Sunday, February 16, 2020

Another Look at Avenue Industrielle

Once again, it is time to revisit an old friend of mine: Avenue Industrielle. This layout idea was built around the discovery I made a few years ago of a switching spur located in Limoilou yard, Quebec City. Regular readers are well aware of this prototype and I was prompted to revisit this idea after an interesting discussion about framing a layout with Chris Mears in Toronto last week end.

I won't say this is the greatest attempt at framing a subject, but I wanted to see what could be done from a model railroading perspective by using the space allocated by a set of IKEA cabinets that will find their way in my hobby room. And, to be honest, Stephen Gardiner's Liberty Street layout also provided some food for thoughts.

Here you can see the hobby room as it should look when done. The lower cabinets provide a 10' x 10' x 12" deep benchwork that could easily be lighted by a valence under the high cabinet. This is a fairly average dimension for most people having a spare room and a L shape is always an interesting setup. I could also create a U-shaped layout (probably my Brompton Paper Mill concept) or even a continous loop around the room as presented last week. I'm not sure the continous loop would look great to be honest, but I won't hide the fact I certainly would love to run some very long trains. I have far too much rolling stock and motive power that I liked but that can't be used.

Anyway, here is a newer version of Avenue Industrielle bending around a corner.

Basically, the concept only use 2 turnouts, like the prototype, keeping cost, maintenance and derailments low. I've used a straight #8 and a curved #7 and provided for 36" minimum radius to make operation smooth, particularly when coupling and uncoupling cars on the curve. The longest cars would be 40ft since it would be set in the 1950s. Motive power could be provided by 0-6-0, 0-8-0 and early Alco switchers such as S2.

All the customers on the spur are there and almost scaled down without real compression. British-American Oil had a warehouse where tank cars and boxcars were used for fuel and oil. Auger & Auger had a sizeable lumber yard and shipped a lot of wood by rails. It seems both their small siding and the main spur were used for loading cars.

Next to it, an unnamed produce warehouse received reefers, about two at a time and shared a siding with three oil businesses: Cities Service, Champlain Oil Products and Supertest Petroleum. Another customer, Perlite de Quebec was also rail-served and could be modelled.

While 4 customers out of 7 are oil-related, it would provide for colorful operation. B-A Oils had a their own tank car fleet sporting their nice red and green logo while Cities Service had their owns too. Both can be easily modelled using decals or available cars.

At any given time, it seems about 12 cars were spotted on the different sidings. Operation would be quite straighforward with an incoming switcher with a few cars (about 6 of them maximum) staged near the roundhouse and yard office. The switching lead can handle 12 cars and a locomotive, so one would probably start by working the longest and busiest siding first, pulling all the cars and sorting them on the "main" track. Blue flags identifying cars being unloaded would provide some additional interest. Then the crew would work the rest of the line including B-A and Auger & Auger. My guess is sessions could run anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour long.

The roundhouse would provide a beautiful background against which the locomotive could be seen shuffling cars. While simple, the layout would also require a lot of attention to ground cover since the area was industrial, muddy and contaminated by loads. I would imagine, as aerial pictures seem to show, that some part of the spur where used as an occasional team track, meaning flat bed trucks and such would be seen by the track.

I suspect this layout could provide a lot of modelling opportunities while being highly affordable and achievable.  Car types would be varied, including boxcars, tank cars, reefers, some hoppers, gondolas and flat cars. It wouldn't be far-fetched to replace one of the many oil distributors with a coal dealer to spice things up a little bit.

As for which railway prototype that could be depicted, Canadian National would be a prime choice, but to be honest, this could be anything including Canadian Pacific, Quebec Railway Light & Power or whatever you like!

I feel the layout would merge beautifully with the IKEA cabinets which would provide for rolling stock storage underneat the layout. No need for complicated benchwork, the layout could be built out of three modules or simply in place on cheap shelf brackets, using only a 3/4" thick sheet of plywood cut to length.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting read Matthieu. I really like the design and concept - sounds like you have given considerable thought to all aspects of the design and operations potential. I myself have an On30 shelf layout of almost the same size built on the Rubbermaid double slot shelf brackets and highly recommend their use for shelf layouts. Cheers.Wayne