John Pryke’s version of the New Haven model railroad, the New York, New Haven and Hartford, runs from Boston to New York with a track plan that doubles back on itself. Allen Keller asks him why he selected this area. John felt the railroad needed a definite run in terms of time and distance for the trains in between the three major points of the layout – New Haven, Providence and Boston.
Laying track in a single line could not have fit in his basement, so he doubled the mainline back on itself. Secondly, the New Haven was entirely a 2 to 4 track mainline throughout its entire length, so laying two main lines on the same road would give the right visual and running effect. All this being said, if John had another layout, he would not do this doubling back.
Allen Keller goes on to ask why John chose 1948 to model. After the war, John’s parents used to go on two week vacations to Connecticut on the mouth of the Connecticut River on the New Haven shoreline. John’s dad was a railroader and a few times a week they would get out at night and go stand on the platform at New Haven Station and watch the limiteds go through.
On September 8, 1948, a Friday night before Labor Day weekend, Advance Merchants Limited came by at 65 miles an hour with double headed heavy Pacifics and 23 parlor cars. The earth shook, and he said to himself that someday he was going to model that. Allen Keller and John go on to discuss how John’s father impacted his modeling. To meet other professional builders, or to plan your layout, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.