Track Plan At A Glance
Layout Theme: Scenic Railroad
Layout Type: Portable
Scale: HO Scale
Track: Code 83
Min. Radius: 18"
Article by: Jim Spavins
Published: December 15, 2015
Continuing with the portable 4'x8' style layouts, the Naugatuck Railroad plan above shows how to expand the footprint to 8'x8' but still breakdown into 2'x4' sections. This layout includes four 2'x4' section and two 1'x4' sections which could be designed to stack to move or store the layout.
The trackplan loosely follows the route of the present day Naugatuck Railroad which is operated by the Railroad Museum of New England. For the most part, excursion trains are based out of the Thomaston, CT, station with trains heading both south and north. To the north, the train passes over the rather large Thomaston Dam which holds back the Naugatuck River. To the south, the train has a scenic run down towards the museum's shop just north of Waterbury, CT.
On the layout, the museum's shops are located on the left side of the trackplan and includes a small yard and a shop building. To add some interest, it would be a challenge to create a cutaway of the shop building so all the tools and equipment could be seen as well as some historic piece of equipment being restored. Working around the bottom of the layout, the mainline swings over the Naugatuck Railroad then through the woods to the Thomaston, CT, station. Heading around to the top of the plan, the mainline works through a large cut and out onto Thomaston Dam before heading back through another rock cut and reappearing at the railroad's shops.
As is the case with many scenic railroads - it's the scenery which makes the railroad. This line is operated through all four seasons which gives the builder some choices into how to best represent the railroad. From a visual perspective, fall tends to be very colorful and the railroad adds lots of seasonal lighting for the winter months to go along with the snow that falls in the northwest hills of Connecticut. Whichever season is chosen, there is plenty of places to watch the trains roll through the country side.
A Naugatuck Railroad excursion heads north over the Naugatuck River in the fall of 1998. | Photo by Jim Spavins.
This layout, as drawn, is for HO scale. However, the small 18" radius would require running the shortest passenger equipment possible. This means that some freelancing will be in order by running 50' to 60' passenger cars. If a more prototypical roster was desired, this plan would work well in N scale. The footprint and radius would remain the same which would allow the longer passenger equipment look better. Plus, the scenery ratio would look substantially better in N scale than in HO scale.
A Naugatuck Railroad excursion heads north over Thomaston Dam in the fall of 1998. | Photo by Jim Spavins.
For Track Plan Tuesday's, I am digitizing all of my old track planning notebooks and sharing the designs here on the website. To see all the plans, visit the track plan home page at: jimspavins.com/jimstrackplans.