Monday, December 21, 2015

Temiscouata Railway

After many researches and mock-ups, it was clear Temiscouata Railway was the best way to use the footprint. This is a prototype I've know for years and I'm quite comfortable working with it.

Using several pictures, including the panoramic view of Connors, NB, taken in 1894, I was able to recreate the track plan almost faithfully. The result is a long and narrow small branchline terminal. For ease of building, the layout will be made in three 13" x 60" modules. By the way, there is no selective compression. What you see is the real thing as if I drawn the footprint on a real map.

I'm seriously thinking about setting the layout era in the pre-WW1 years. I recently found I had many craftman kits of pre-Canadian National boxcars. I've also many models of that era rolling stock that only need some assembling, detailing and painting.

Modelling this era is also a good opportunity to save space. In that era, 36ft cars were the big cars around the block. Lots of 28ft, 30ft and 32ft cars were still in revenue service.

As for locomotive, the Temiscouata Railway rostered mainly 4-4-0 back then. Most of them were built in 1887-1888 but the original one, still in service, was a venerable locomotive from 1873.

As I'm writing, the last and third module is under construction.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hereford Railway - A Final Sketch

First of all, thanks to all people who commented about the track plan both on the blog or on Big Blue. I was surprised both by the shear amount of comments but also by their positive review.

Many people commented the wye was a very interesting feature, both from an operation and scenic point of view, which I agree. However, the wye would have been quite small with sharp radius. I have a beautiful mental image of the scene but I'm well aware the available space will only be a parody of that grand vision.

Anyway, I measured the thing and it takes a lot of space in my already small office in the house second floor (you know, one of these lovely 19th century cottages with cellar and gabled attic). Forget the neat and spacious Sears catalog houses, my home have that traditional French room layout full of charm... and windows with no blank wall to mount a layout. That said, the small peninsula would be bothersome for many other reasons including hard to reach area including turnouts and impossibility to move the layout to my workshop for messy work. The layout height will be at 54 inches from the floor and nature gave me a very short stature so I won't create artificial problems that makes operating the layout frustrating.

A few people pointed out the wye wasn't a very efficient use of space and they are quite right. So back to the drawing board and here's what I come with as a working concept:

I analyzed the layout from three angles: artistic (scenic composition), realistic operation (trackage) and traffic requirements (industries, etc.).

Temiscouata gave me hints at scene composition. When you analyse the layout, you find out it is divided in three equal parts. The left-most has low human density (aka wilderness, woods, stream), the center part is characterized by medium density (meadows, team track, small structures) and the right-most part has a high level of density and operation (station, water tower, engine facilities, etc.). This density progression tricks you in believing the train is going from afar and must travel a stretch of land to reach the station/town. I feel this must be kept. Another key factor is using odd numbers for featured objects. It means having only a station and a freight shed in the high density area isn't correct. It's why I've decided to add a structure to balance things out. It could be a small feedmill, a warehouse or a cattle pen. That will be decided when I'll build the layout but my only prerequisite is that this structure is a car spot for the sake of operation. I could have added a house, but the real prototype station was out in the middle of nowhere.

The second aspect is about realistic operations. Trevor Marshall (once again!) was of a big indirect help. I tried to understand how trains were handled at Port Rowan and finally got a grasp of what was branchline railroading. Further reading of many stories in old Canadian Rail magazine and Old Time Trains on the web provided other pertinent example. In fact, many terminus I thought the track plan didn't make sense finally became clear as water to me. Knowing that, I was able to determine the exact lenght in inches each move required. I found out very little track lenght is needed to handle a small mixed train. A very good thing! This exercise also provided me with a crucial information: the exact location of the station. It was determined by the place where the passenger cars must align when the train reach the end of steel. Once I knew that, two parameters were set in stone: not only the station location, but also the exact place where the transition between medium and high density.

The third aspect was not as easy to understand. I stayed up to 2 A.M. for two days, trying to fight that "I want it all" mentality. To get it right, I tried to understand what a small community like East Hereford would need from a railroad in the 1950s. You can sum up as the Holy Trinity as Jim Dufour likened it: wood products, farm products and fuel. Passengers are also a part of it. Add to this the railway requirements about turning and fueling the engine. Let's break this into something more intelligible.

