.
This is the lift out bridge that carries the mainline across the doorway in this small hallway.  It can be taken out and put in very quickly.
This newly constructed benchwork carries the mainline along the wall towards North Bennington and the sceniced part of the layout.  There is a passing siding at this location for meets.
Our train is slowing for a station stop at North Bennington.  The Rutland got out of the passenger business after the 1953 strike so the B&M trains now serve this community.  B&M freight trains also interchange  traffic here with the Rutland. This is another station built for me by Rich Cobb.  All the structure here are scratchbuilt to closely match the prototype. I hope to do a separate blog post on this area soon. 


  1. Congratulations, and yes, that is certainly an interesting train to follow. Here's to many more years of modeling fun!

  2. Thanks Galen, I hope to post some additional articles as more progress is made....Don

  3. Congrats, George! The last spike is always something to celebrate... and the layout looks great.
    - Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

  4. Fantastic! Really looks wonderful and here's wishing you all the best as you start (and share about) your operations!

  5. Don, The Ambassador looks like the real deal, gives me the incentive to finish mine. Is that RPO the BGR kit. can you also post a photo of the coaling shed conveyor behind Bennington station may steal your design to finish up mine. It's also nice to have the option of a continuous loop. a good way to break in locos and to orbit a train while in the workshop.. JOHN

  6. Hi John: Thanks for the comments. The RPO is a BGR kit which is nice as it is an exact replica of a car used on this train. I will get a shot of the N.Bennington coal dealer posted as soon as I can....Don