Friday, June 30, 2017

Light & Structure

Yesterday, after few experimentation, I built the lighting rig for the layout. I came to the conclusion I needed two LED strips to get a decent amount of lighting and to avoid unwanted shadows on cars displayed on the main line.

The rig is made of a piece of wood with a beveled side. Another small slightly angled piece is added for the second LED strips. To help dissipate heat and often a better surface for gluing the strips, I applied an aluminium duct tape on both piece after gluing them. I don't have confidence on the strip adhesive thus I added CA glue to make sure the bond was good.

In case of failure, I made sure the lighting is only screwed on the fascia and can be removed easily for maintenance of replacement. So far, I only one strip is alimented but I already have a nice level of light. I'm also quite happy the warm white LEDs really provide an excellent color render.

I also started to build the feed mill cardboard core. As I previously said, the LEGO bricks building help to determine a few things and now I can proceed with the real structure. But I must admit my fear became reality: the feed mill is quite high and when I take picture, I easily see where the sky ends. I suspect I'll have to make the backdrop at least 4 inches higher to make things looks good. It means the shadow box will have to be expanded accordingly. I'm not sure how I will do it, but I suspect I'll regret not making the backdrop higher. On the other hand, I'm quite happy with the proscenium opening, thus it's really the back drop height that is the problem. I've also thought about adding a blue sky ceiling as another less intrusive option but I'm not sure it will be visually very interesting.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Back to the Basement

After a few days, I decided to cleanup the basement and make room for working on the module. After clearing the workshop, I was able to set the layout on a table to be accessible from all side while working out the wiring and lighting.

Over the years, I found out the working condition and location have a huge impact on my motivation. Poor lighting and cluttered rooms aren't winning condition and they quickly wear off enthusiasm. For this reason, the module is now resting on a table and can be worked on while sitting comfortably on a chair. That makes tedious or precise work more enjoyable to perform.

Meanwhile, I've been looking  for pictures of St-Pie on Friend Jean-François Dumont and well-known photographer Frank Jolin published many pictures of the last years of operation under MMA tenure. It is truly fascinating and inspiring. The short but colorful grain trains are quite a sight, including the MMA locomotives which would be nice weathering projects in themselves.

MMA 8569 (train 811) ready to switch St-Pie
MMA 8546 (train 811) passing by Moulée St-Pie Inc.
MMA 8546 (train 811) switching St-Pie grain elevator
MMA 8569 (train 811) pulling a few cars near Canrobert Station

Pictures also give a glimpse at how operations were handled. It appears Moulée St-Pie was switched at the same time as the other town elevator by the train bound to Farnham (East side). On the other hand, for the sake of visual interest, I planned to switch the layout from the west. My motivation was because the grain elevator better frame the scene from that side and there is also a loading/unloading door on the warehouse which adds a second car spot to the layout. If switched from the east, this part of the layout wouldn’t be easily accessible or visible.

Funny to see how real-life operations, again, change my perception of a scene. To decide, I will have to build a grain elevator mockup and move things around until I find what fits best my space. Also, problem such as backdrop and roads can be tricky and kill the illusion.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Space VS Place

The layout benchwork is complete and it was time to move it in my office. It now sat on a small shelf, at a comfortable height to operate when I'm sitting on my chair. For the first time, I can now start to see the project from the intended perspective...

Before building anything, I still have to install LED strips and prepare some conduits to operate accessories. Installing the NCE Power Cab module is also an important future step. I generally have a tendency to neglect the mechanical aspect of my home layouts and it's a good occasion to do it right.

But there is more than mechanical and electrical components involved. As said by Marty McGuirk recently, a layout should tell a story, whatever it is... and a story doesn't need to be complicated and convoluted to be compelling. I'd like to come up with a big one for the feedmill, but it is mundane. All we know is that a medium-sized feed mill in an average rural town gets a few loads per week. The train serving the town is minimal, slow and somewhat lazy. There isn't a lot of job to do and you do it according to the rules. Since there's no hurry here, better safe than sorry.