Most wood products can be handled at the team track. Farming products need a warehouse to store grain, flour and potatoes. Add to this the fact Hereford Railway aka The Raspberry Branch earned its nickname because of the gigantic amount of wild berries moving by rail to be sold in New England. Finally, fuel can be handled at the team track. Basically, to handle freight, we need a team track and a freight shed.

Since the line was once used by a daily passenger train between Portland and Lime Ridge connecting with trains connecting Quebec City, we need a sizeable station. Not too big, but not a shanty either. The neighboring towns on the line had medium sized depot and we will settle for that nice building telling us about good days from the past when the line was making cold hard cash.

Finally, we need facilities to take care of our locomotive. Given the fact MEC had locomotive facilities at Beecher Falls, Cookshire and Lime Ridge, it is unlikely that East Hereford would have been equipped with such a fancy thing. Their was a nearby rail servved quarry and I'll make the assumption a wye could have been located there about less than a few hundred feet from the station. Taking that into account, exit the turntable from the layout as there's no place to make it believeable in anyway. I'll handle that in the staging area. However, water is the most important thing for a steam locomotive and thus watering facilities are a must have for the return trip. Good thing, the real station at East Hereford was called Hall Stream and more than 3 little streams crossed the track within a few hundred feets. There's no coincidence, I tell you! So the water tank will be located by a small brook where there's a transition between the low and medium density area.

The next task was to reconcile all these excellent concepts into a working layout. First of all, I studied many topographic maps of the area, the oldest going back to 1921. I've learned a lot of thing including the nature of road (metalled, un-metalled), the location of marshes, streams, forested areas and telegraph lines. The real station was located out of the town, on Hall Stream banks (which means it was about 100 feet from the international boundary between Canada and the U.S.) and accessible by a small unfenced dirt road. The general area was open field with marshes and bushes on the riverside. Add to this a small dirt road and a wood bridge connected a few houses located in New Hampshire on the other side of the river. Thanks to Bing Maps and Google Earth, it was possible to visit the area and better understand the feel of the place. Instantly, I was able to picture a sleepy station located between fields of rich grass by Hall Stream meander and hear the steam whistle echoing in the valley. The image was half real, half fantasy. Hall Stream station did exist in that very place and the train did travel it. But the last time was in 1927, not in the 1950s, and the station was minimal at best.

East Hereford in 1921 (credit: BAnQ)

Forging a mental image of the place was needed to make the layout works out. If I'm convinced myself, I'll convinced others. The trick was to prune carefully the ideas and assemble them in a logical and artistic fashion that support the story I want to tell. By the way, East Hereford will be operated as a terminus for the mixed train, but the trackage will reflect a town on the main line. That means, if required, I could stage train coming from the right side.

With all that said, it's time to mock up that layout in 1:87. I just got my tracks in the mail today and I've enough supplies to build everything. I believe the actual layout merge the best ideas from my two original concept into something that makes more sense and addresses most planning issues. Also, the keen observer will find out this layout isn't far away from my original Quebec South Shore layout. In fact, it could depict exactly a similar area, before and after it was pruned off during the 1960s.

Just for fun, I'd like to say this draft is the 81th since I started the project a few weeks ago!!! And it doesn't include the hand drawn sketches!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hereford Railway - A discussion about layout design

Layout design can be the most intoxicating aspect of this hobby. To be sure, once you start doing it, there's no end. I can testify about that as my sleep hours are quite shortened by storming ideas that make my night shorter. Every moment becomes a good time to doodle some track on a piece of paper.

But we all know it's fruitless without some other form of validation. Many layout designers stree scene composition to be a kew element to build credible railways. Often, a few will say you've got to try it for real in 3D and see how things work together.

When you are unsure about a project, you hardly have any incensitive to strat building a benchwork just to test a few ideas. Some people just try doing it with a computer 3D  model. Even if I have the skill, I quickly learned that was time consuming and restrictive. You can't fudge with a 3D model, you have to know what you want to do. Hum... no grest if you want to try different landforms.

At this point, the last - and best - resort is to make a scale model of your scale model. I've learned this old trick from British modeller Gordon Gravett and made a good use of it. When I wanted to convince Jérôme we got to scrap Limoilou yard and build Villeneuve and Maizerst instead (Hedley-Junction layout), the scale model convinced him in a matter of seconds. I know it would have taken months and a pile of drawings otherwise.

Now, as you know, I'm actually in the process of rebuilding my home layout. I've often complained I couldn't do nothing with the space available, but I decided this time to build something for "real" and see if there are opportunities. To make it clear, I've been designing dozen of layout EACH year since 2009. Nothing came to fruitition except for a few that actually went as far as the benchwork stage.

