Skip to content

V1 – Crawford Notch

Crawford Notch is one of the most scenic spots in NH.  I count this area on the layout to stretch from 160 foot Arethusa Falls to the peak of Crawford Notch itself and the site of the former Crawford House.  All of these will be featured on the layout.  Arethusa falls is the second tallest waterfall in NH, but considered the most scenic.  Located roughly 1.5 miles from US route 302, it will sit atop the helix, towering a foot tall to scale in N scale.  This page shows the scale and a close look at the grandeur of the waterfall and provides more information.

Arethusa Falls

This link to a google search for images of Arethusa falls provides many fine views:  Arethusa Falls Google Images

Driving along route 302, you soon come to area below Frankenstein Cliff and the famed Frankenstein Trestle.  The trestle is mostly obscured today from route 302 by the growth of trees.  But these photos provide a series of views of the cliffs that will sit behind the trestle on the layout, albeit with a combination of compression and forced perspective to create the scene.

The actual topography as depicted on this topographical map shows that the cliff immediately behind the trestle is actually comprised as a series of ridges.  A closer look at the middle photo from above of the trestle with the cliffs behind also reveals the series of ridges. The top of the trestle can just be seen at about tree height of the lower trees in the second photo.

You can see in the photo the initial ridge top just above the cliffs immediately above the trestle. Zooming in on the topographical map and placing the center “+” in various locations, it turns out that the first ridge with cliff immediately above the trestle rises only about 300 to 350 feet above the height of the 80 foot high trestle with the remaining 1000+ feet to the summit comprising a couple more ridge heights at successively greater distances from the viewer. With the trestle height of the layout at approximately 52″, I should be able to model roughly 300 feet of ridge just slightly if at all compressed and using selective compression together with forced perspective of trees and backdrocreate a reasonable representation of the scale and grandeur of the scene.

The trestle itself will be reproduced to scale, based on the many photographs available such as seen from this google search of images of Frankenstein trestle.

RY-2 in Autumn 1968 crossing Frankenstein Trestle

This photo by Ted Houghton(1) from taken in 1968 depicts the scene I wish to recreate in full fall foliage with a train crossing the trestle.

Further along route 302 lies Willey Bridge and the former site of Willey House.  This photo below by Ted Houghton(1) from shows the same train crossing Willey Bridge.  Once again, I will be attempting to recreate this colorful scene in the corner of my layout approaching the Crawford station area.

At the summit of the road through the notch lies Crawford station as well as the former site of the old Crawford House.  In the 1960s, the Crawford House was still operating, continuing until 1975 before later succumbing to fire in 1977. This great view of the hotel past the station and Saco Lake provides a perspective for spacing that I can leverage on the layout.

This old postcard provides a great view of Crawford Station and shows the 4 tracks counting the station siding to the left of the mainline and the two sidings seen to the right.  This is one of the key indicators for my crawford Notch track plan.

(1) Note:  Photos attributed to Ted Houghton are copyright Ted Houghton and are inline-linked here by express permission.