Scale: HO

Location: Convention Hotel

Accessibility: via stairs and hotel elevator

Layout Description:

The Amherst Belt Lines modular layout was first presented in February of 1979.  Since then members have come and gone but the core value still remains: Promote the hobby of model railroading and the operations of model trains as a viable hobby for all those interested.  Being a modular layout (not sectional) our shape and size will vary depending on the available space and level of participation.  The layout presented at the convention is configured as a point-to-point with a linear length of approximately 235’.  Within the layout are approximately 20 module “sets” owned by a combination individuals as well as the club.   We utilize the NCE Powerhouse Pro as our DCC system and find it to be very user friendly.


Our overall theme is loosely based on the premise of being a group of regional railroads from throughout New England which partnered to create a parent corporation to enhancing both operations and marketing to compete with other Class1 railroads.


Our club-owned Conn River Yard is the hub of our operations and in general, all trains are classified, assigned and depart or arrive from that location.  This includes local way-freights as well as “through” trains.  As an effect of the modular layout, the destinations served by each way-freight will vary by layout.  "Through" trains provide opportunity for members that do not enjoy train operations as much but still serve as an integral part of our operations as these trains which are essentially circling the layout are actually rolling staging yards.


We utilize a modified Car-Card / Waybill system to route cars.  This is an excellent choice for a modular layout as the process is self-healing.  If a car is miss-spotted, then next crew to touch the car will simply take the appropriate action.  The number of trains and stations served will vary by both layout configuration and available crews.


Crews are self-governed as they navigate the system performing their assignments.  While this can lead to the occasional “cornfield meet”, in general there are minimal mishaps, and only some occasional traffic congestion issues.


The Amherst Belt Lines will be have many open positions available for other to try modular operations.  Please feel free to sign-up or just stop by to get a closer look at the action.

Click on the following graphics for a slide show:

Amherst Belt Lines