Sunday, November 22, 2015

News and Update: Hereford Railway

November is well know to be the month of the deads. It explains in part why the blog wasn't updated since two club sessions were cancelled.

However, it doesn't mean nothing was achieved. In fact, we did operate, which is one of the reason we build model railroads. I promised scenery before Christmas but it won't happen. We are working in improving more mundane things like lighting. Many new fluorescents were added which made the room much more brigther! Maybe two much!

We are also tracking down every mechanical and electrical problem we face. It means the rolling stock is going to be improved steadily.

Anyway, we are actually working on completing once for all the small Erie's Harlem Station switching layout. We finally decided to wire the layout and operate it in DC. That choice was made for budget reasons.

Finally, having completed Hedley-Junction track laying means my brain is now ready for a new challenge. I decided to restart an old project dear to me: modelling a CPR dwindling branchline. I draws inspiration from my railfan trips in the Eastern Townships where canadian and american railways converged at the border. Since I no longer have room for a shelf layout in the house, I elected to build an island layout in the basement. And brace  yourself, it is a dreaded continuous running 4' x 8' layout!

It may sounds totally unexpected from me, but my experiment with my short lived but eye opening Quebec South Shore Railway (QSSR) made me rethink about what I thought was granted.

First, with a relatively large layout where you have some mainline run, there's no need for continuous running to feel the train's going somewhere. A good example is Trevor Marshall's Port Rowan layout which is quite simplistic by normal standards. When you go smaller - modelling only one scene - there's no place for that extra lenght of track that make you believe the train is coming from somewhere. It really bothered me with QSSR and I quickly added an extra hollow core door. But it wasn't enough to make it believeable.

With the new layout, I only model one town, but it ain't a terminal but some "normal" location on a main line. The continuous running is a gimmick to stage the trains. It also makes it possible to run trains through the town that aren't related to it. The idea is to run every cars I have without having a specific industry in town to justify it. If I want to run an extra train pulling only reefers, it will be possible. The town will be just an excuse for model railfanning, which in itself is an activity I always enjoyed even when I was four years old.

The layout itself will be based on an old line called the Hereford Railway between Dudswell Junction (Quebec Central) and Beecher Falls (Maine Central). The line was operated by MEC until the late 20s when it was bought by CPR. CPR cut the connection with Beecher Falls quickly and only operated a mixed train down to Malvina. In my proto-freelanced world, CPR still owns the line but MEC keep running rights up to Dudswell thus continuing the direct link between Portland and Quebec City. Since Malvina is CPR defacto terminus, there's a small engine facilities there.

Hereford Railway map (www.estrieplus.com)


Industries in Malvina are mostly related to agriculture: a feed mill/oil dealer and a team track with a cattle pen. I thought about having a small spur going to a sawmill, but I decided against it. The sawmill on Hereford Railway was in Sawyerville and I'll keep it like that. Lumber was loaded on many sidings along the road and it could be the same in Malvina without the need to add a siding.

By the way, Hereford Railway was nicknamed as the Raspberry Branch. I'm wanting to paly along that concept as much as I can when doing scenery. This new layout will be a good occasion to experiment with new construction and scenery technics... and a good excused to do something with my steam era locomotives and rolling stock.

For people interested to learn a little bit more about the Hereford Railway and able to read French, EstriePlus.com ran an interesting series of articles in 2014-2015. For some reason, the author wrote "Main Central" instead of Maine Central. Don't let that bother you!

Hereford Railway History:

Part 1
Part 2

Part 3
Part 4
Part 5





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