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The Lenawee County Railroad was the inspiration for Doug Leffler's Lenawee Central Railroad,which was featured in the cover story of the January 1981 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. Doug wrote the following story about his layout for the October-November 1981 issue of The Cross Tracks, published by the Lenawee Area Railroaders:

Lenawee Central Railroad

by Doug Leffler

Shortline and branchline railroads have always held a special fascination for me as a dedicated rail enthusiast and model railroader.

Nowhere is the essence of shortline and branchline railroading exemplified more than in southeastern Michigan's own Lenawee County. The Lenawee County Railroad Company (LCRC) as well as Conrail's "Old Road" and Clinton branches are particularly

fascinating lines for the short line and branch line aficionado.

My early railfan encounters with the rail lines in Lenawee County convinced me beyond a shadow-of-a-doubt that they would provide, from both an esthetic and operational viewpoint, an excellent example from which to base a plausible model railroad.

The formation of the Lenawee County Railroad Company in the Fall of 1977 was the final inspiration that I needed to begin building my model railroad. The short distance between Adrian and Lenawee Junction seemed to be an ideal section of right-of-way to model the line, since many of the predominant feature's could be modeled by selectively compressing them into scaled down scenes.

Early in the planning stages I determined that my model railroad would be contemporary in scope, with all of the latest array of modern freight cars, including several short line ones, traversing may layout. The name that I chose was the Lenawee Central Railroad, even though I was basically modeling the Lenawee County Railroad. In my mind, the Central kind of sounded like the predecessor New York Central Railroad, only with a shortline flavor.

The variation in the corporate name also gave me a modeler's license with which I could slightly change my methods of operation to suit my fancy, instead of rigidly following LCRC's example.

The operation of the Lenawee Central closely follows that of the Lenawee County Railroad, which is typically short trains (with no caboose) and industry switching as required. Like the LCRC, the Lenawee Central serves Stubnitz Spring Co., Stevensons Lumber Company, and Jackson Iron & Metal Co. Also, like its prototype, the Lenawee Central connects with the Norfolk and Western Railroad in Adrian, and the Conrail Clinton branch at Lenawee Junction.

To provide additional operation and interest, I have added a couple of extra customers on my railroad, in the form of a grain elevator and cement company. The railroad will also eventually serve Merrilat Industries Inc., upon completion of the layout.

Motive power for the Lenawee Central currently consists of a modified and detailed Athearn GP-7, which is painted red with yellow trim, I hope to augment the roster with an Athearn SW-7 at a later date to add to my operating capabilities.

Although the Lenawee Central is not altogether finished, the portion of railroad which is completed is 90% sceniced. The scenery closely duplicates the look of the Great Lakes area, with lush grasses and weeds, and lots of trees.

Since the railroad is modeled to represent a short line in southern Michigan, there are no high mountains or rock cuts, just gently rolling hills and lowlands, as required.

All of the trackwork (including turnouts) on the Lenawee Central is hand laid with code 70 and 55 rail on individual wood ties. The layout extends along two walls of the basement on an "L"-shaped series of 2' x 6', and 2'-6" X 6' modules that are toggle bolted together and lagged into the wall as a partial support.

The future of the Lenawee Central includes completing the pike to include Merrilat Industries, and Tri-State Engineering as additional customers. The time period is expected to remain as current as possible, with the addition of new buildings, freight cars, and other modifications as needs dictate.

Doug has kindly provided some photos taken on his layout.

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