Two major pitfalls plagued the project: finding a suitable prototype and getting the idea the train is truly going from point A to point B.

To be honest, the hardest problem to solve is finding a suitable prototype. Dozen of prototype caught my eyes and would be suitable, but very little stood the test of time. But it doesn't mean these ideas have some major trends.

Most ideas have in common a set of consistent parameters:

  • Small steam locomotives (2-8-0, 2-6-0, 4-4-0, 4-6-0) and/or early diesel (EMD/ALCO/MLW).
  • Canadian Pacific, New England neighbouring railroads (MEC, etc.) or Temiscouata Railway.
  • Set in the 1950s or early 1960s.
  • Rural location on a branchline set around farming and logging.
  • Short trains and mixed trains.
  • Located in Quebec South Shore, mainly the Appalachian Mountains.
So far, two prototypes are constantly appearing in my design:

  • The Hereford Railway between Lime Ridge, QC and Beecher Falls, VT.
  • The Temiscouata Railway located on Quebec, New Brunswick and Maine boundary.

Thus, I decided to mock up both prototype using a 18" x 10' shelf as starting point with the possibility to add a small extension if required.

Hereford Railway

I already introduced this excellent prototype recently. To make it workable, I'd need to protofreelance the line so it could be fitting my era of interest. No big deal. I'm not trying to model a specific location but to get the general feeling of the area between Cookshire and Beecher Falls: rolling country side.

The first option is straight forward and represent a generic city located along the line. Some hills in the background hide the track leading to the staging area. The town is rather simplistic, which is realistic. With this scenario, the town serves as the terminal for a local mixed train. To turn a steam locomotive, it is required to go back to staging where it is manually reverse with an amovible cassette. No great, but an easy way to save space and wiring issues. I feel the big issue with this layout is the pulpwood loading siding which is near the layout edge and leaves very little scenery opportunities.

This layout takes very little real estate and have a lot of operation opportunities (team track, pulpwood and feedmill).

The second option replace the pulpwood loading siding with a wye. Makes for the interesting possibility to reverse steam locomotives directly on the layout. To be noted, the scenery wraps the L-shaped benchwork which fools the eyes in believing the scene is larger. I like the idea to model a lot of fields along the line and a wye almost buried in vegetation isn't a bad idea to me. Unfortunately, this layout takes up a lot of space. I'm not sure the extension would fit well in my room. Also, I'm not very fond of obstructing the wye with cars. I'd be glad to get your feedback on that matter because maybe this version is actually over reaching.

Temiscouata Railway

This little independant railroad in Eastern Quebec and New Brunswick has always been a favorite of mine. Years ago, Trevor Marshall included it in his "achievable layout" database. It was only an idea but I always thought someone should build it some day. I've design many version of this layout in the recent years but I think I finally nailed it this morning. Cramping a small terminal in 10 feet including a locomotive facilities isn't a piece of cake. Here's the result:

Honestly, I'm more satisfied than I thought. First, this layout breathe. No cluttering, no overdone details and for once, gigantic and believable fields of grass (+ cows!). The track plan is so classic it fits any place in North America (and elsewhere in the world). The downside is that there's no specific industries at Connors, NB. Lots of wood products (pulpwood, lumber) were exported, but the industries weren't trackside. Only a long but busy team track was available.

On the other hand, the engine facility provides enough action because there was a coaling track to refuel engines. On my mock up, I didn't model the engine house, but if someone would extend the shelf up to 11 feet, that would be perfectly possible. Another option would be to compress the scene a little bit to save some space for it. I think modelling the complete enginehouse isn't required. One could only build a part of the building and bury it in overgrown vegetation to hide the trick.

A good point for this prototype is that information - including motive power, rolling stock, structures and timetable - is available online. Temiscouata ran 4-6-0 and 4-4-0 and some interesting combine car and caboose. Everything should be kitbashed or scratchbuilt, but that would provide countless hours of fun. The big question is that I'm not sure my heart's beating for Temiscouata, the project risk to be shelved one day or another. Also, Temiscouata as we loved it ceased to exist in 1948.

The last word

I certainly believe both designs are worthwhile. At some point, onw could expand them as fully-fledged layouts if that notion truly means something!

