Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Rediscovering Wieland

My policy of keeping scenes as uncluttered as I can may be sometimes hard to apply. Most of the time what is planned on paper has little to do with reality. No plan survives the battlefield isn’t it?

As you know, Clermont’s peninsula will probably be the site of our next large benchwork surgery. If we want to build the runaround there, radius must be bumped from 22 inches to 30 inches. That means the peninsula will be longer thus Clermont’s team track will also swell a little bit, which is a good thing.

Clermont in 1993 (credits: BANQ)
 While looking at old Murray Bay topographical maps yesterday, I found out many structures related to railway operations where located along Clermont yard and accessible from small service roads. In fact, there was no street between the track and the river at least until 1993 (the year CN sold off the line to Chemin de fer du Québec). This fact greatly changed my perception of this area. With the longer team track available, could I try to reproduce the farmer’s coop (feedmill)?

Wieland in 1959 (credits: BANQ)
Also, I could find out 4 large gas tanks once stood behind Coop Agrivoix, confirming there was once a rail-served oil and propane distributor. That makes sense because old pictures of freight trains from the 50s often have oil tank cars. I know another oil dealer, Imperial Esso, once stood in Baie-Saint-Paul too. By the way, I finally discovered that Wieland Station was in fact located near the feedmill where there are still a few sidings nowadays used for MoW. It makes sense. Until now, I always thought Wieland referred to Clermont’s wye. According to the maps, this wye was built after 1959.
Coop Agrivoix

The topographical maps shown me Coop Agrivoix building was substantially enlarged since it was first built. When I railfanned the area this summer with Louis-Marie, we took a few pictures of the building rear wall. We could easily see the original structure that is now hidden from the front street. Coop Agrivoix have 4 grain bin, a surge bin for trucks, an unloading pit and a large warehouse for supplies. A modern store was added on the south end. I wouldn’t model it, at least not in its actual size.

The layout plan above shows Coop Agrivoix original structures at scale. Not too deep – this is a good thing – but a little bit long… and reducing the team track capacity significantly. Also, having its public façade toward the hill makes no sense to me. On the positive side, the structure has appeal: bins, truck loading/unloading facilities, oil tanks.

Sainte-Anne's Coop (Google Earth)
That said, I tried to use another prototype: Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré’s old Shur-Gain feedmill. This farmer’s coop was close down in the 90s. Murray Bay Sub only had two feedmills (to my knowledge); Sainte-Anne and Clermont. Shur-Gain feedmill is a smaller and older structure. It’s more bulky and there’s no grain bins and fancy stuff like that. To be truly honest, I once modelled this structure when I was a kid and it made frequent appearance on my layouts since then. The most famous iteration was Quebec South Shore Railway. The proposed concept for Clermont borrows a lot from this small switching layout. In fact, I must admit Clermont station would probably be switched following a similar pattern since handled goods are the same. Also, the prototype feedmill was located on a double-ended team track which, among others, handled also oil products. The structure was accessible from a small dirt road and a large parking lot/gravel lot was adjacent to handle other freight operation.

Sainte-Anne's Coop - Service side (Google Earth)
Thus, I decided to superpose this feedmill template on the track plan. Bad news, the mill is quite deep because of its large rear shed. However, all business was done front the left side of the building. It means the public façade is clearly visible from the team track and there’s no need to keep clear space for truck behind the building. The feed mill would be “nested” in the woods and adjacent hill. In Sainte-Anne, the feedmill is also (nowadays) surrounded by vegetation. All in all, this prototype fits the place best and keeps the team track long enough to be believable. And I have already the building in hands.

I have no idea if I will really add the feedmill at this point. Only a proper mock up on the layout will give us a definite answer. However, I must admit I prefer Sainte-Anne’s prototype. I used to railfan trains in the area and the building itself have its own personality. Not too modern, not too old (built between 1929 and the early 50s), not too big, not to small. Better, it was built on an existing team track, many years later.

My own rendition of Sainte-Anne's Coop (QSSR layout)
Looks like Clermont station will be a mash up of Wieland and Clermont yard... Scenery will borrow a lot from Clermont, but operations will probably be inspired by Wieland.
Stay tuned.

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