Friday, December 5, 2014

Winter Blues

I didn’t feel well yesterday and finally decided to operate the layout and try to find out electrical bugs here and there. Nothing fancy... with my headache, locomotive sound was getting on my nerves!

Meanwhile, Jérôme started to convert the new Dayliner (Budd RDC-2) to DCC. Seems it will be a lot of work to get it working in order. His intention is to add a camera into the cab, new lighting including red tail lights and, maybe, sound. I must admit it may sounds like a gimmick, but it will be a once in a life time chance to travel good old QRL&PCo tracks on an interurban train.

Since wiring isn’t yet complete, switching at Ciment St-Laurent was arduous and I quickly clogged Villeneuve yard as I didn’t have any access to staging. I think getting car storage will be crucial before any large scale operation sessions starts. Louis-Marie is actually designing a cabinet that will hold cars off track in D’Estimauville.

Anyway, I was also happy with the freight car fleet which is quite coherent and realistic. The view of Villeneuve gives a good idea of the usual cars to be found on the layout.

Finally, I made some changes to Dominion Textile plant. I recently studied insurance maps from the 50s and tried to understand how the plant really worked. Basically, raw cotton was received on the eastern-most warehouse and manufactured goods were shipped from the western-most warehouse. It makes sense because foreign cars from southern USA were always spotted west while Canadian cars east. In the later years, most goods were trucked and only cars can be seen on the east side.

This scene start to look like the real thing.
 My first version of Dominion Textile was very dynamic with lots of intricate volumes. In fact, the real plant was quite plain on the railway side. It was a large brick façade towering over a small olive green with orange trims station (destroyed in 1978). It was a one-sided urban canyon.

Yesterday mock up followed this pattern as closely as the available structures could afford. I’m not 100% sure, but it made enough room to model the old electric powerhouse that stood behind Dominion Textile. Anyway, modifications will wait since D’Estimauville and Villeneuve have priority.

Breaking News: Today is another sad day for Charlevoix. After General Cables closure, one paper machine out of two will be permanently shut down in Clermont. The company listed many factors and stressed it was permanent. This mill is probably going to end up like the one in Beaupré in a few years; torn down. I won’t be nostalgic about that. Markets and needs evolve, industries are merely answering for given time, to them. However, that may call the definitive end of freight trains over Murray Bay sub. Ex-Donohue mill is the last sizable customer surviving in the area. Since the 80s, 15 large and medium-sized customers close down… It includes, among many others; Ciment St-Laurent, Briques Citadelle, Dominion Textile and Abitibi-Price. They have been obliterated from the face of the Earth…

But I must admit seeing your birthplace dying out and morphing into a faceless sprawling suburb isn’t very rejoicing. Seeing school dropouts getting rich by breaking rules and building crappy new neighbourhoods and commercial strips isn’t exactly my definition of progress. May God forgive them. But let’s face it… Any people living in rural areas near large cities know this feeling. I just wish I wouldn’t have to witness it, but that’s part of growing old I guess.

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