Thursday 16 November 2017

Chris Adam's Valley Line Don Janes

An aerial view of the Old Saybrook station.  The freight house in the background has been moved (in real life) to the right hand end of the station and is now a Pizzaworks restaurant. 

A New Haven Branch Line That Fills A Basement

       While on our October layout tour Greg Stubbings and I paid a visit to Chris Adam's Valley Line layout.  We both had followed Chris's blog, The Valley Local and looked forward to seeing the layout in person.  Chris graciously welcomed into his home on Friday night.  It was a pleasure to finally meet Chris.  Not only is he an excellent modeller but also on the board at the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat RR in Essex CT.  as well as being a qualified steam fireman on that railroad.  Since we had just visited the railroad earlier that day it was very interesting having Chris give us a lot of facts and history about the railroad.
    After giving us a tour of his model railroad and a background about how it all came about he explained how it operated.  The layout represents three separate New Haven lines, the Shoreline through Old Saybrook which is on the busy Northeat Corridor, the Air Line and the  Connecticut Valley branch from Old Saybrook to Hartford, CT which is what Chris has based the biggest part of the layout on.  Chris has spent countless hour researching the Valley Line, how it worked and traffic that was on the line.  He is faithfully representing several of the towns the line served and the industries that were located in those towns. 
Here is a track plan of Chris's layout which fills his whole basement.
      The first scene you see as you enter Chris's basement is the Old Saybrook station on the busy Shore Line.  Here there is a non stop parade of crack NH passenger trains which enter the scene from staging yards at both ends of Old Saybrook.  Chris has done an excellent job of recreating this scene as it looked in the late 1940's.  Although it is a small portion of the layout is has a great visual impact and once you learn more about Chris's operating plan behind the Valley Line you can see why it is so important to operations.
     The rest of the layout is basically the Valley Line which meanders through the countryside serving the many industries that once existed in the cities and towns in the area.
      Most of the track is in place and operational but there is still a lot of scenery to do but the areas that Chris has finished look great.  His attention to detail really shows in the various scenes he has created and if these are any indication of what is to follow this is going to be a really incredible layout .  Chris is very fortunate to have a group of friends that are willing to share their knowledge, time and talents to help him complete his dream layout.
     Greg and I really enjoyed our time with Chris and hopefully will be able to get back in a few years to see how the layout has progressed. Be sure to visit Chris's Blog at
Business is brisk at the fuel dealer and freight house behind the station at Old Saybrook
The tower operator at Old Saybrook doesn't have much time to relax due to the high volume of traffic on this busy main line
A view from the tail of the wye which leads to the Valley Line

These are the two staging yards that hold the Shoreline trains that make up the parade of traffic through Old Saybrook.  The lid over this yard also serves as a place for conductors to do their paperwork
New Haven RS-2 0510 is a Proto 1000 unit that Chris has superdetailed to match the prototype that operated on the Valley line
This great looking bridge scene is of the Shailerville Bridge at Haddam, CT
This small Shad Shack sits just at the base of the bridge and really adds a nice touch to the scene
Although no longer in use the old Rocky Hill station still stands as a reminder of days gone by.  It was built for Chris by good friend Bill Schneider
The freight house at Rocky Hill looks to be in much better shape and is still in use
This good looking rock cut just outside of Rocky Hill was also done by Bill S.
The Goff Brook Farmhouse scene is one of the newer finished areas on the layout and Chris is in the process of adding photo backdrops to complete the scene.
The Valley Local headed up by 2-6-0 #278 has just complete its work at Rocky Hill and is ready to head off to Middletown
Engineer Gregg Stubbings (left) and Conductor Chris Adams take a break from their switching chores at Rocky Hill to pose for a photo


  1. Thanks for a great post Don! And thanks to George for hosting it! It was a real pleasure having you guys visit and I hope you'll be able to come back soon. As a little enticement, the photo backdrop at Goff Brook is in now and the Valley Coal and East Berlin scenes are progressing quickly - so there should hopefully be lots more to see next time. Looking forward to it!

  2. Your welcome Chris. Keep us posted on your layout progress...Don