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  • The Toad Hollow & Mud Pond Rlwy

    The Glory Years

    The Early Years                                 The 21st Century


    In 1992 we moved from Massachusetts to Maryland, taking the TH&MP with us. In MA, the layout had been squeezed into a small room in the attic and had progressed mainly to the hard-shell scenery base with a few buildings here and there. The layout had been designed in sections so that theoretically it could survive being moved. Despite that, moving was a bit traumatic for the railroad and the scenery took quite a hit. Being a bit demoralized with the state of things, I didn't begin a rehabiliation until my son visited a year after we had moved and convinced me that we could salvage it. He helped me get the sections put back together and after that I was inspired to get back to work.


    If you have looked at my Early Years page, you probably noted my "4-day wonder" layout, built using styrofoam as a base and for molding the terrain. It worked so well that as I began to repair all the scenery damage, I used the foam approach. Here I have begun the process at one end of the layout.


    More foam scenery base installed.


    In some spots the hardshell scenery had survived so I had to blend the two techniques together.


    Eventually I got things back to where they had been before the move south. Now I could move ahead and try to complete the layout. The "4-day wonder" layout was added on the left of the above picture and the final addition was a 12' yard and engine terminal about where I'm standing. And of course, a model railroad is never complete - there is always more and more detail that can be added.


    company houses1
    Company houses line the hillside overlooking the tractor factory. The school bus has just picked up the kids for another day of school.

    An overview of the tractor factory at Mud Pond. Mud Pond itself isn't very big - not much more than a glorified mudhole under the curved trestle.

    eng terminal
    As light brightens the morning sky, the hostlers prepare the old woodburner for another day of duty.

    It's sure not easy scratching a living off the land in such a rocky area. But somehow this farmer has managed to keep the old barn in reasonable shape for his small stock of animals.

    fruit stand
    Down at the end of the winding road to the Farm is a small seasonal fruit and vegetable stand. That old pickup certainly has a lot of miles on it.

    hotel station1
    The venerable Hotal Cassini has long been a laying-over spot for the away-from-home crews of the TH&MP. Across the tracks is the two-level Toad Hollow depot. You may recognize it as patterned after Jim Findley's Cross Junction station on John Allen's Gorre & Daphetid Lines. It was one of my first scratch-building efforts.

    old mill
    The old mill by the river has been in operation for many years. But spring rains have washed away the sluiceway leading to the waterwheel.

    Fresh bakery products are shipped daily from the W. R. Jacobs mill. This was a fun kit-bashing project using part of a Gruesome Casket kit along with 2 2-story DPM Laube's Linen Mill kits.

    houses river
    These old houses are located across the river from the old mill. At least they sit well-above the normal flood level of the river.

    steel bridge
    This steel bridge spans the gorge just outside of Toad Hollow. As you can see, we're well into the mountains here. I can thank my talented wife Liz for the background painting.

    factory cu
    Toad's Tool Company ships and receives on two levels in this old factory. Workers are understandably a little uneasy about loading/unloading cars on the upper level. Obviously this is pre-OSHA. This is another of my kit-bashing projects, starting with a Heljan (I think) Brewery.

    New industries are being built behind the once-again busy classification yard. There is even a daily passenger run from the station behind the "buggies" to Toad Hollow - ridership is steadily increasing. This yard was the final portion of the TH&MP to be built. It measured 12' in length including the yard and the engine terminal. This was the last expansion of the railroad.

    The engine terminal is in its design stage here. The Walthers turntable has been installed and powered, along with a mock-up of a roundhouse. Motive power is mostly MEC and B&M, with an old NH Alco thrown in for good measure.

    The mock-up has been replaced with the real thing. The final version boasts 5 stalls instead of the 4 that the mock-up had. I had to use two Walthers roundhouse kits for this project. Note that it is illuminated.

     Well, like most things in life, these great years on the TH&MP came to an end.  After 10 years in Maryland, we decided to move back "home" to New England and into a condo with a rather small cellar.  Thus it was with great sadness that I scrapped most of the layout. Of course I saved all the buildings and pulled up all the track on all but two sections, which were moved. The yard went into storage in my son's basement and I moved one 9' section to the condo. You can follow its progress on "The 21st Century" page.

    I just recently (2016) gave up hope of getting enough real estate for the yard and gave it an old military veteran interested in model railroading.