Going so minimal may shake one's confidence because we are used to try to justify everything when building and describing a layout. Be assured I freaked out at some point and had to fight the urge to add a proverbial team track to the layout. Fortunately, I put that idea aside, preferring to stay true to the prototype. That layout isn't about "operation" but about switching a few cars at a rural feed mill in late summer under the harsh sun at the height of the day. That's the story. Once you know that, you can start to frame and build up the layout according to your vision.

I've also came to the realisation I should stop to think small layouts are a transitory step before reaching the dream layout stage. I probably will never have the space to make anything significant in term of rail miles. But I know for sure trains are fun to watch, even from a single spot. Railfanning every grade crossings at the speed of light in car isn't as impressive as waiting that moment of the day when you hear the whistle and come see the action. It's no longer a matter of space, but rather a matter of place... In that regard, small layouts are better at framing a place because we focus our effort on what counts rather than compromise while trying to fit as much as we can. And don't get me wrong, a place don't necessarily needs to be minuscule to be modelled... it is independant from the space available.

How will that translate on the QSSR? I've got no idea, but I know I already framed the place where the story is told... all the rest is a matter of development and directing. And that's the moment I'll see if I can transcend my modelling skills and start painting on a canvas.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Progress and LEGO Mockup

I'm glad to announce the module and it's fascia are completed. Everything was sanded down, primed and sanded again to get a nice smooth finish that will look good in my office room. I wasn't sure about the color to use, but finally settled down to the tried and true black as so often used by British modellers. Honestly, I'm quite happy with the result and can't wait to add the last coat this evening.

I also decided to make a scale mockup of Moulée St-Pie feed mill. Honestly, the structure probably date back to the 1950s and is far larger than our usual grain elevators. The main building is a tower with a 50ft x 50ft footprint flanked with two other 50ft x 50ft warehouses.

I wasn't eager to waste material making a mock up so I decided to use LEGO bricks and make one as close as possible to the prototype. Honestly, it turned out far better than I thought. I was also able to use a LEGO rolling door as can be seen on the real building. It would make a very interesting feature on the layout and I'm actually thinking about including LEGO parts inside the final structure. I suppose it could be activated with a fairly simple hand-activated mechanism.

However, all things being good, I must admit the structure looks quite tall and I'll need to adjust the dimensions a little bit to better fit the space available and make sure it looks good.

As a side note, I consider one could use LEGO bricks to make sturdy structure cores. Aftermarket parts can be bought at good prices online and would ensure building wouldn't warp. Being plastic, you can glue styrene and other materials to it just like we do with styrene cores. I don't know if it would be economically viable with Moulée St-Pie, but it wouldn't hurt to try something out.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Module

The baseboard and fascia are now progressing at a decent pace which means going small is also a way to ensure progress is steady and rewarding. That may sound cheesy, but it's an important motivational factor. That should never be underestimated.

I'm also starting the assembly of a Sunset Valley garden train switch stand to operate the Peco turnout. The idea is not new and was pioneered a few years ago by Trevor Marshall on his excellent S scale Port Rowan layout. This is probably the most prototypical way to operate a turnout and I'm certainly eager to try it out. It makes sense on a small switching layout where every prototypical moves are reproduced to bring life to the models.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Vision

The new layout wasn't design as a plan, but as an illustration. As I previously said, I was rather interested in composing and framing a scene to create a plausible small universe.

In that respect, I first draw an elevation of what I wanted, composing the scene as I've witnessed in Japanese gardens last month. First, the elevator was set on a corner then forested areas were created in front of it to frame the action as railcars are pulling in front of the building. The idea was to have the impression the person looking at the layout is standing in an open field or clearing and can only grasp a part of the train.

Second, I thought it would be better to compose the scene as a succession of planes rather than create hard to conceal things like perpendicular road. It means almost everything is parallel to the tracks, which emphasized the linear nature of a railway. In fact, this is not to different from the way traditional animators created scenes by using several planes to build up the illusion.

