Thursday, September 1, 2022

East Angus - Revisiting a Good Old Design

Late summer has been busy with a progressive return to modelling and the construction of Monk Subdivision staging yard. Interestingly enough, this sparked me to revisit a very old concept based on several of my recurrents ideas: a mainline for railfanning, a very small town, a paper mill and some depiction ot topography and hydrography.

As you may remember, the original concept for the basement layout was based on East Angus, QC. It's a small locality on Quebec Central Railway that developed around a paper mill located along the St. Francis River. It has always fascinated me because this paper mill was both compact yet visually attractive. Indeed, it was a brick industrial canyon located by a beautiful multiple span deck bridge.

That said, what prompted me to revisit this design is mainly my work on building and wiring Monk Subdivision hidden staging. I've always had a justified fear of hidden trackage but can understand their use and wanted to see what could have happened if it was an accessible surround staging as designed by Trevor Marshall for Mike Hamer's famous B&M layout.

First version, with a single track main line

A surround staging for a layout such as East Angus makes sense because the paper mill act as a low height screen that hides it without impacting too much access. It also removes grades, which are generally a less than desirable thing on model railways. It's also a fun build from a modelling perspective. Lots of interesting and varied scenery involving trees, hills, rock faces, complex river bed, fields, etc. It's also a neat structure challenge including a neat brick paper mill built in several phases and styles. Add to that classic railway structures such as the depot, the feed mill and speeder shed. And finally, the pièce de résistance, a very long and impressive bridge.

While the layout is based on Quebec Central, truth is that it could find many different North American railroads or simply be generic.

And now, for the big question... would I trash Armagh to build East Angus? Maybe yes, maybe not. Both have different purposes and goals. So far, I'm eager to give Monk Subdivision a shot because of its universal appeal. I know I'm not that much of a solo switching operator. That said, if Monk ever fails for whatever reason... I wouldn't mind to try my hand with East Angus. I know from operating our Murray Bay layout and Hunter Hughson's paper mill layout that modelling a small and achievable paper mill is always a winning formula. And in this case, that beautiful setup is what welcomes you as you enter the room!

Second version, with a double track main line

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