New England, Berkshire & Western

Model Railroad Society at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Since 1972, The Rensselaer Model Railroad Society has been constructing and refining an exhibit depicting the Delaware & Hudson and Rutland Railroads. Set in 1950, the thirty-five by 120-foot layout represents life in Troy, New York and points north in the Hudson and Champlain Valleys. The 1950s were a period of immense change for American railroads and the places they served. The transition from steam to diesel power marked a massive reduction in railroad employment. Growth of automotive culture shifted the center of town away from the tracks and downtowns. The exhibit captures the tail end of the railroad era - a time when railroads were the main movers of people and products and when most institutions were within walking distance of the tracks.