To be honest, I have a preference for Hereford Railway because it isn't set in a specific location and time, which is a good thing when I want to run my diesel or my steam locomotives. I know myself and can't hardly be dedicated absolutely to one project. Having a layout that has enough flexibility could be a good thing. The wye idea isn't half bad and I like how it breaks the perception of looking at a scenicked plank of wood.

On the other hand, I like the striking realism of Connors. That layout is as simple as one can wish yet still perfectly full of action to operate for a 45 minutes to 1 hour (similar to Hereford Railway). As one forum member on Big Blue Trains - a real railroader - once said:

"Having spent many months off and on, trying out different track arrangements for my switching layout, I've come to the conclusion that the simplest track plan is going to work the best and be the most realistic. It's not how many tracks/industries/switches you have, but what the industries are and how they are switched."

At this point, I'm curious to hear your comments and feedbacks about these options. Feel free to share your observations and impressions.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

QSSR Track Plan Mk II

After a few days pondering about a track plan, I came to narrow down ideas to a single concept based on ex-Maine Central "Hereford Railway" between Beecher Falls, VT and Dudswell Jct, QC. The line was bought and operated by Canadian Pacific in the late 20s. Quickly, that anemic line was cut off and ended its life as a small decrepit branchline called the Sawyerville Subdivision. Hereford Railway was famous for the raspberries growing along its embankment and got the nickname "The Raspberry Branch". When I railfanned the area last summer, I had the occasion to feed myself on many of those raspberry along CMQ tracks at Cookshire.

In real life, the deal with CPR was that it would keep the line from Cookshire to Malvina, QC. The few miles between Beecher Falls and Malvina were quickly pulled off. In my proto-freelanced layout, CPR kept the connection to Beecher Falls and Maine Central kept running rights up to CPR's International of Maine in Cookshire. Since Malvina was the therminal for CPR local trains, a small steam locomotive facility and a turntable were built.

Historically, Hereford Railway heavily relied on lumber products to get revenue. Old topographic maps show many small stations with a siding called "Camp no.X". For this reason, I decided Malvina would get a small spur leading to a sawmill. The other industry is a feed mill which is also a coal/oil dealer. Finally, there's a small team track by the station were you can find a cattle pen. Cattle pens were once a staple of Quebec rural stations up to the 60s. They were virtually anywhere.

The layout is based on a standard 4' x 8' plywood sheet. My goal is to make this a realistic continuous running switching layout. To achieve this goal, I decided to only model the town of Malvina. Beecher Falls and Cookshire will be staged. The top level will represent the station and local industries while the lower level will provide staging and continuous run. The stretch of track going down on the other side of the layout will represent a steep 3% grade along "Raspberry Hill".

From an operation point of view, it will be possible to run the local mixed train to Malvina, but also several other run-through faster trains. The long siding will make it possible to stage trains meeting there and getting their order to continue.

Quebec South Shore Railway Mark II

As some of you may know, the layout is partially gone. Some home improvement required to dismantle it and I know longer have the luxury to have a layout in that room.

However, some space in the basement makes me able to move forward. I'm actually building a 4' x 8' table out of junk wood that will serve as a starting base (more on that later).

Building and operating the original QSSR layout was an excellent way to better understand my needs.

On the positive side, I found out a single turnout layout was more than enough to sustain enjoyable and realistic operation for a decent amount of time. Also, I may now confirm I love to model rural town and that kind of railroad traffic. I grew up in a small rural community and it's impossible to sever these natural ties.

On the negative side, I discovered I like my trains to travel some scenery before doing their switching chores. Honestly, I hated the way a staged train could would enter the scene. I was blinded by the fact our club layout - Hedley-Junction - is quite large and continuous running isn't required to get the feel you are going somewhere.

It was also quite evident I like to sit down and watch my trains run freely in nice landscape. I've always been a model railfan since my younger years. I would put my eyes at track level and watch the train run over and over for hours. To me, it wasn't silly. It was a thrill. I want it back!

Meanwhile, I enjoyed reading some recent blog posts made by Lance Mindheim. Isn't doing nothing exciting right now, but his insights about his customers is highly interesting. Two things struck me as essential: doing what you like (sounds cheesy, but any model railroader knows the dreadfulness of getting side tracked) and to see "poverty" as a blessing.

