Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Toward Real Operation

Recently, I can tell Jérôme is anxious to start operating the layout again. Maybe he was a little bit impatient, but looking at this blog archives, it’s been 4 months since the layout was “operable”. Most parts have been under serious rebuilding since last March, some since December 2013. One year later and only a truncated mainline on the peninsula survives (with a dirty siding at Dominion Textile, if that counts). In fact, this only remaining part is ballast which explains it still in place. It would be depressing to pull out the only scenic part of the layout.

All that means it is more than time to lay some tracks over the newly finished benchwork.  I’d like to plan every little detail, but it isn’t realistic. What my short lived Quebec South Shore Railway layout told me is that you can achieve realistic and acceptable scenery and track work without going crazy and spending years. That’s my goal for the next step. Having a function Donohue plant by December would be great and encouraging. I really feel it’s time to see some action because you can quickly lose sight of your goal while trying to over-achieve: operating train. That is another aspect of an achievable layout: it is not something vague lost in the future but a present endeavour.

That said, I’m not sad to have “lost” months over rebuilding. Many things on the layout were going nowhere before we moved on modelling Murray Bay Subdivision in the 80s. My fellow club members aren’t the type of people who write their thoughts and waste evenings trying to plan everything. But this rebuilding process helped them to define better their priorities. With that knowledge gained, it was possible to take account of everyone’s interest in the hobby and try to get a coherent whole. So we may have "lost" a few months of operation, but I feel like the next ones will be more rewarding.

Scenery sketch of Clermont and Donohue

By the way, I started planning which structures will be needed for Clermont. A few houses, a few shanties, gates, offices and loading/unloading facilities. Most of them are already built in some form and will only need to be repainted and bashed as needed when I'll feel doing it. Many are very old kits my parents bought me when I was in elementary school back in the early 90s.

Donohue's building are simplistic steel-clad warehouses with some rudimentary piping. Nothing to fear! Hope to work on them in a foreseeable future. But one thing is sure, the house on the hill in Clermont is gonna stay there for a while.

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