Finally, as you can see, the foreground forested areas are carefully located so they not only frame the view but aren't a hindrance for operation. The turnout may not be visible, but it's not important since no uncoupling occurs there. Also, from experience, I know we rarely observe a train while standing by a stand switch.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


Good news my friend, as promised, the QSSR is back on track, this time as a 48" x 18" portable layout. As always, it is set in Quebec's Eastern Township, will deal with a local feedmill on a derelict branchline remnant and is served by our good old Canadian Pacific Railway. If you want to route if a little bit more into reality, it is yet again based on ex-Maine Central's Hereford Railway branch. Until the mid-1980s, a chunk of the former line was still used to reach a few customers in Sawyerville, a few miles south of Cookshire. As you can guess, this is really just an excuse for inspiration since I'm not fond of fantasy layouts.

However, the approach will be different as described in this post I made on Hedley-Junction. QSSR is perfect to try this approach and go fully artistic with the project. While I gave a lot of thoughts about the operation aspect of the layout, I'm approach it as a canvas.  Rails and trains will be a part of the picture, but not the main focus. Will it pay off? Maybe, maybe not. But at least, I need to try it out once to see if my ideas are sound and worth implementing on my other projects (Hedley-Junction and Connors). It is also a good occasion to operate a little bit at home as I once did with the original QSSR. I miss that time!

As we speak, the baseboard is completed and I'm soon make the proscenium as often seen on British exhibit layouts.

Oh, and you probably want a track plan? No need for one... A mainline, a turnout and a  siding: yes, the proverbial one turnout layout as originally envisioned.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Building the Fleet

It will be a long time before I build a CPR themed layout, but it won't stop me from building the fleet. Over the years, I collected many Canadian Pacific locomotives and rolling stock which can make up for a nice little fleet. They include all kind of rolling stock and many will need extensive rebuilding to be up to my modelling standards (separate ladders, metal stirrups and wire grabiron). Since I don't plan to add any cars to Hedley-Junction, when I feel like building an HO scale car, it will probably be a CP one.

To start this long term program, I acquired a few decals and paint supplies. The first projects will be about the conversion of old Bachmann, Model Power and MDC/Roundhouse 50ft plug door boxcars. CP Rail used to have a large fleet of them in lumber service and they were a staple of Quebec Central back in the 1970s and 1980s.

I this regard, I'll build a few variation of them with different door arrangements, roof types and car ends. The next project to be documented here will be CP 49100, a one-of-a-kind double door boxcar.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Improving a Track Plan

I believe a good design is one that is simple, easy to understand and free of hindrance. While I want continuous running, I certainly don’t want gimmick such as duck unders and lift out sections. Also, having large aisles is on top of my list. Because, it's much practical when building the layout and doing maintenance. I'd rather sacrifice layout benchwork than aisle space.

For this reason, I bumped the room width to 14’. It makes a huge difference and will be much more interesting in the long run.

It was also a good opportunity to fine tune the concept. No surprise I removed some trackage and took the occasion to slightly relocate Tring on the long wall. Many reasons are behind this but the first one is to clear the staircase well. I have no problem having trains running over the the staircase, but I don’t want any operation to happen there, particularly such an important spot as Tring. Also, the prototype was located on a long straight stretch of track right after a curve, exactly as represented on my most recent track plan. It also allocates more space to correctly model the old Placo veneer factory which is a landmark in the area. While it could be operated, this industry was a dying one at that time and probably saw very little rail traffic. I'll will be a scenic element so I’m not bothered it is over the staircase. Placo can use Tring team track if they want to ship by rail!

Another benefit from this new Tring location is I can decently stage large way freight trains on the wye legs. Two operators could virtually schedule meets if wanted. There is also a better spatial and scenic separation between Tring and St-Sébastien, made even more dramatic by the staircase. Finally, removing curves from Tring yard will make operation far easier. I certainly hate coupling cars on curves and I’m probably not alone. With repeat mistakes of the past when they can easily be avoided.

