George Lopez-Cepero's

Belfast, Burlington & Western


Ponderosa North

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The Belfast, Burlington & Western is situated in northern New England; from Belfast Maine to Burlington Vermont. It's role is to provide rail connection for industries in the area. It therefore has a major freight switching operation. At Belfast Maine it has a barge operation where all cars are forwarded to off the mainland. At Burlington Vermont, it interchanges cars to the west with the Canadian Pacific, Erie, and overgrown New Haven railroads. Along the way, it also interchanges with the Boston and Maine railroad at Burnham Junction.


The layout is built on plywood, the bottom of the plywood is at 48 inches. It uses a subroadbed of corrugated cardboard topped by a cord roadbed. The track is hand laid nickel-silver code 100, except for the track north of Burlington (the interchange tracks). Turnouts are mainly Atlas #6, with a few Peco at Bryant Pond. The Atlas switches are thrown by Atlas switch machines which are glued to the underside of the switch.

The layout is build using a modular assembly. All of the town sites are self-supporting, as is the layout. It is not attached to the walls at any location. The construction order was Burnham Junctions, Berlin, Bryant Pond, Belfast and finally Burlington. A small freight yard used to exist at Burnham Jct. until Burlington was built. Building it in a modular pattern allowed the operation of parts of the layout as they were added. It also allowed testing of the electrical controls at the same time.
George's layout uses 2 bedrooms which are connected through a hallway. There is a lift out bridge where you enter the hallway.

Scenery and Structures

The setting is northern New England, although the scenery needs much more green to properly depict the area. The rock work is either had carved plaster in the mountains north of Burlington and in the creek bed at Bryant Pond, or a thin rubber mold veneer along the hallway. The structures on the B, B & W are a bit of everything; scratch built, kit-bashed, kits and ready to use. The industry base is varied, with some manufacturing, some warehousing and some distribution.


The layout is wired for dual cab control. Each block is totally isolated from every other, no common rail. Each block is wired through a DPDT/CO switch. The throttles are home built using a Darlington Transistor Circuit from Model Railroader in 1976. The blocks on the north end of the layout select either the south end throttles or north end throttles. A panel switch further selects the operational throttle. A south end throttle can control any block in the north end.


The control of car movement is by car-card. Each car has a card with a pocket, each industry has a car which fits in the envelope of the car card. At first, industry assignments were changed after each cycle of a car, but with as many cars as not exist on the layout, editors note, he has a couple hundred, each car has permanent assignments for a northbound and southbound setout. Southbound trains begin in Burlington Yard with 6 cars. They deliver cars a indicated on the car card, exchanging the card with one on the siding. At Belfast, when all local switching is complete, the cars are exchanged with the cards on the car float. The train is now a northbound and works it's way back towards Burlington. Upon arrival at Burlington, the train is broken up onto the connection interchange trains: Northeast, South, Northwest and Southwest Railroads. These interchange trains are exchanged with trains in storage when appropriate.


As always, click on a picture to enlarge it.

Some of George's many refer cars.

As I mentioned, George as a large inventory of rolling stock.

The town of Burrlin.

Belfast car float.

Burnham Junction.

Creek between Burnham Junction and Bryant Park.

Bryant Pond.

Rolling stock storage. Each drawer holds 3 cars.

The yard at Burlington.

Another shot of the yard at Burlington.

The hallway that connects the 2 bedrooms.

George puts cars away for future runs.

Away the cars go.

The sword fish used here came from one of those tropical drinks.

A box car from Matt Furze's Elkhorn and Galena made it all the way to Maine.

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