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.