Interesting Facts Construction
What is TAMR?
The Lake Erie &
Ohio Railway was officially started on February 22, 2004, by Chris
Burchett and Peter Maurath. This N scale pike is actually a
modular layout, with each contributor owning one section a piece.
Each section is approximately 3' long-by-2' wide;
the assembled layout with both sections attached is approximately 6'
long-by-2' wide. The layout track/concept was designed by George
Baustert after the dimensions and overall desires of the two ultimate
owners were supplied. The two sections are held together by
nothing more than two latches on each side and supported underneath by
an eight-foot table. The base is 3/4" plywood and the
sub-base is foam insulation board, as are the hills. Overall, each
module weighs no more than fifteen pounds.
The LE&O was named after the two bodies of water where
each owner resides--Peter being close to Lake Erie and Chris near the
Ohio River. The
layout idea came into being after a Teen Association of Model
convention in early February 2004 in West Springfield, Massachusetts,
which was held in conjunction with the gigantic Amherst Railway Society
train show at the Eastern States Exposition. Wanting to display
something with a little more to it, the two would-be owners set out to
build a small N scale layout jam-packed with detail. Since Peter
lives in Cleveland, modeling the urban environment on his half was an
obvious choice; and since Chris lived in the rather rural hill country
of Southeastern Ohio, modeling the country was also a no-brainer.
Constructing the two sections at the same time over a distance of some
150 miles (with some weekends of actually getting together to put the
two sections together, help Chris with the scenery, etc.), Chris and
Pete finished the layout on January 27, 2005--one month shy of a full
year. Using cardstock, plastic styrene sheets, rods and tubes,
Atlas flex-track, and other inexpensive items, the layout was
constructed rather economically considering the amount of detail.
Let's start with the city of Franklin, the focus of Peter's
half of the "LEO" and modeled as a large city (basically
Cleveland) on Lake Erie. On the lower section of the module is
Baustert Avenue and the Franklin Industrial District. Overlooking
the Industrial District is an edge of Franklin's downtown business
district. In downtown, a person strolling along Charles Zehner
Boulevard (named for the late PBS Tracks Ahead host) can find
Hillcrest Medical Center, Club 19, Vezina Photography (named for TAMR
member Newton Vezina), and BJ's Cafe (named for another TAMR member and
past president, Brent Johnson). Tammer Avenue intersects Zehner
Boulevard next to Hillcrest Medical, and one can find on this section
the Tim Vermande Cancer Center (named for Tim Vermande, a TAMR veteran
still assists the organization tremendously) and the John Reichel
Medical Building (named for yet another, albeit former, TAMR member).
In the Industrial District, one can find along Baustert
Avenue (named for the layout's designer) Neal-Seidel Manufacturing
(named for two former TAMR members who assisted the group in the early
days), Wagie Music (named for another former TAMR member from the early
days who was also the association's first president), and Erie Energy's
David L. Burris Generating Station (named for the TAMR's founder).
The streets in downtown are lined with a particularly
interesting form of street lights--spaghetti noodle. That's right,
the same stuff you use to make pasta dishes. Did we mention we
were economic here? Numerous scenes are placed throughout the
module to attract further attention to the already-impressive city.
Since there isn't much that can
be done with a rural environment on a 3x2 module, a lot of scenarios had
to be considered. The ultimate module display ended up having
State Route 88 cut right across the layout, with hills on either side, a
creek that had been mostly channeled by a culvert, a couple industries,
and a farm. Who says you can't do much with this tight space?
The town of Howerton, which is not modeled, is a fictional town based on
the New Straitsville area and named after an ancestral branch of Chris's
family tree. The main industries of this town is Heibur
Manufacturing, named after Chris's parents' last names (Heiser and
Burchett), and Baustert Coal Company, named after--you guessed
it--George Baustert. Heibur is "built" on top of the
creek, with a re-enforced concrete culvert channeling the water to the
other side. Baustert Coal, an Erie Energy company, also has a mine
office located on the highway level. A folding security gate/fence
is still attached to the building long after the violent coal strike
One can find numerous trees throughout (using actual
shrubbery for the trunks) as well as gas pipeline markers, phone line
pedestals, electric poles with wires made of fishing line, guardrails
along the road, and tall grass where the mowers can't or won't get to.
A rather well done layout if we may
say so, the LE&O is typically touring various train shows, but will
be taking a one-year hiatus from the circuit to undergo some
changes. We've posted a construction diary with photos of the
changes that will be coming to a show near you! So be sure to
check back at various times to see what's new with the LE&O.
Once we're touring again, be sure to stop by our table and mention you saw us on the Web!
Top of page