As you know, Hedley-Junction is now set firmly in modernity... a.k.a the mid-80s. That means a LOT of rolling stock and locomotives I own are now totally obsolete. And Canadian Pacific is now totally out of the picture. At the same time, canadian dollars took a serious plunge during the last year and new stuff is now unaffordable. I scavenge and upgrade everything I can and the process is actually fun, rewarding and help to develop skills.

The New QSSR

The new layout draw inspiration from many railfan trips in Quebec's Eastern Township, a well-known area with strong railway action. Canadian Pacific was the driving force there until the 80s.

I'm keeping the grain elevator/feed mill theme. However, since the layout is now set in the 50s, I'll will add a small engine facilities, a station and a team track.

The big challenge is to make a realistic switching layout out of a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood. There's been a lot of badmouthing about that kind of layout plan. But honestly, I can't put the layout on any wall. A shelf layout would be better, but I just can't fit that geometry. I'm left with an island model railroad. And no, it's not that bad since I want continuous running.

The track plan is a classic twice around and by pure coincidence, the track plan ended up similar to John Allen's original Gorre & Daphetid! Well, there's a thousand solution.

At first, I thought I would make the twice around run over the mainline and cross it with a trestle. But some 3D modelling quickly convinced me it would be toyish and not practical to operate at eye level. So I now settled with a subterranean loop. It leaves more space for the town scene but also makes more sense. There's a lot of embankment and cut in the Eastern Township. I'll now have the occasion to model it realistically without have a Rockies look.


Inspiration is drawn from many southern Quebec localities served by CPR: Waterloo, Eastman, Magog and Cookshire. Many of them had strong topographic features, interesting track arrangement and very small turntable.

This proto-freelanced road will be quite similar to the ex-Maine Central's Raspberry Branch in Cookshire that was operatd by CPR after 1927.

Also, Trevor Marshall's S scale Port Rowan layout is a big influence on me. Getting that low track density out of a twice around will prove to be quite a challenge.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Limited Space Prototypes

Moulée St-Pie Inc. in Saint-Pie, Quebec, on old Montreal Maine & Atlantic defunct branch between Farnham and Ste-Rosalie (former CPR) is a great source of inspiration.

This small locality is served by 2 unusually located feedmill and elevator built in the middle of the town. One of them, the oldest, is built tightly against the mainline. This is what I'd like to reproduce on the layout.

The space between the building and the right of way limit is about 55 feets, thus 7-1/2" in HO. Walthers Farmers Coop elevator is about 4-1/4" deep, so it bring the total layout to about 12" wide. That means my earlier estimates were right.

On the prototype, a nice and tall hedge is growing along the track which could provide visual interest.

At this point, I consider I've planned enough the layout. No need to go further, only a real mock up with tracks, structures and freight cars will help me to find the best balance for this scene.

A new approach

As previously stated, I'm interested in experimenting with IKEA shelves for my next module. To maximize my investment, I decided to build only one module and not two. First, it cost less. And you don't have to handle annoying scenery and electrical gap.

The Ikea shelf is 74 inches long by 10 inches width. Not very large, but enough to get a decent elevator scene. 10 inches isn't enough to develop a deep enough scene. Track clearance and security margins aren't good enough. On the other hand, I don't want to get a shelf to width because in will induce more forces and risk of sagging. I consider 12 inches to be a good average. Also, I'm seriously thinking about bashing my old Walthers elevator. My previous structure was about 5 inches width. The elevator is about 4.25 inches.

Having operated QSSR a few times last year, I know the main issue was the fact sidings and "yard lead" were too short to make switching moves easier. That doesn't mean switching will be "easy", but only that I won't have to make a ridiculous and irrealistic amount of useless moves. It may sounds stupid, but being artificially forced to do irrelevant things is the saddest thing in existence!

I feel we always under estimate a siding length. We probably inherited it from our spagetthi bowl design or oter contrived conceptual ideas. A siding shouldn't always be the required lenght to handle a definite number of car spots. In fact, we operating, you need extra space to store cars while performing a vast array of moves.

How does it materialize with my design? I placed the turnout on the amovible cassette. Yes, a zero-turnout module. Nothing less, nothing more. Not only it gives me long and realistic sidings, but I don't have to care about scenicking or painting the turnout (which can be really tiring). Also, having the turnout in the clear makes it possible to scenic the foreground with trees and bushes to "hide" the place where the trains coming from.

