Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dominion Textile: the new industrial district

As you've seen, we are actually in the process of rebuilding a part of the layout that changed vocations many, many times. There's a lot of space, but many curves and obstacles.

After exchanging a few emails with Mr. Stéphane Mélançon from Montmorency, I was strongly convinced the Dominion Textile was the best choice to give life to this part of the layout. Also, it is nearer from the original intention to depict Murray Bay Subdivision through its iconic industries. Dominion Textile was the most impressive one and was even depicted in Frédéric Back's classic animated short movie "Crac!" in 1981. Anyway, a big thanks to Mr. Mélançon and I wish him good luck with is project to depict Montmorency in HO scale. That was probably the most busiest and interesting industrial area on Murray Bay Sub before the 90s.

Life is a strange thing. I always feels like I'm going back to my roots... My grandmother used to say "the first choice is always the best". You know what? She was right. And doing the Dominion Textile is going back to my highschool days, when I rided my bike 30km to get DMP modular walls at the local hobby shop to build QRL&PCo hydroelectric dam and loco shops.

Track plan was slightly modified. We got rid of the wye and passing track near the tunnel. We felt it overcrowded the place and was redundant in terms of operation.

At first, I thought 2 industrial sidings would be a good idea to maximise operability, but finally, I settled on a single track, like the prototype. As always, "less is more"...

The next step is to think about how buildings will work together to bring life and credibility to the scene. When in high schools, back in 1997, I made a 3D model of Dominion Textile using an archaic 3D modelling software (3D Walk-Through if my memory serves me right). From that time, I acquired a good idea of this plant. The most iconic part was the original building, with it's italianate staircase towers. They were the only fancy thing on this building, but forever made an impression on me as a kid. Definitetely a nice, efficient and inspiring 19th century industrial design.

To depict best this building, I should use Walthers Front Street Warehouse kit (two of them) to represent the mill. Middlesex Manufacturing kits I have will be used to make the rail-served warehouses. Various DPM and other kits will be used to make the boiler room.

Here's a few tries with Photoshop. I think it captures well the prototype, even if the configuration isn't similar.

Original mock up depicting Donnacona Fiberboard Co. plant

Digitally altered mock up depicting Dominion Textile's Montmorency plant

Scenery around the cotton mill will be made up of industrial parking lots, gravel roads and lots of electric poles of various shapes (QRL&PCo main hydroelectric dam was located behind Dominion Textile, thus a lot of poles and pylons were spreading from there). Maybe I'll try to reproduce the dam spillway that ran along the track. I remember well there was an old grafitti made in the late 1970s on it's concrete piles spelling in giant letters: "Z A P P A"... I always thought it was about Frank Zappa, who knows! Anyway, that will have to be mockuped directly on the layout.

The hydroelectric power plant and its iconic spillways prior to demolition in late 70s
Lots of electric poles near the power plant
Track runs near the cliff in Montmorency area, just like the layout.

If I have place, I'll use my model of Beaupré station as a stand-in for Montmorency Station. Both building were fairly similar and painted in the same bright orange and olive green scheme. The station was destroyed by CN circa 1978, just like other stations on the line.


  1. Yeah, la version digitale va être parfaite!... Je pense que les grosses portes pour les cargos étaient vertes... Le reste, ça ressemble énormément à la Dominion... En bas de la bâtisse du boiler, faire un petit trou pour qu'on puisse perdre nos balles de hockey quand on jouait à coté... Lol

    La gare est ultra impressionnante surtout avec les couleurs, vraiment ça va donner un voyage historique de la ville... Et encore une belle photo d'une loco électrique... Super.. :)

    1. Merci du commentaire Stéphane! Tu as été une source d'inspiration incroyable dans les derniers jours. On a terminé les voies ce soir, ne reste qu'à clouer les sidings.

      On a aussi commencé à refaire la cimenterie, les photos suivront bientôt. C'est un changement de plan radical, mais là, on a vraiment l'impression d'être à Québec!

      Pour les locos électriques, je vais t'envoyer un zip de photos que j'ai ramassé avec les années. Ça risque de te donner des idées.

  2. Ha moi aussi t'est aussi une source d'inspiration et d'informations... Disons que ça stagnait mon affaire depuis un bout mais ça va justement repartir très vite avec notre interaction.. Ca va gagner du temps et de l'argent aussi.. Mais vraiment, la Dominion dans les photos, c'est tellement pareille... Ça va devenir un musée chez vous éventuellement.. ;)