an O-gauge (semi-scale) ‘Phoenix’
 Why this Web Site?
 The Layout
 Despatch Yard
 Christopher Yard
 The Railroad
 More Pictures
 Looking Back
 D-N-D Division
 H & O Division
 H & O Revival
 Bison Yard
 Service Module
 House Caboose
 H & O Slideshow
RR Memorabilia:
 My World of Trains
 Train Travel
 A Very Special Day
 Christmas 1
 Christmas 2
 Lionel Centenary
 Other RR Activity
 Guest Book

 History and Background

THE NORMANED RAILROAD traces its origin from 1965 when it began as a commuter-freight mixed shortline with one restored locomotive of uncertain heritage and six or seven various pieces of rolling stock servicing a model raceways layout in the basement of our Milford, Connecticut home.

Traffic is brisk past the Noma Town Station (at left), to and from the tourist trolley stop at neighboring Central City in the distance, where a yellow trolley car is just about ready to start another round trip up and down Tunnel Mountain. A branchline connecting track is visible in the foreground.

      The NORMANED is named after its co-founders, Norman and Ned Wright, the model railroad's name being an obvious overlapping combination of their two first names. A totally-owned subsidiary company, the “Tiny Transportation Company,” is named after the wife and mother of the founders, whose nickname in her Ohio hometown was “Tiny.” The TTCo., which was in charge of the raceways operation in Connecticut, now is represented on the NORMANED by the following:

  1. a static display of a trolley museum
  2. an operating trolley line which transports workers and tourists to and from a coal mine at the crest of a mountain at the railroad's highest point, after passing over a drawbridge located perilously close to a ledge which overlooks the lowest point (the basement floor).
  3. any non-rail land, sea and air transportation systems (real or imagined) serving the miniature empire also are components of the Tiny Transportation Company. (Although the raceways layout was never reconstructed after being dismantled when the family moved from Milford in 1967, the racecars and structures remain in the collection - intact except for the track).

The Tiny Transportation Co. tourist trolley approaches the curve behind the old haunted house on its return to Central City from the scenic trip to the top of Tunnel Mountain. Many past trolley riders insist they have actually seen ghosts in the windows of this house, and we tend not to contradict them.

      The present railroad (layout) of the NORMANED is its third. It was moved once, in 1967, from Milford to Southington, Conn., and again in 1971 to its present location. Although much equipment, train trackage, scenic materials, accessories, etc., was salvaged with each move, only two areas on the present layout are exactly as they were on the original - the station control panel at the Christopher passenger terminal, and the winding branchline serving Wright's Bend and Panthorne. [Rail service on this branch was discontinued following abandonment of the line from the Bridgeport terminus and the Genesee Junction interchange. However, since most rail remains in place, some consideration is being given to attempt restoration on this section as an operating tourist attraction].

[3] A Lionel Canadian National GP-7 approaches the main business district after crossing the diamond at Genesee Junction. Buildings (left to right) include the Bank, Post Office, Police Dept. and Town Hall, with the Fire House (below) just around the corner.


      By 1980, an estimated 75 to 80 percent of the equipment on the NORMANED (including trains, structures, track and accessories) had been restored by the management (over the years) to useable condition, having been obtained at little or no cost as someone else's junk or castoffs. Some new equipment was purchased in ensuing years as the railroad's revenue permitted; however, much if not most of this was not placed in regular service on the layout but, following a few test runs, was held in storage as part of the collection for possible future expansion. (Negotiations for additional space for expansion are frequently unsuccessful, as is often the case with prototype [“real”] railroads).
      Some of the railroad as it now exists was built in sections or “modules” which, it was intended at the time, might be disassembled and moved virtually intact if another relocation ever became necessary. Unfortunately, as the layout grew, more and more track inter-connections between these sections became desirable, and the electrical wiring became so complex that an attempt to relocate the entire layout in toto would probably be futile - although there are several discrete sections which could be disconnected and salvaged for use on another model railroad in some other location.

A string of boxcars rolls by the always-busy Genesee Junction, where the main line and three branch lines converge for interchange of both passengers and freight. A close look to the lower right-hand corner of this view may reward you with a peek at a bathing beauty sitting on the swimming pool diving board adjacent to the switch tower.

      As is the case with most model railroads, the NORMANED has never been considered “completed,” since “completion” in a hobby operation would imply, in our opinion, abandonment of the hobby. Although activity on the railroad has slowed - and for some years nearly stopped entirely - it has escaped complete abandonment. Visitors to the NORMANED will be aware of areas unfinished and/or still under construction, as well as indications of provisions which have been made for possible future development. Scenery, detailing and maintenance are always ongoing - only the rate of development may vary from very little to a lot at any one time.-


What's the holdup?

Traffic jam

      The NORMANED utilizes “O” Gauge track (1¼ inches between rails) and is constructed to one-quarter inch scale (1/48th actual size). Electrical power for locomotion (12 to 20 volts AC) is carried through a center third rail in what is synonymously referred to in the hobby as either Tinplate, Hi-Rail or Semi-Scale operation. [Later developments of additional scale model train layouts in both 'N'- and 'HO'-gauge sizes by the “railroad crew” of the NORMANED are detailed elsewhere in these pages].

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