Building this layout will be easy as one-two-three. I don't plan feeding the rail underneat the layout. Instead, the very few wires required will be buried into trenches dug out on the styrofoam slab. As a lighting valence, I'll use another IKEA shelf with LED fixture for cabinets installed under it. Backdrop will be a photo of a generic and suitable countryside scene mounted on a lightweight board. It could be a 1/8" masonite or a 1/4" foamcore. I could also be possible to just tack the photograph on the wall. I'll see when I'll be there.

The structures will be scratchbuilt and kitbashed from stuff I already own. If you are skeptic about such a diminutive layout, just Google "Logansport and Indiana Northern". This layout really show how a generic elevator scene can have character.

In the end, this layout will have at least 5 car spots (even more in fact) and the possibility to handle 5-car long trains with a caboose. Not too bad for a 74" long board.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

IKEA Shelf Layout System

I've tried to build many layouts in this room and all failed because they were too bulky. I feel using the usual shelf layout recipe is a no go for me. Also, I don't want to drill too much holes in my freshly restored office.

Well, while browsing the IKEA catalog to find suitable shelves for a display in my refurbished room, I found out a cheap shelf with concealed bracket caller LACK. They are available in 74" and 43" lenght and 14" deep. They can support upto 30 lbs of weight, which is more than enough for a shelf layout.

When you think about the cost of shelves brackets and hollow core doors, the IKEA option is tremendously cheaper and easier to implement. Better, it looks good from the start and it's bullet proof to implement. After doing a few researches over the web, I found out quickly I wasn't the only soul out there to have seen the potential of this system. 20$ for a layout benchwork, it's hard to beat. This interesting thread on Atlas Forum gives some insight about using the LACK shelves.

For my the St-Pamphile module, I seriously thinking about rebuilding it from scractch. Not a big deal. The original module weight a ton, is bulky and well, not in great shape after it got covered under junk in the damp basement. For my purpose, I would use two 43" LACK shelves and glue 1" thick styrofoam plank on it. Adding a thin MDF fascia should do the job, bring the entire modules a 3" high. I prefer to handle smaller modules than a very large one. If I need to do dirty work on a module, I can take it outside. I will also need a 54" long amovible cassette to do switching moves.

When I rebuilt the wall, I took care to place a full 3/4" plywood sheet beneath the wainscot. My house was build in 1875, so forget about your usual 16" spaced wood stud. Walls are made of superposed 3"x12" lumbers. So no need to fear shelf brackets won't have solid backing to support themselves.

Updated track plan

About the layout itself, I'm seriously thinking about adding a 12" additional length to the original feedmill siding. It will allow me to store cars and do more switching moves. It was a shortcoming I identified on the first version of this layout.

 Also, I'm seriously thinking about using my four large Walthers grain bins I purchased in the past and which never saw a real use. It would be a nice addition to have them beside the feedmill and represent a modernized industry as can be seen in Cookshire, Quebec (old CPR Short Line, now CMQ) or in Clermont on ex-CN Murray Bay Subdivision. Walthers bins are a little bit large, I must agree. I'll have to mock up the structures to make sure they work together. If not, I'll probably have to build new ones from scratch.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Reboot?

It's been a year since this project have been put aside. It was the time to restore my office room to its former late 19th century splendor.

I now have the time and place to reboot this project again. This time, I'll make it simpler. When I stored the layout, I ripped the turnout because I needed them for the club layout. Thus, I have to rebuild the track again. However, I'm planning to build a one-turnout layout since operation in St. Pamphile is going to be spartan. I remember Lance Mindheim's article about that in MRH last year. I really think, for a small home layout, it is the way to go.

My idea is that I don't need that much a runaround. Also, I'd like the idea the railway company came and ripped off the unused turnouts to rebuild where they were needed, just like the real prototypes do.

On another hand, I have 4 Walthers grain silo doing nothing except gathering dust. I willing to use them to modernized and enlarge my feedmill so it looks like an industry big enough to sustain minimal freight traffic.

Now, at this point, I'm thinking about what I'll do with the benchwork. I'd like it to be less bulky, but maybe I'll keep it as is.

Also, the layout will be much shorter. It used to be 13 feet long. Not it will be 9 feet long with a removable 3 feet cassettes. It will make operation a little bit more tricky, but that's fine with me. In fact, today I was talking with Stéphan Vachon from Sartigan Railway and he was retelling stories of switching puzzles he had to solve when he had to handle more cars than his sidings could handle.

Stay tune. By the way, remember this project is mainly done to learn and try new technics.