The Route, The Layout
Albany and Troy, New York are located at a crossroads of north-south and east-west travel. Here the New York Central has major routes heading west and south. The Boston & Maine and Boston & Albany connect east.
Our fictitious railroad, The New England, Berkshire & Western follows the Delaware & Hudson and Rutland railroads from Troy, New York north, through carefully researched and modeled scenes from the Hudson and Champlain valleys to the Canadian border.
Milk, timber products, and iron ore flowed south on the lines represented by the NEB&W. Coal and manufactured goods were hauled north. The railroad moved passengers, mail, consumer goods, and livestock, connecting even the smallest New England communities.
The layout was conceived as a series of contiguous dioramas - each representing a significant place, geography or industry. The scenes were designed to be operated with model trains running end to end, following actual railroad practice.
Each scene was constructed using photographs and interviews collected by members, railroad valuation photographs, Sanborn insurance maps and period United States Geological Survey Maps. The maps and photographs presented in Renselear alumni and photographer, Jim Shaughnessy's books Delaware & Hudson and The Rutland Road were particularly in influential selecting scenes and considering the play between railroads and the environment.