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.