Finally, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. A first section of the layout is fully track layed. Once again, paper plan was just an indication and things were worked around a little bit on site to get the most from the available space.
So far, I’m particularly satisfied. The track plan may look complex but is in fact very simple and easy to work. There’s enough activity there to suggest this is a very large mill desserving to be the powerhouse of the subdivision.
I like the two long sidings used to store chemicals and woodchips. I didn’t thought it would look so good and see a lot of scenic potential there.
Locating the woodchips unloader wasn’t an easy task and I tried 3 configurations before I was fully satisfied. I wanted the building to be far enough from the fascia to be able to model the little dirt access road running parallel to it. I’m not that fond of buildings located too much in the foreground. The remaining space between the two sidings and the long storage track in the background will be occupied by different sheds and tools just like the prototype.
I made the storage track a little bit wavy to give it some visual interest and optimize the space for the sheds and woodchips piles.
Operation wise, I think the best option is the following. CN pulls outbound cars directly from Donohue and replaced them with inbound cars. That means no need for complex operations at Clermont. This diminutive yard is too small to handle long freight trains (more than 10 cars). I would also make the layout cluttered. Instead, Clermont will be considered a passing siding and the small siding as team track for various customers in Clermont. This way, the new team track will be a good opportunity to model typical activities from Murray Bay Sub we couldn’t do before: oil, finished lumber, propane, electric wire (General Cable), crushed stone, grain, fertilizers and others. This is a very small part of traffic, but gives some variety. One must remember there’s an industrial park in Clermont located at Wieland where you could find many rail-served industries (feeds mill, lumber loading area, propane dealer, General Cable and a few others). I feel it really gives Clermont the importance it needs to be the end of the line top station. Better, it means the crew operating the 522-523 train have real switching duties which makes running this train more than picking up cars at large industries.
I also filled the parking lot with various cars and trucks typical of the era I had acquired over the years. Didn’t know I had so much of them! I’ll need to get more pick-up trucks because they are so popular in remote areas like Clermont.
As you can see, I’m starting to almost like the Atlas CN GP40 with their badly shaped cab nose. I’ll have to give some thought about weathering and upgrading them.
Next time, we will wire and test the track.