Thursday, February 2, 2017

Montmorency as it could have been

Don't ask me why, but yesterday - when thinking about Montmorency - I thought about Prof Klyzlr's Chicago Fork exhibit layout. This little O scale gem is based on the classic Inglenook track plan but set in a realistic surrounding.Not treated as a fantasy terminal, it makes for a nice diorama but also for a nice little switching layout as someone isn't forced to play the Inglenook rule. It is certainly limited, but less than you think.

The thing is Chicago Fork had a lot in common with later year Montmorency: a main line, an industrial siding and a passing track. In the case of Montmorency you replace passing track with the old wye west leg.

Having a set of 18" x 80" hollow core doors always ready for layout experiment, I was curious to see if I could build a classic 5-3-3 Inglenook out of it. I used Peco code 83 #6 turnouts and decided to use 4-axle diesel as motive power and 50 ft boxcars as rolling stock. And everything fit the allowed space without requiring annoying cassette and other gimmicks.

At that point, the question was to know if this layout could capture the sheer awesomeness of Dominion Textile. Recently, fellow modeller Stéphane Melançon sent me this nice picture shot probably in the very early 1980s and I thought it would be nice to try to replicate this view.

And here is the result, which is far better than I thought. Not only the track plan work but it represents well the prototype. Better, the Dominion Textile plant as a 5 feet long brick facade which is exactly what we need to convey that big cotton processing complex.

Montmorency Falls in HO scale

By setting the layout in 1978, I can reuse my dilapidated Montmorency Falls station model. Not only it add a little bit of visual interest but it is used to hide the layout end. The same is done with trees and structures on the right side where topography start to raise on the prototype.

While I argued yesterday replicating this scene would require a lot of space, I changed my mind a little bit. I still think someone could build an entire scene around this complex, but framing a part of the scene, in particular the west section, it is possible to convey the sense of place nicely. As a matter of fact, such a small layout could indeed be connected to other modules later if one wish so. But the big lesson being this little exercise is choosing your angle of attack can dramatically influence the success of replicating a prototype.

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