1. Humble Beginnings



In 1967 Aurora Plastics Corporation introduced their Postage Stamp Trains line, which was the starting point in N Scale for many modelers like me. At the time, I was building an HO Scale layout on a ping-pong table. But the moment I saw the first Postage Stamp sets, I began pestering my parents to let me have one. I had to promise them I'd never change scales again (and I kept that promise). After fiddle-farting around with various temporary setups, I finally decided to build a "real" layout.

Thus the Newport and Rock Falls came into being. It was inspired by a single black-and-white photograph that appeared in N Scale Model Railroad Track Plans from Kalmbach Publishing (which ironically was not one of the plans). From that one photo I figured out the plan, and set about building it on a two by four foot slab of Homasote nailed to a sheet of plywood.

Below is the only surviving image of this very early effort. The ancient Polarioid photograph painfully reveals the layout's crudeness, including a tunnel with no portal and a stream made of Ambroid cement. Barely visible at the top right edge of the layout is an orange Christmas tree light, part of a short string I used to create a sunset effect on the pale blue walls of my bedroom.


The plan is a simple folded dogbone assembled from Minitrix sectional track. Soon afterward I added a one by three foot yard utilizing Atlas sectional track.

1. coal mine (Atlas 2851-200)
2. houses under construction (Atlas 2827-150)
3. passenger station (Atlas 2850-200)
4. enginehouse (Pola 211)
5. freight depot (AHM 5834)
6. water tower (Arnold Rapido 0631)

All of these vintage kits carry a strong sense of nostalgia, and the next chapter may stir some fond memories in modelers of my generation...

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