Like many, my interest in model railroading started as a kid in my early teens. In 1972, the fad stage of model railroads was not quite over, and I wanted a layout of my own. It was a simple HO scale 4’x6′ oval with the typical spur or two, mountain with tunnel, and a couple trains. At the time, I never took it much past the initial build stage and running DC locomotives around at hyper-speed, but it was still fun and memorable. Other interests in my teens took over, though, and then college and life in general. My model railroad years seemed to have been in the past.
For my career, I had chosen to go into the software field, cutting my teeth on paper tape and punch cards running programs on mainframes and then advancing with the industry through various technologies including many Unix versions, microprocessors, and later almost every version of Windows created. I progressed as software engineer, manager, entrepreneur, startup executive, web designer, project manager, etc. An obvious theme that appears is of an individual with an insatiable thirst for learning new things who likes to wear a lot of hats. Over the course of my still-continuing career, there are not a lot of types of software or software verticals I have not worked with nor roles I have not taken on. I can’t call myself an expert at them all, but the broad base and variety of skills and experiences have served my nature and my employers well. Today I run a software engineering organization developing enterprise scale products for healthcare and work alongside some very talented executives who are passionate about driving success for our customers and our business.
College, career, marriage, children, step-children, and all the accompanying life experiences kept me pretty occupied for over 30 years after my early days of railroading as a teen. Throughout that time, my main hobby was community and local professional theatre, once again feeding my thirst for knowledge as an actor, stage manager, lighting designer, set designer/builder, director, and producer. If I had not done it before, I had to learn it and try it. It was a lot of fun, and a lot of time. I also served on the boards of directors of several community and semi-professional theatres as well as serving for a short time on the board of directors of the American Independence Museum in Exeter, NH and an even shorter stint on the board of Near West Theatre in Cleveland OH before having the unexpected opportunity to return to NH.
By the time of my return to NH, I had also returned for several years to model railroading. Around 2008, with my daughters finally starting to head off to college, and my wife of about a year and I thinking about what a future empty nest would bring, I started thinking again about my old model railroad. I started armchair modelling online, untii the day I asked my wife what she thought of my picking it back up. Of course, when she said yes, she thought I meant collect a few things until we had a house. Apparently I didn’t communicate my intentions clearly enough based on her surprise when she came home one day to find benchwork around two walls of the dining area. She was great about it though – wonderful person that she truly is.
My initial foray back into the hobby was HO scale again. It was freelance with all used equipment, DC, and lo and behold another mountain with a tunnel. I guess I had to start back where I left off to get my feet wet again. But then we moved a couple times, and the layout was disassembled and reassembled each time, but with no actual further progress. That second move was into what we thought would be our forever-home and into the small room that I thought would define the limits of what I could build.
A year passed with no progress, but I finally determined to start working on the layout in earnest. By then, my armchair modelling had progressed significantly, and I realized that an HO scale layout in a fairly small oddly-shaped space (roughly 16’x6′) would not come close to meeting my model railroading desires. I wanted something based on scenic areas of NH I love with both operations and continuous running possibilities. So I made the decision to jump to N scale, tore out the HO scale layout I had started back in our apartment dining area, and started over on the then-named “MEC and B&M Scenic Railroad”, renamed and featured in this site as the “Northern New England Scenic Model Railroad”.
About then, I joined the National Model Railroad Association. I immediately met some great model railroaders and served for a time as the webmaster for the Seacoast Division and for the Northeast Region of the NMRA. Then life threw an unexpected opportunity my way at work, but with a requirement to uproot and move from NH to OH. My wife and I talked it over and decided the opportunity was worth it. So the NNE Scenic V1 was torn down, and we moved to Avon Lake, OH with a home and yard that backed up to within a few feet of the still active rails of the old Nickel Plate route west of Cleveland. In Ohio, I started building V2, thinking I had 5 to 10 years that we would be there. I started building in sections to be able to move it all someday. But 18 months into our Ohio adventure, I was given the okay to relocate back to NH in my existing role, working remotely while being able to be back near the rest of our family.
So NNE Scenic V2 came down. I had not gotten very far so it was mostly benchwork. WIih a larger space back in NH, I thought I would switch to HO scale this time. But much thought, discussion with others online, and some research led me to the decision to stick with N scale. As NNE Scenic V3 continues to unfold, I hope to make new local model railroading friends and maybe this time find some who would like to work on it with me. But whether solo or with others, I will be using this site to chronicle the railroad as it grows along with information on the prototype and scenic NH around it.
I hope you enjoy the site.