Sunday, November 6, 2016

Shaping Clermont

Last Friday was a very loooooong evening. But at least, it was extremely productive! As far as I'm concerned, Clermont basic topography is now complete and tracks are painted with the brown base color. Next steps involve replacing the Shinohara turnout with a custom made one and weathering the track. Once done, we will be able to start applying basic scenery and ballast which will have a tremendous impact on the scene. But until that happens, we started to finalize the planning surrounding Clermont.

Leaving Clermont with Donuhue paper mill far away in the background

Long time readers will find it took us an eternity to settle down on a final concept for that area, but I'm rather happy didn't rush it. We've been operating the layout for over two years now and have a much better grasp at what we expect from this scene.

That said, working on a scene in 2D or simply with basic topography can be extremely misleading and we got a good surprise last Friday when trying to make something out of Clermont. Structures and trees can have a serious impact on your perception!

As I recently said, it has been aknowledged the second siding isn't probably going to materialize in the near future, so we decided to move forward with the scene instead of using it as an excuse to do nothing. For an operational standpoint, we need a versatile siding that can handle a sizeable variety of freight commodities.

For this reason, we decided to forget the propane dealer thing and rather go for the feed mill. As I explained in many occasions in the past here, there is indeed a Coop in Clermont that used to be rail served until the early 1990s. Such an industry is convenient because it can handle a lot of traffic including grain, building supplies, heating oil and propane.

It was now time to see if this idea could survive the mockup test. For the occasion, we used an old Pola feed mill. The structure is European in style, but the shape and size (except the elevator is too small) is right.

I always feared such a large structure would look awkward because of the location on a S-curve and the relative proximity of the cliff. Some test with Walthers grain bin didn't bring any good results. But this time, I feel the scene composition, while protofreelanced, carry perfectly the feeling of railroading in Charlevoix.

Too make sure the composition was right, we added a lot of trees to see how the final result would looks. And seriously, I'm amazed by how it now looks. It's far better than I expected and the new added land on the peninsula really frame the scene perfectly. As a matter of fact, trees now make this scene looks larger and efficiently separate the St. Lawrence river scene from Clermont.

So now I found a new challenge, having to build a decent feed mill from scratch. The structure is now about half-built and proto-freelanced using Clermont and Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré's feedmills as inspiration. I made sure the building is based on credible dimensions so it looks good with 50 feet cars.

Now, the big question is: would 40ft grain boxcars be still in service in Eastern Canada by the mid-1980s. It seems it could have been possible and I would certainly prefer to run them than use Canadian cylindrical grain hoppers that would look out of place in Charlevoix. Keeping in mind the restrictions of weight on the line, that could make sense. At least, it would be a good reason to improve and weather my fleet of Athearn and Roundhouse CN grain boxcars. If any of you have more information about grain boxcars in Eastern Canada during the 1980s, feel free to reply. As far as my research goes, I only found the usual stuff about the Prairies' branchlines and Churchill.


  1. C'est hot! je suis du pour une visite...

    1. Merci! Tu as juste à nous faire signe quand ça t'adonneras!