Tupper Lake & South Junction Railroad By John Diamond - HO

Background Story


Like most boys growing up in the thirties, trains and especially steam trains held a fascination for me. It was not till I reached the age of seven that my father bought me a train set for my birthday. Living in Australia the trains to buy were Hornby. It was O gauge and how well they ran. Running around a circle of track held my fascination for some time, however like so many boys other things were holding my interest like football, cricket, tennis and dare I say it, the fairer sex. It was not until my forties that my interest in trains was rekindled. After visiting a Liverpool Model Railroad exhibition the difference from my circle of track and O gauge locomotives to scale trains running through beautiful scenery was an eye opener. I then told my wife that I was going to build a model railway in a spare room she said "that's nice dear "little realising that this hobby was to be ongoing from the seventies to the present day. Back in 2009, I took my family on a trip to the Adirondacks for a holiday, and found the Vermont Railway still running - this was to become my inspiration.

The Tupper Lake and South Junction is the fourth layout I have built. The first two were built as a learning curve, using code 100 rail with the track plan in my head, not good for engine clearance and rolling stock. The third layout was planned for two levels and took ten years to complete. Because of the attention I gave to clearances and how the track was laid on code 70 rail it ran not like a Swiss watch but close to it. The change to DCC opened the door to a wonderful new way to run trains, and a much more simplified operational method.

In 2010 arthritis caught up with me and after a massive infection I saw my left leg carried out the door. I was determined that this set back would not stop me finishing this fourth layout of the Tupper Lake and South Junction. Luckily most of the wiring of turnouts and lights was already in place which meant that I could concentrate on the finer details and further animation. I must say getting under a layout that is 48 inches tall on one leg, is an interesting undertaking at the best of times. This layout is now seven years old and apart from adding animation and figures, it is getting close to the finishing line.

I took a large number of photographs along the way and thought I would share a sample of them with the members. I would like to take the time to acknowledge two people whose brains I have picked over the years - John Saxon and Gerry Hopkins, who although they may not know it, they have provided much inspiration and help when needed.

A change of address saw the tearing down of a two level layout that was 10 years in the making. In its place is a new version of this railroad (version #3).I have saved most of the lumber, buildings and rail from the old layout, so the building of it went reasonable quickly.

The setting for the railroad is still in the Adirondacks upstate New York. New York Central owns the rails and trackage rights are given to the Canadian Pacific, Delaware and Hudson, Vermont Railroad as well as my own railroad Tupper Lake and South Junction. Instead of two levels this railroad is on one, which has made building much quicker.

Structures: Many structures were saved from the old layout most are craftsmen kits with a few scratch-built. I try to alter these kits as much as possible so they look different to the manufacturer’s intention.

Electrical: My turnouts are powered by slow action switch machines and behave faultlessly. I have wired these to LEDs in the fascia as well as to two and three aspect signals. This is not block signalling but only shows the position of turnouts.

Operation: I went to DCC some years ago and now run the railroad on NCE DCC. I wonder now why I hesitated from switching over from DC.We use car cards from Micro Mark and switch lists which I have found to be easy to follow as well as helping new operators.