The New England Berkshire and Western is an imaginary line running between Troy and Chateaugay, New York with a hidden track continuing onto Montreal. The club chose this area because they live there, but also because they drew inspiration from another layout, says John Nehrich, the Club Coordinator.
Originally based in the 1960’s, they tried concentrating on how to operate a modern session, but every scene they were modeling would eventually be taken down, abandoned or destroyed by the end of the 50’s or early 60’s. At one time, they had modern and 50’s operating groups, but they didn’t have many scenes. Once they started putting industries in place it was hard to figure out what would remain. It was important to the club to have buildings that would have actually been near the railroad in the time period they were modeling.
The club tries to keep everything on the same system, which has required a lot of research. Most clubs have difficulty sticking that strictly to something. They avoid this by appealing to the lowest common denominator. To make it enjoyable for people who wants to do good modeling, they try to keep the standards high. They do this without alienating anyone by educating members as they go along, if they don’t have a great modeling background.
Those are the ones who quickly learn, so they can teach the right way instead of trial and error. They start with green horns for the most part, and they also get some very talented people. Sometimes outsiders end up teaching those in the club, however the bulk of the members start off knowing nothing. The modeling and philosophy of the club has narrowed over the years. Because they modeled in the era they did, they had to research and discover what the area truly looked like.