Research Resources and Old Saybrook Operations

If you've read anything on this site so far, you discovered pretty quickly that I'm a sucker for research. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that I want to recreate in miniature this whole lower Connecticut River Valley region as it was in the late 1940s (at least as much as practicable), I'd probably be content with doing research for its own sake.

But as a prototype modeler, research is a means - albeit a fun means - to an end. The modeling provides the catalyst, and most of the reason, for the research. And, in the case of my latest Saybrook/Staging Saga, the research provided, and continues to provide, the catalyst and reason for all the track changes. What started as an idle curiosity while I was doing some incidental research, quickly blossomed to a full-blown dissection of railroad operations in the Saybrook area. I'd already done some pretty comprehensive research on my main focus - Valley Line freight operations - so segueing to Saybrook operations generally was an inevitable evolution.

Before you can have all this fun though, you have to have some primary research material. Fortunately, I've been collecting this information for a while now . . .

Binders full of NHRR prototype information

If you aspire to model a prototype, here's a list of the basic, primary source material you should have in your library:

Under that last "category" would be anything else produced by the railroad that provides information on how it operated. In my case, a real treasure is a report the railroad did in April 20, 1948 showing what every locomotive did that particular day.

While this material can be hard to find - and sometimes expensive when you find it - you could do what I've most often done: purchase the original (no matter what the price), photocopy it, and resell the original to recoup funds for the next purchase. I'm a lot more comfortable thumbing through (and sometimes marking up) copies rather than originals. YMMV

So, what's all this have to do with my Saybrook/Staging Saga? Well, I "hit the books" (see end of post for sources used**) and discovered some really cool information about what a typical "day" would look like on my version of Old Saybrook - not only what trains there were, but what actual locomotives were used(!)

Since my "main actors" are the locals, they'll dictate the period of time I'll operate in Old Saybrook (there's no way I'm going to run a full day of 71 trains!). Originally, I thought I could get by with 3 passenger trains and one through freight, in addition to the two Shore Line locals. I could still do that in a pinch, I suppose. But making the track changes in Saybrook and in the two staging yards should allow me to do the following very interesting schedule.

The activity I model in Old Saybrook would start shortly after noon, with an eastbound passenger train:

Thus, endeth the session.


Couple of cool things to note:

Hmmm.... I may need even MORE staging than I thought . . .

**Primary sources of NHRR data aggregated:

(originally posted to the blog February 8, 2016)