The prototype for my layout is the Jamesville area of Worcester, MA on the New York Central’s Boston & Albany Division. The period is early winter 1965. Jamesville lies on the western outskirts of Worcester. It was developed between 1900 and 1920, when trolley lines and the automobile allowed outward growth of the city. This concurred with the expansion of Worcester’s wire drawing industry and allowed several new companies to establish works along the line.

NYC Map Inset
New York Central System map highlighting the east end of the Boston & Albany
B&A Detail
Detail of the east end of the B&A
Jamesville Track Chart
Circa 1950 track chart of Jamesville (Scott Whitney collection)

The territory being modeled starts where the railroad crossed Curtis Pond (MP 47.16 on the above map).  There were four industries here squeezed closely together and highlighted in the aerial photograph below. The largest of these was Thompson Wire, which both shipped and received product.

Heard Street Area
1960 USGS aerial photo of the area around Heard Street. Cars on spot are shown in maroon.
Express at Thompson Wire
Eastbound Mail & Express train passing Thompson Wire and Stafford Iron Works. Photo by Tad Arnold (Robert Arnold Collection) used with permission.

After crossing under James and Graham Street, the line reached a small yard at the station of Jamesville. The yard was the west end of Worcester yard limits and where the switchers turned around to go back downtown. A station, freight house, coal dealer and team track were all located here. Surrounding the yard were a pair of wire mills: G.F. Wright Steel & Wire to the northwest and National Standard’s Worcester Wire Works to the southeast. By the late ’50s the freight house had been leased out to Robbins Bros. Grain as a warehouse for feed. The coal dealer, freight house and station were all torn down between 1960 and 1966, probably closer to 1960, but I’m including them all in my 1965 setting.

Jamesville USGS May 1960 Snip
1960 USGS Aerial Photo of Jamesville Yard, cars on spot are highlighted in maroon.
Jamesville Yard 1956
The eastbound New England States from Chicago passing Jamesville Yard in a scene from the summer of 1956. Jack Leonard photo, Barb Hudson collection.
PV-1 at Jamesville
Seventeen years later, as seen from the same vantage point, Penn Central freight PV-1 (Providence to Selkirk) struggles up Charlton Hill with a heavy train on 11-11-73. Power was 5 GP38-2s (8151, 8153, 8152, 8144, unknown) and GP35 2286 (ex-PRR 2286). Bruce S. Nelson photograph (used with permission).

A spur continued west before turning and crossing the Kettle Brook on a wooden trestle to serve Owens-Illinois, a corrugated container plant. Jamesville was also the location where a third mainline track, for westbound freights trains started. It extended to Webster Junction and was torn out in 1949 while steam-powered freight operations were being phased out on the B&A. A stub of this track survived to serve as a lead to G. F. Wright.

BB-1 at Rochadale Street.
Boston to Buffalo freight BB-1, The New England Pacemaker, at Rochdale Street in Auburn, MA. BB-1 carried LCL for NYC System points in specially equipped boxcars. Note the recently removed third main track. Photographed by Lawson Hill on June 11, 1949; collection of Joshua Moldover, used with permission.

Rounding out the layout is a long stretch of rural scenery with no structures or switching. The scenes are drawn from the line immediately west of Jamesville toward Webster Jct. and my hometown of North Grafton. The Grafton scene is out of order geographically, but is a personal favorite.

North Grafton Local
The Worcester to Framingham local turn passes the Grafton State Hospital in North Grafton on its way back home in this January 1967 scene. Photographed by Donald Haskel (used with permission).