Jim Dalberg’s New Jersey Northern

Jim Dalberg’s HO scale New Jersey Northern is an operations-oriented layout with “not a lot of scenery and not much room for scenery, either, just enough to give the flavor.” Cardboard mock-ups have been made to represent specific landmarks, and buildings from previous layouts have been re-used. Jim calls them temporary, but admits that they may stay that way!

The railroad is about 250 ft end-to-end, with about 220 turnouts. About 530 pieces of equipment are operated, including 400 freight cars, 65 passenger cars and 20 cabooses. The rest are locomotives – powered and unpowered, including 12 sound units. Most turnouts are hand thrown, and there are currently no signals. You can view Jim’s track plan and operating schematic as separate images by clicking on these links. Use your browser’s BACK button to return to this page.

Jim describes an operating session: “Had a good op session here Monday, at one point there were about 10-11 trains running at the same time. This included yard power at JC, E’port (2) and Allentown. Then the E&W and ALProad locals out of Allentown, the Town Drill, #6 Buffalo Mail, B&O 12, JH-1 and HJ-2. Later trains included Maple Leaf and Black Diamond, NE-83, a Ludlowville Coal extra, a second coal extra, NE-1, BJ-4 , several locals and commuters in and out of JC, and 193 the Harrisburg Special., plus a few others. Worked great. At JC, all the passenger trains have to be switched, and power to/from the house.”

Here’s an update from Jim:

Even though I have a lot of track and not a lot of scenery space, I have put in quite a bit. Really makes a difference–some time ago I looked at a couple of photos of the engine terminal, the same but one w/o and one with ballast. Quel difference! Where I haven’t done much in terms of structures, I am doing ground cover, which also helps significantly. I have also finished (last year) the Reading to Phila from Bound Brook. Originally that was a short three track staging area plus Manville yard. Line now goes around through Bellemead, down helix, which is a major structure that Ken McCorry built for me, thru W Trenton to Phila. I’m planning to extend the Reading to Harrisburg around, down and under to give the effect of some length.

Have had about fifty op sessions to date, since we started in Dec ’99.(I started construction about Jan-Feb ’99). Currently using about 65 powered (decoder-equipped) units; about 30 have sound (those two U23Bs each have a sound decoder, and all three of the RS3s have them . Really sound neat).

– Jim Dalberg (Jedalberg at aol dot com)

Now, let’s take a photo tour of Jim’s layout, starting at Jersey City and moving west.

photo 1

CNJ’s Jersey City Passenger Terminal – the head house is mocked up from foam core board.

photo 2

Elizabethport/Jersey City – the car float is a Walthers kit. Cars on the transfer float go to NH’s Hunt Point interchange at Brooklyn.

photo 3

Phillipsburg, NJ – the buildings and bridge are scratchbuilt from file folder cardboard.

photo 4

Bethlehem – the Hill-to-Hill Bridge is modeled using Rix highway overpass parts. Bins attached to the fascia for setouts using a car card system can be seen in the lower right corner.

photo 5

Bethlehem Engine Terminal approaching from the east

photo 6

Bethlehem Engine Terminal – in this view looking west, SJ-2 is on the freight main with some RI run-through power (Jim liked the paint scheme!). The Union Street tower is a Walthers kit with a typical LV roof and awning added. Jim plans to add a bay window and extension on the back to more closely represent the prototype.

photo 7

Lehighton – no. 8 picks up its cafe car, #1000, so the passenger that gets on can get something to eat!

photo 8

Avoca – the LV, D&H, and PA Route 11 all cross here. Heidelberg No. 3 Colliery is made from shirt cardboard. The L&WV trestle is in front.

photo 9
photo 10

Coaldale – the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Mine #8 is served by the LNE, interchanging with the LV at Pittston.


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