Saturday, September 23, 2017

East Angus: A Follow Up

Since my last post, I was able to get some more information about East Angus that helps to understand how the plant was rail served. For this reason, and also because Roger Sekera wanted more details, I updated the track plan to reflect the changes in my understanding.

On the positive side, the new discoveries make this plan interesting for a larger audience since the track arrangement was unchanged from the early 1900s up to the mid-1980s. Also, it helped to make the concept simpler to implement and operate.

First, you will remark I removed altogether the staging track. It could be kept, but I felt it was a hard to reach gimmicl and wasn't truly required. This saved space to model the power house full scale. As it stand, very little compression was used. What you see is almost as close as you can get from the real thing.

On the map, the green cars represent newsprint boxcars to be loaded. Blue cars bring on plant the required chemicals (tank cars, covered hoppers, boxcars). Since the plant was using the kraft process, any chemicals suitable for your era can be brought in. Remember, that mill didn't handle all the process. The red cars are other boxcars, mainly for additives or for wood pulp depending on your era too.

The second siding is used for switching and storing extra cars, however, while studying the old map, it became quite evident the plant used to receive coal to produce steam. The purple car represent a coal hopper and the coal pit. It should be noted coal wouldn't be required in large quantity since the plant was mainly powered by hydroelectricity produced by a nearby dam on site. In recent years, if modelling a Quebec paper mill, you wouldn't need coal at all.

Finally, the orange cars are pulpwood cars. A shredder used to be located nearby the track near the yard throat. One could spot the car near the turnout if wanted. It would be more prototypical. In latter year, it seems woodchip and pulpwood were brought by trucks and trains, but at the other plant. Thus, after the 1970s, I believe it would be better to drop that commodity and keep thing neat at this plant.

So, as you can see, the East Angus plant is far to be a boring switching layout. Be it modern or old time, this one turnout industry is going to keep your crew busy for a while just as it was the case in real life.


  1. I really like the track plan you have come up with here. My only question is where do the cars come from and go when they leave the mill? There is no visible staging on this plan but you could always take the cars off by hand no doubt. I know that Mears was always a big fan of those removable cassettes as he called them so maybe you could incorporate those.

    Secondly, the river scene takes up a huge amount of space. It no doubt would look amazing but in terms of the operations it doesn't really do anything for the layout. Could an extension of the mill be a better use for the space? Could you build a small interchange yard in that space for use with the railway who would pick up the cars? For the interchange yard, I would be drawing from the upper tracks near the mainline on the Prince Street N scale switching layout. Of course if there is no interchange track between the mill and the bridge than it doesn't really make sense to include one when trying to adhere to a prototype.

    A really neat real-life example of a small interchange type yard would be the Consolidated Bathurst mill in New Richmond, Quebec. Its a different prototype of course with different circumstances but the mill was situated perpendicular to the mainline and a short spur ran off of the mainline, following the exact same curvature and orientation as your East Angus prototype. The only appreciable difference was a station, a passing siding and a long lead used to access the mill and store cars on.

    Looking forward to seeing more of this trackplan!

    1. Taylor, you raise many questions that I asked myself when planning the final design.

      The issue about where the train comes from and goes to is indeed central. It all depends on available space and what the modelers what to focus on. As previously posted, a small staging track can be added to take care of that and I suspect it could do add that little extra touch many people would want. As it is, I decided to focus on switching the plant itself and not care about the rest. This is a choice that comes with its limitations, but from experience I know it isn't as much a handicap as many could think off.

      It is also interesting your bring forward Chris' ideas. He has a done a great job exploring what could be done with less track. From what I know about his design approach, I'm not sure he would got forward and add more staging capacities than a simple staging cassette.

      But let's tackle your proposition. As it stand, adding anything else than a single staging track would add a lot of complexity to the track plan while not adding that much operation opportunities. That is said when taking in account the actual space I used. However, let's say the layout could expand on the other wall, then I believe having a small staging yard (East Angus did had one with a neat little station, quite similar to the New Richmond prototype) would be a workable addition that could bring some sense of purpose. But yes, I thing the Prince Street concept could certainly be implemented flawlessly to a paper mill design.

      In that regard, I believe I would operate the plant with a small industrial switcher (0-6-0T, GE 44-ton, SW or S) and shuffle cars from the plant to the interchange yard. That, I believe, would work and if I was trying to implement this mill on a large layout, I would probably favor that concept.

      As for the bridge scene, in fact it is nothing more than a fancy and dressed up cassette in my eyes. It is not required, but add some modelling opportunities to a small layout, in the same way it did with the Walkerton track plan which share the same gimmick.

      At the end of the day, the staging is a matter of personnal preference and could take various form to fit it's purpose. Someone with slightly more space could do it like the prototype and put the staging on a diverging track right after the brigde. I already explored that idea in a previous and unpublished version. As you can see, such a small paper mill layout holds a lot of opportunities depending on goals and space. Depending on how you feed cars to the layout, you end up with different scenerios without even changing the track or adding turnouts to the plant.

    2. Taylor, take a second look to this insurance map:

      You'll see how the early track arrangement was also similar to your suggestion. Later the yard and station were moved eastward, but for the sake of layout operation, the gist was the same.

  2. That would be an interesting place to switch, with all those specific car spots to shuffle around.

    1. Thanks Chris! I'm starting to believe it could be even harder to switch than a regular paper mill with more sidings.

  3. Simplicity in all its magnificence, mon ami!