Sunday, October 26, 2014

Progress at Villeneuve, QC

Train 525 crossing Sous-bois street in Villeneuve back in the days.
Well, having laid all track at Donohue's plant, given trackage between Donohue and Montmorency is now operable (thought Clermont siding and team track aren't built), it was tiem to start laying track in Villeneuve. The goal is to reach Limoilou by Christmas and start having real full operation sessions.

From a "project manager" standpoint, this is an exciting new step to reach and shows us how much our efforts since the radical turning point are starting to pay off. It wasn't an easy decision back then, it could have impacted seriously our troop's moral, but I don't regret any of it. The layout is now something far better than a toyish reconstruction of a lost golden age, it is a real operating railroad - albeit in miniature.

Some liberties were taken while locating turnouts yesterday. The original plan called for all turnouts  installed in the layout room for easy access. However, it quickly became apparent to Jérôme and me the right choice was to pull them back further in the furnace room. That would give us more lenghty sidings to handle heavy traffic at the cement plant and more freedom to organize the structure. They will be operated with manual control from Fast Track which are quite reliable. I'm not into motorized turnouts on rural branchline, they are out of place and kills a part of the operation fun.

We took extra care to get smooth curved transition in the furnace room to have the most reliable operation possible. From experience, I know tight radius curves are the most annoying feature on a layout. If you can have 30" curves do it, if you can have 48" curves do it and if you have 72" curves go for it!! I'm slightly exaggerating, but the larger the better... and looks more realistic! 

Villeneuve yard trackage was partially installed to. Roadbed is made out of cork tiles sold at the home improvement store. Really saves a lot of work instead of regular cork roadbed for large surface. I glued them down with white glue and nailed them after to make sure everything was level.

Sous-Bois street was also built in the same manner. I didn't care about bevelling the cork. I'll do that with "universal mud", easier and more realistic. We kept an old batch in a paint container a few weeks ago to see if you can preserve it for later use. The short answer is yes. The long answer is that after about a month, it start to solidify. In fact, the texture changed a little bit and it looked like drying dog crap.

Finally, we installed the cement plant mock up back in place to see how things worked together. Particularly impressive I must say. Those who knows Villeneuve will recognize the place without efforts! And this new GMD1 in orange and black scheme is stunning!

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