Also, I decided to place all the industries siding facing the same direction. Not only it makes operation easier (yes, I’m not that much excited running around a train) but improve the feel of a long main line run. The reason is easy to understand. We you leave Tring, you have to travel all over the layout without stopping nowhere. You blow the horn and control your speed, that’s all. But the best as yet to come: you’ll meet the 1.6% ruling grade in this direction which will be more interesting to battle against that way. On the return trip, you take your time and switch the industries one by one as required, taking your time and increasing the perceived distance. With five industries, whom many have multiple spots, I think there would be more than enough action for a single operator. Keep in mind designing a track plan for operation isn't just about meeting the requirements, but also about telling a story.

It is certainly a little bit weird to put so little track in such a comfortable space (14’ x 23’), but I think it’s for the best to be immersed in scenery. You can't reproduce a backwood branchkine with dozen of towns and industries! Such a railway is generally dominated by forests and fields which can’t be traded for a higher track ratio. Keep thing simple and manageable! Also, given my freight cars weight a lot and only stations are on flat lands, there should be enough challenge to make this a decent layout. Also, you can’t model the branchline look by stuffing all kind of stuff.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Layout Ideas - CPR Tring Subdivision

Time to update this blog according to the new direction this project may take. This will be a long term personal project and thus Hedley-Junction always take priority on other modelling endeavours. This time, I'm experimenting with something that always fascinated me but never fully embraced by fear of lack of operation interest (oh, THAT fear!).

For the sake of convenience, I repost here the blog entry on Hedley-Junction that explain the reason behing reviving again that old foolish idea of a CP Rail-based layout. While building layout at home is directly dependant on available space in the future, I will, from time to time, start to refurbish and improve my Canadian Pacific locomotive and rolling stock fleet. I recently dug into my boxes and was astonished by the amount of material I already had. I suspect I have well over 50 cars, if not more, that can be used to build a decent train. Since Hedley-Junction has already all the freight cars required for normal operation and that I still enjoy building HO freight cars, everything new will be CPR and posted here. As a preview, I can already announce I'm actually looking for a way of improving the weird MDC/Roundhouse 50 ft plug door boxcar.

As for the Temiscouata project, it's still alive and will be built as a 1:65 (S scale) modular layout. For the sake of clarity, a new blog dedicated to this stand alone project now exist under the moniker Temiscouata Railway Connors Branch

A New Layout Concept

Last summer, I explored a few layout concepts that could be implemented at home for a future layout. Among many ideas, a few things were found out, including the possibility for continuous run while keeping the idea of a point-to-point operation scheme.

Most theme explored dealt with the idea to model only a few scenes, maybe just one location. Prototypes like Temiscouata Railway's Connors Branch and QRL&PCo Beaupré station were scaled down to HO and S scales.

Among the themes proposed, a rural Québec CPR branchline was among my list. However, I failed each time I tried to make a layout out of it in the past. It's not for a lack of interesting prototypes though. Canadian Pacific had a lot of small subdivisions which would make terrific layouts, both in the steam or diesel eras. In fact, I'm surprised we rarely hear people modelling these little gem.

Just to list a few of them, you have le Petit Train du Nord in the Laurentides area for people loving grades and mountainous layouts. The very short but extremely interesting St. Lin Subdivision near Montréal (if you are well aware of Trevor Marshall's Port Rowan layout, this subdivision is equivalent and somewhat similar to the Bruce Lines). Another great one is the St. Gabriel Subdivision, which still exist nowadays and could make for a very impressive switching layout under the Chemin de fer de Lanaudière tenure. The operate the branchline exclusively with first generation MLW locomotives.

Finally, another interesting area is the Eastern Townships. A lot of CPR branchlines existed there. I've often talked about MEC Hereford Branch and Cookshire, unfortunately none of these ideas coalesced into a decent or interesting project.

