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Some background...

The Free Heaven Harbor Terminal Railroad was constructed in 18 months by a group of four French lovers of American trains.
The purpose of this layout was to make French people discover the capability of N scale and to make them use the existing track, equipment and scenery materials in order to build their "dream" layout.

The FHHT layout has been developed, based on NMRA standards. These fine line standards have been choosen in order to offer a quality scene to viewers and convince them to adopt a hobby that can be practiced in the family, or between friends, just like it is in the US.

All people who participated in this layout are members of the AFAN (Association Française des amis du N - or "French Association of N Scale Friends")

Some facts about the layout

Authors Gerard Rodriguez - gerard.r@chello.fr
Alain Joigneau
Jean Soukiassian
Marcel Jeanson
Scale N (1/160th)
Size 4.2 x 3.0 meters (14x10 ft.)
Structure L-Girder, sectionable
Track and switches Code 40 Micro Engineeering track with handlaid turnouts
Minimum radius 50cm (20 in.)
Maximum grade 0%
Layout control Conventional blocked DC control.

The layout

(Clicking on the track plan will display an enlarged version [96 kb] in a separate window).

At right is shown a simplified track plan of the layout which is a switching layout set in a harbour scenery.

The harbour is composed of many complex industries. Storing, loading and handling facilities have needed a lot of research and are, for most of them, reproduction of actual industries. Some other are purely free-lanced but based on the reality.

For the ocean ships, nothing exists in N scale as commercial vessels. Only a few war ships can be found in this scale. So the whole fleet was scratchbuilt, using sheet styrene, according to scale plans.

The layout is sectionable for easy transportation, since it has to be moved to many exhibitions. The connection between sections is made using wood dowels for alignment and regular machine screws for rigidity. This proved to be a good solution, even with the small track gauge used (code 40).

There are many plans for the future. Tracks will be improved. The "hidden" yard will be scenicked, although visitors will not see it, but operators will benefit of it. Street and building lighting will be put in place, A third ship will be build and, maybe, the central part of the layout will see the addition of a small module with an operating bascule bridge.

Some pictures.

(Click on the photos to see them full size and click on the full size photo to close it).

Photo #1 (47 Ko)

Free Heaven Terminal

The long «Free Heaven Terminal» warehouse hosts liberty ship «Oradour» from France; on the wharf, dockers are busy unloading it.

Photo #2 (54 Ko)

Intermodal operation

The big Mi-Jack straddle crane is handling the container unloading chore in the intermodal yard

Photo #3 (62 Ko)

The oil terminal

Employees at the oil terminal are getting ready to fill up these empty tank cars. Meanwhile, a pair of FHHT switchers is idling because of a badly parked car. Looks like the police will be soon on site.

Photo #4 (52 Ko)

Nordson Co.

Nordson Co. is a large sand and gravel company. It is supplied by overhead conveyors from barges at the nearby wharf.

Photo #5 (61 Ko)

Back street

At night, it's better not to hang around these streets, as strange individuals have their quarters here. During the day, and with the help of the local police, it's a rather quiet area.

Photo #6 (54 Ko)

The container yard

In the back is the WABCO company, specialized in railroad car brakes and safety appliances. In the foreground, the container yard sees a lot of activities with container unloading.

Photo #7 (51 Ko)

A typical day at Free Heaven

A moving van has pulled aside to get out of the way of the local switch job bringing a string of empty covered hoppers to the grain elevator.

Photo #8 (40 Ko)

Continental Grain Co.

The huge Continental Grain Co. elevator is connected to the loading wharves by means of a series of gangways which meander among fuel tanks.

More photos to come soon...
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Page created by Gerard Rodriguez
Photos by Serge Lepaire
Last update : 09/05/2000
© 2000, Gerard Rodriguez, Serge Lepaire
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