Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Revisiting (Again) The Peninsula

Ah! The peninsula… I’ve been thinking about since the last year. In fact, it was the element that started the layout rebuilding and era shift. Jérôme often remind me it was build fast and furiously before we got his advice. And, I must humbly admit he was quite right. On the other hand, this layout section has been our postcard image for years now.

I’ve been giving a lot of thoughts about it. Many ideas were explored, including a small yard, a wharf, a rural town and many others. These have all their own merits, however, they fail to address the physical parameters we can’t change. Louis-Marie made it clear the furnace would be there for a long time, i.e., it won’t move. That makes our rebuilding options somewhat limited.

I must accept is the fact walls are there to stay. New space can only be gained by narrowing the aisles. I’m not eager to go under 42 inches for main aisle and 36-32 inches for side aisles. The layout room is also used as a laundry room, we can't forget that point. And, if possible, salvaging large part of the actual peninsula structure makes a lot of sense. It was among our best work so far and could be easily altered.

The actual peninsula radius is less than 24 inches. In fact, it is about 22 inches at best. The larger radius we use, the larger the peninsula gets. At best, I have a space that can afford a 54 inches diameter, thus 27 inches radius. This is rather good, but the problem is that I must use a curved turnout to install the turnout. PECO turnout has an interior radius of about 30 inches. This means the use of a compound curve is required. From Montmorency to Wieland, the curve will gradually get a larger radius. In fact, this is the best because where important scenery and key operation is required, the trackage will be smoother. And with a 27 inches minimum radius, I feel long cars won’t be too much out of places.

You’ll also see I’ve quite reduced the amount of scenic elements. Maizerets’ lessons are kicking in and I decided to keep things larger and more realistically spaced. I’m now convinced realistic model railroad scenery (except for very urban settings) should have a strong horizontal component. On this revised layout plan, you’ll see that from Montmorency to Wieland’s road (even Malbaie River), the forested cliff is almost a continuous feature. In fact, it represents a 23 to 29 feet continuous backdrop. This is no small scenic feat for such a “small” basement layout.

The wharf idea was quite a stretch and I prefer a simplistic grassed over small team track like Wieland. Some MoW material can be left there to rust and other commodities can be transloaded there. The small winding road of Clermont with the stone wall will be reintroduced.  It is iconic, but not overwhelming.  This is the kind of specific particularities that tells a lot about the place without dominating a scene.

As you can see, most CN operations now occur in Donohue’s yard.  This is not prototypical, but not unlikely either. We have operated the layout many times with this track layout and it works fine. Why change a winning formula?

Last but not the least; I place an almost full size Dominion Textile façade from wall to wall. I’ll have to mock it up, but I feel it will be the most satisfying way to render the shear hugeness of this plant without compromises and having to resort to all kind of scenic gimmicks.

As you can see, the proposed track layout is quite simplistic. There are vast expenses of scenery large enough to make you believe the train is truly traveling somewhere.  The more the train gets dwarfed by its environment, the more we get near to what Murray Bay Subdivision is all about (and probably 99% of North American railroads and everywhere in the world). And remember, it can take almost two hours to fully operate this part of the layout (2 industries, 1 team track).

Clermont in the late 70s (credit: Massey Jones)
Now it’s time to talk about it to fellow club members! And if you want an idea about the team track and nearby structures, Massey Jones will give you a good idea.

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