Thursday, January 5, 2017

Tring-Jonction - Images of Days Gone By

Doing a quick search on Bibliothèque et archives nationales du Québec (BanQ) website provided a wealth of great pictures regarding the Tring Subdivision. Not scanned but available for consultation are plans and main line elevation othe entire Megantic Branch (Tring Subdivision). Also available are architectural drawings of all the station (1st, 2nd and 3rd class).

It also confirmed many relevant archives are on lease at Groupe TRAQ. So there is a lot of material to draw inspiration from. Already, I can state a few things that struck me since I started this project earlier this week:

  1. All three grain elevators located in Tring-Jonction, St. Éphrem and Courcelles were all built in the 1940s following a common prototype. I can also say confidently most feedmills/elevators in Québec were built at that time and I suspect a generic set of plans existed. All feature the same details, same footprint and same roof slope angle. Given Western elevators were all built following standardized practice, it seems it was the same in Québec. It should be noted the 1930s and 1940s were crucial in the development of farmer's co-op in La belle province back then. If anybody is aware of architectural drawings for these buildings, let me know.
  2. Stock pens were common at many location. So far, I have evidence for one in Courcelles and one in Tring-Jonction. They have similar shape and size.
  3. Each station had a passing track albeit many were used as team track according to pictures available.
As a matter of fact, I also tried to streamline the track plan. For St. Éphrem and Courcelles (or St. Évariste), the layout will change as I get more data. For Tring-Jonction, I was lucky enough to find nice pictures of the feedmill on BanQ. As we can see, the stock pen and feedmill were on the same siding on the other side of the station. Also, by 1959, the team track beside the station was already gone, so no need to keep it in the final design. In the first picture, the feedmill can be seen. On the left side, in the background, it's the speeder shed and enclosed square water tower. You can click on the picture reference to see the original high resolution picture.

Tring-Jonction Co-Op in the 1940s (BanQ: E6,S7,SS1,P60820)
The feedmill picture is interesting, because the warehouse looks like a icehouse with the large roof vents and the door. The platform is missing. It seems the building is older than the elevator and could have been repurposed when the building - I suspect - was decommissionned and sold to the local farmer's coop. Feel free to give your opinion about this building. Would wooden plaforms have been required to ice the reefers?

This definitely looks like a icehouse isn't it? (BanQ: E6,S7,SS1,P60821)

Since I think operating a layout with large structures in the foreground is a real pain in the ass, I prefer to send the customers against the backdrop right between the wye legs. It's visually more interesting and provide a nice scenic element. However, I do keep a team track/rip track/fueling facility in front of the station where it would make sense. This is the spot where I would keep the locomotive between sessions. The fueling could be a simple oil truck parked near the track just like Rick de Candido did on his Fillmore Avenue Terminal. This is a neat and simple idea that brings visual interest and help to establish a story.

 Another interesting point is that when you build a nice station (just google " Gare Tring-Jonction" and you'll see what I mean), you want it behind the main line so you can appreciate your trains running in front of it. When I design such scenic elements, I like to make sure a maximum of operations can occur there. For this reason, you'll notice that a locomotive switching the feedmill siding in Tring-Jonction will make most of its moves in front of the station which is exactly what we want. I a previous version of the track plan, it was done by the other side. I feel switching in the countryside near the trestle just spoil the main line while making the layout feel small. I think - whenever possible - we should always try to keep the action in a single scene and try to not contamiate the next one with moves that have no reason to occur there. I rarely hear that from other modellers, but feel it should always be taken into account when design a layout, particularly a small one.

The main line runs behind Placo Limitée factory (BanQ: E6, S7, SS1, P78684)

Finally, another industry existed in Tring-Jonction. It was a veneer factory called Placo Limitée. The structure still exist to this day with its nice square brick chimney which is a well-known landmark of Tring-Jonction. I have no evidence it was rail-served, but it's highly possible. I'm not sure I would model it on the layout even if it could be very interesting. However, it could be served by the team track and a similar structure could be used as a backdrop building inside the Mégantic wye. By the way, the real Placo factory is well hidden in vegetation when seen from the track, making only the roof and chimney stick out of the foliage.

I'm certainly more satisfied with the recent upgrade in the track plan. Now I feel each scene flow into another. With the inclusion of Placo Limited instead of a generic forest, it helps to expand the panorama of Tring-Jonction without weakening the point-to-point operation. Also, I'm also starting to put in question the true need to interchange cars in Megantic. At this point, the train will be long enough when reaching that destination. Serving Placo could be much more interesting and not so far-fetched since near Megantic wye, you can find a particular board and melamine manufacturer called Tafisa.

Also, with three feedmill in activity, the agricultural theme of the layout is firmly grounded. No need to service all of them during an operating session, which help ensure variety without requiring a lot of types of industries. Keep it simple isn't it?

So what's the current list of industries:

-3 feedmills/Co-Op (Tring-Jonction, St. Éphrem & Courcelles)
-2 saw mills/lumber yards (St. Éphrem & Courcelles)
-3 team tracks (Tring-Jonction, St. Éphrem & Courcelles)
-2 stock pens (Tring-Jonction & Courcelles)
-1 veneer mill (Mégantic)

Total: 11 industries. Not bad and more than enough for solo operation.

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