Layouts of the rich and famous - David Popp's Naugatuck Valley Railroad

David Popp and the Naugatuck Valley

Most model railroaders, especially those living near Lake Michigan, know that Trainfest was held over this past weekend. While I plan to post a story with notes from my discussions with the manufacturers and views of the layouts that were there, this post will take some time to show you an extra tour that a friend of mine was able to arrange for us. Friday night, after setup, several of us were invited on a private layout tour to see David Popp's beautiful N scale layout, the Naugatuck Valley Railroad. David is currently Managing Editor for Model Railroader magazine, and his layout has been featured a few times within its pages (I guess rank really does have it's privilege). Let's take a look at some of the photos from the tour...

As with the other posts to this site, you can click on the images for a slightly larger version. All of these photos were done handheld with available light, so please excuse the narrow depth of field here. I'll have to see if I can arrange some time to return with my tripod and macro lenses for a longer photo session.

A model of the model.
I don't have an electronic version of the layout's track plan (you can look it up in the April 2006 Model Railroader or in Great Model Railroads 2007), but there was this model of the current layout on the workbench. In our discussions during the evening, David mentioned that he wanted to build a small OO layout based on British prototypes, and that's what you can see here in the lower left portion of the model. But, since the benchwork hasn't been started yet, we didn't get to see anything more on that yet. The rest of the photos here are strictly the N scale layout.

Waterbury station
The clock tower of Waterbury station rises well above the benchwork, creating an instant focal point for visitors to the layout's main yard.

Small town Connecticut
A small town in Connecticut on the opposite end of the layout from Waterbury.

Commuter station
Commuters wait on the platform for the morning ride to Waterbury.

Grivno Coal
A lot of the layouts that I visit have some industries named after the layout builders' friends. Sometimes the names are a little more obvious to avid model railroaders, but the stories behind the industry names are often just as appropriate. I didn't ask about the story behind this industry, but I know another editor at the magazine whose name resembles this...

Car cards in N scale
This layout was built for operations and there were car card racks like this all around the layout. Next to most of the boxes was also a small shelf where operators could set cards as they worked the industries, thus avoiding the need to place any object on top of the layout itself just to get a free hand for switching moves.

Little bicycles
When the layout is described as fully scenicked, it's definitely true. Most of the scenes had extra details, but some details were a little more obvious to the casual observer. I think I saw more bicyclists on this layout than I've seen on all the other layouts I've visited combined.

Well, there are some of the better photos that I was able to get by handholding my camera. If I ever get back there with my macro gear, I'll be sure to post an update. I hope you were as inspired by this layout through photos as I was from visiting it. Until next time, happy modeling!