Boomer Operator – Central New York & New England

I recently attended an operating session on Jim Leighty’s HO scale Central New York & New England Railroad. I kept busy through much of the session. Jim has several industrial switching areas on the layout that will keep a crew member busy.

Jim models many of the industries with a large footprint that conveys a proportional realism to the scenes. The Bradford Lime Company seen in the lead image is seven and a half feet long and less than four inches deep. The six freight cars seen in the above photo are just a hint at the capacity. More of the complex is to the left, out of the picture. Two tracks are switched for this industry.

I was assigned to run the New York Central Mill Run job. My work was focused on pulling and spotting freight cars at several Mill Run industries. You can see the two NYC Baldwin switchers I piloted on this job in the image above. Additionally, there are two interchanges with other short lines and a coal mine. I didn’t have to switch the coal mine, as that is another job that ran later in the session.

Jim’s layout has two levels of operation. While I was working Mill Run, another crew member was switching the Maywood Terminal Railroad on the level below. I couldn’t help but snap a photo or two while that switcher was busy. The layout scenery captures an industrial grit.

The layout operations are mainly focused on serving the local customers. Most of the eight other crew members were focused on specific jobs to switch clusters of industries. Planning and executing switching moves slow the operational pace. While the layout features many larger industries, there are segments that open up with some green space. These sections offer a break from the looming structures and make the layout run seem larger

Jim includes more than one spot for delivering freight cars for most of the on line customers. Even a single industry scene like the one above has space for a couple of freight cars.

After I completed the Mill Run job, I was assigned to work the coal mine at Mill Run with another consist of NYC diesels. In the image above, I’ve just completed spotting the empties at the coal mine. Next, I need to move the locomotives to the front of the loaded string of coal hoppers. After coupling to the first car, I’ll check that all cars are coupled then pump the air for the brake system and call the dispatcher for orders to Northfork Yard.

It’s a great experience operating a model railroad. I enjoy conversations with the layout owner and the rest of the crew. I always bring home several ideas that spark my own modeling. There are many aspects of the Central New York & New England that will influence my next layout project.

There are two large big yards on different levels that are used to classify about 150 cars in each. Several smaller yards are also used to handle 400-plus freight cars in a typical session. My coverage focuses on a couple layout areas. For more photos and information on Jim Leighty’s layout see the feature in the October 2023 Model Railroader.

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3 thoughts on “Boomer Operator – Central New York & New England”

  1. Question, not comment. Where do all those local switching jobs get and dispose of all the cars they are handling?

    1. Graham, note this info in the last paragraph before the line break.

      There are two large big yards on different levels that are used to classify about 150 cars in each. Several smaller yards are also used to handle 400-plus freight cars in a typical session.

      I wrote the post to convey my experience at Jim’s layout, not to offer a comprehensive description of the railroad. – Eric H.

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