A picture of miniature trains.


  • More Construction Underway! And Signals!

    We’ve closed down the layout for a few months to really focus on some overdue construction projects. In order for us to build out the lower deck under the Hudson River, we need to complete the scenery work on the upper deck while we can still easily access it.

    So, we’re generating foam bits and sawdust at a pretty good clip…


    But in a few months, we’ll have a considerable portion of the upper deck scenic’d as well as having lighting installed (We got feedback that it was too dark during the open house this year, so we’re getting that done as part of the upper deck work underway.

    We’ve also got a pretty major wiring update underway. We’ve been experimenting with the use of Arduino microcontrollers and LCC as a way to set up block detection and signaling on the layout. The first step in that process is to wire in detection modules into all mainline blocks on the layout. So we’re adding plywood panels near the booster stations around the layout that let us activate detection, but also clean up the wiring that was done in an expedient way rather than being a little better organized.


    Here’s a picture of our prototype signals in operation. We’ve got a lot to do, but we’re on our way. I would expect to see quite a few of the interlockings on the layout actually having working signals by RailFair ’17.

  • Operations for Beginners Session – Feb 13, 2016

    DSCN0223 DSCN0225 DSCN0228 DSCN0234 DSCN0235 DSCN0238 DSCN0214

    On Feb 13, 2016, NVRRA hosted an Operations for Beginners event for the NMRA Hub Division. We showed 14 people how we operate our railroad. We first ran them through a presentation to give them a rough idea of what they should expect (club rules, the jobs in an op session, the types of trains they could run, how to make sure they don’t foul an interlocking, how to use the radios, how to use car cards and how to use our NCE throttles). They were all then assigned jobs and they operated our railroad with guidance from several of our members. With all the people who attended, we were able to run a full complement of jobs during the session. We hope everyone who attended both learned something and had some fun over the four hours.

    We want to thank everyone who attended the session and John Lutz of the Hub Division for arranging it with us. We hope to be able to run similar sessions in the future.

  • 2016 Club Car announced

    We have completed the design and placed our order for a 4650cf covered grain hopper in Maroon and Gold lettered for New England Milling which is a mill on our club layout. We expect to be showing the car at the Hub Division show in Marlborough in December and will announce pricing and a pre-order form soon.

    2016 NVRRA Club Car
    2016 NVRRA Club Car
  • RailFair ’16 Details Coming in Fall 2015

    The NVRRA will be announcing the details here for our RailFair ’16 show sometime during Fall 2015.

    The NVRRA would like to thank all our vendors, exhibitors and attendees for their support of our RailFair shows and look forward to many more.

  • RailFair ’15 Date is Set – Mark Your Calendar for March 29, 2015

    NVRRA’s 50th RailFair will be held from 10AM to 4PM on March 29th, 2015 at the Ayer / Shirley Regional Middle School in Shirley, MA. There will also be a club Open House that will run concurrently with RailFair. Letters to the vendors will be going out soon and we’ll have flyers available at the Hub Show in early December.

    We hope to see you at the show and the open house.

    NVRRA is a model railroad club building and operating a permanent layout in Shirley, MA. NVRRA models the Boston & Maine Railroad from Boston to Mechanicville, NY in the modern era (1980+). RailFair helps defray our annual operating costs.

  • Control your train with your cell phone.

    Jim contributed a older laptop and Bruce added JMRI to it to enable Wi-Fi Throttles. We can now use Apple or Android phones or tablets to control trains on the layout. For iPhone users, download the WifiThrottle application (about $10) from the Apple Store. For Android, download Engine Driver (free) from the Play Store.

    The laptop is housed under the helix. Turn on DCC first. Then insure the laptop has the USB cable connecting it to the Powerhouse box. If the cable is not connected, plug the USB end into either port on the back of the laptop. Make sure the wireless router is plugged in and turned on. When the laptop boots, it will automatically login and start JMRI and the WiFi Throttle server.

    To use the throttle on your phone, connect to the wireless SSID NVRRA. The password will be posted in the club. Configure the wireless device to automatically find an available throttle server, select your train and start running!

    When you’re done, remember to shut down the laptop before leaving. It makes no difference if you shut down DCC or the laptop first. If for some reason you have to cycle DCC, it will probably make JMRI lose sync with the Powerhouse. You will need to use File/Exit on the JMRI Demo window, then double-click the JMRI Demo icon on the desktop to restart it.

    Contact Bruce if you have any issues.

  • Upper Staging yard trackwork is complete.

    The base panel, all of the track work, the Tortoise switch machines, and NCE Switch-It-8 controllers have been installed to complete  the seven track Upper Staging yard.


  • New Deerfield East Switching Lead

    The new switching lead from the East side of Deerfield yard. This lead will allow two people to switch Deerfield at the same time without interfering with the mainline operations.



  • Train Layout in a Pickup Truck

    A gentleman stopped by RailFair ’14 to show off his layout – in the back of his pickup!

    RailFair '14 - Layout in a Pickup Truck
    RailFair ’14 – Layout in a Pickup Truck
  • Final Peninsula Construction has Begun









    The Final peninsula  construction is underway. The backbone has been placed and plumbed. Next will come some backdrop “skins” to solidify the structure, followed by spline track bed on the upper level, followed by the plywood decking on the lower level.