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Scott Lister’s Greenville and Northern Railroad

In August I had the opportunity to meet Scott Lister, and see his amazing Greenville and Northern Railroad in S scale. Scott has spent his entire life in the Greenville, South Carolina area and wanted to model a local prototype railroad. He selected the Greenville and Northern Railroad, an 11.3 mile short line that ran between Greenville and Travelers Rest, South Carolina. The railroad operated from 1920 to 1997, and was abandoned in 2005. Scott selected 1955 to 1960 as the years he is modeling when the line was very active serving customers. The line served numerous industries along the line including a scrap metal yard, pulp wood, lumber, a chemical company, and interchanged with other railroads in Greenville. The Greenville and Northern Railroad is an excellent candidate for a small switching layout for those that enjoy modeling a short line.

Scott is modeling in S scale, which is 1:64 proportion, and an architectural scale of 3/16” to the foot. S scale is an ideal scale fitting half way between HO and O scale. For those that would like to get more information about S scale I recommend you check out the S Scale Special Interest Group (SIG) at https://sscale.org/

Modeling in S scale does present a few challenges as locomotives, rolling stock, track, and structures are not as prevalent as they are in HO scale. Model railroaders like Scott, who model in O scale, don’t look at it as a disadvantage, they enjoy scratch building and hand laying their track. Scott has done an amazing job on his structures and modified his locomotives to run silky smooth on his beautiful hand laid track.

Scott has numerous photos of the prototype on the fascia of his layout showing the prototype scenes, and then you can compare it to his model railroad scene of the same area. All of Scott’s structures are scratch built to replicate the prototype and you can easily see his skill as a professional carpenter and builder in how they are constructed. One of many stand out structures on his layout is his two story house under construction. The framing is exactly like a full sized house would be framed with appropriate sized headers over the doors and windows. Scott even included batter boards around the perimeter of the house and workers installing a sewer line. Now that is outstanding attention to detail! Scott has not overcrowded the scenes on his layout and left plenty of negative space so it looks very realistic.

The layout is located in the basement of Scott’s house and features wide aisles and a museum like presentation with no storage under the layout. A separate room houses his work shop and storage area. The layout is well lighted in a climate controlled room so it is a very comfortable space to work and operate on the layout.

Operations will focus around the Greenville and Northern Railroad and the local that runs up the line to switch industries. Crews will begin their day with picking up their locomotive from the engine house. Next, the crew will then head over to the yard to pick up their cars for the local switch job. Once they have their train blocked properly they will head up the line switching the trailing point industries. After reaching the end of the line, they will run around their train on a double ended siding and head back south to the yard, completing any switching that needs to be done. A second railroad in the Greenville area will handle switching a couple of other industries and interchange with the Greenville and Northern. This gives Scott the ability to have a second switch crew working while the other crew works the Greenville and Northern.

If you would like to see more about Scott’s layout check out his Facebook page at Modeling the Greenville and Northern RR in S scale by Scott Lister. Scott was a very gracious host and I really enjoyed meeting him and seeing his layout. I hope to be back soon when Scott starts having regular operating sessions.

Until next time, stay safe and keep model railroading.

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