|An artist impression of things to expect...
After a good discussion at the club yesterday, it was decided not only to upgrade the car fleet but also the locomotive fleet. I don't want to sound like a broken record, but while browsing through the locomotive drawer, it was evident the poor thing was cluttered with absolutely useless items. Imagine... CP Rail F9s, Atlas GP40-2W with wrong noses, GE Dash 8 and an incredible load of RS18s. They will have to go... along with other stuff to make room for more relevant stuff. Some will be sold, others will enter the display cabinet.
It certainly isn't a new subject here. But managing a layout (yes, owning a layout is much more than just building and operating the thing) can be a hard task. While I admire guys with large layouts and dozen of locomotives, my context is different. For example, I have no time or interest in fine tuning a large motive power fleet for the sake of using almost never. On the other hand, Putting a lot of efforts on a very few models is more appealing to me because there is a reward at the end of the day. As I explained on my Quebec South Shore Railway blog, I've come to love doing smaller layouts with focussed scope because I feel, when I work a few hours on them, that I can see substantial progress. This is an important motivational factor, particularly for a motley crew like Hedley Junction.
But I also feel it is a good way to clarify the story we are telling to ourselves and others throught the intermediary of the layout. Should it be a cluster of nostalgia? Should we approach it as a messed up collection of "likes" or should we simply tell the story through the lenses of our artistic choices? As it stands, Hedley Junction (which incidently is misnamed) is nothing more than a vehicle showing us how freight was handled in rural Quebec City area before desindustrialisation killed landmark industries. I think we should see it as a canvas, or a series of vignettes. Just like a professional photographer, we have selected and framed a few subjects we thought would help to understand the big story behind all this.
In this regard, nobody will be surprised that I officially announce we have pre-ordered a fleet of three undecorated Rapido SW1200RS that will be painted as CFC 1303, 1323 and 1330. And no, it's not a matter of jumping in the proverbial bandwagon, but rather an excellent occasion of focusing our project and giving it more personality and individuality. It shrinks the fleet drastically while creating a sense of uniqueness to the layout, rooting it closer to its identity, which in return strengthen that goal of telling a story.
Technically, it won't have any relevant impact on the layout as built and designed, except it will help a lot to push our modelling and scenery efforts to another level, particularly in Villeneuve district. I'm already working, as we speak, to develop coloration for track and ballast on scrap of flextracks. So far, what I see is well worth the time and effort and I hope to soon document it on the blog.