I've also explored the old Quebec Central, particularly near Lac-Frontière with my fictious Quebec South Shore Railway located in the nearby town of St. Pamphile. While this layout was bogus, I still think the grain elevator scene and track plan to be one of my best to this date. Unfortunately, this concept was plagued by several issues that doesn't fit well with my personal tastes when running trains. First, I like when there is an originating point to my train. Second, I like to railfan my models in "boring" landscapes that put the trains in a realistic context. Third, while I don't like spaghetti bowls, I appreciate when the tracks can connect and form a continuous run. I already explored that last principle when designing the Beaupré Station track plan. I think it had merits without killing the impression you are going somewhere. And fourth... having the ability to run way freight trains in such a fashion you don't have to find a "reason" or "excuse" for some cars and locomotives.

I must admit I've been looking for such a "CPR-looking" prototype for years and I don't know why I never cared to look at the now defunct Quebec Central Tring Subdivision (also called Megantic Branch) connecting Tring-Jonction to Lac-Mégantic. In fact, I know. I was always lured by branchlines... but didn't care for bridge line.

The Tring Subdivision was about 50 miles long and bridged the QCR Vallée Subdivision connecting Québec City to Sherbrooke and the CPR Shortline to the Maritimes. A lot of Québec City-USA traffic was rerouted by that line built in 1894-1895. Local traffic was scarce and mainly oriented toward agriculture and natural ressources.

According to various maps I studied, most common commodities carried for local customers were cattle, grain, feeds, lumber, oil, granite slabs and gravel. At least, three feedmills existed by the end of the steam era (Tring-Jonction, St. Éphrem and Courcelles). A Co-Op or creamery (or similar rural business) seems to have existed in St. Évariste (now La Guadeloupe). Several freight shed - some still surviving - existed in most towns. A few gravel pits were rail served and a large granite quarry now owned by Polycor. Finally, sawmills and lumber yards were numerous, most towns had at least one and many sidings in the middle of nowhere served to load logs, dimensional lumber and pulpwood.

I also found a description of each stations on the line by Charles Cooper. Here are the characteristics of each ones from Tring-Jonction to Megantic. They are relevant for the steam era thought photographs show substantial structures survived until 1969 and a few until the line demise.

Tring-Jonction (MP 0.0, acting as a division point for Sherbrooke-Vallée-Jonction traffict):

  • 1 concrete passenger station
  • 2 water tanks
  • 1 coal tower
  • 1 icehouse
  • 1 feedmill
  • 1 three-stall engine house & turntable located inside the wye (demolished in 1940)
  • 1 bunkhouse (demolished in 1940)  

St. Jules (MP 4.4) No description.
  • 1 saw mill
  • 1 gravel pit

St. Victor (MP 11)
  • 1 station (demolished in 1968)
  • 1 saw mill
  St. Éphrem (MP 17)
  • 1 station (demolished in 1968)
  • 1 large feedmill
  • 1 saw mill
 St. Évariste now La Guadeloupe (MP 24)
  • 1 station (demolished in 1968)
  • 1 freight shed
  • 1 saw mill
  • 1 Co-Op or creamery (to be verified)

Courcelles (MP 32)
  • 1 station (demolished in 1968)
  • 1 freight shed
  • 1 enclosed octogonal water tank
  • 1 cattle pen
  • 1 saw mill
  • 1 grist mill
  • 1 feedmill
 St. Sébastien (MP 41)
  • 1 station (demolished in 1968)

St. Samuel (MP 46)
  • 1 station (demolished in 1968)

Ste. Cécile (MP 50)
  • 1 station (demolished in 1968)
  • 1 water tank 

Mégantic (MP60, division point on CPR Shortline to St. John, NB)

According to old timetables, until dielization, the line was served by a mixed train. It was abandonned after 1960. No regular train was scheduled in 1970 and traffic was handled on according to demand. The line was operated at until 1984-1985 and abandonned in 1991. A caboose, a derelict passenger coach and a small steel trestle survive near Courcelles.

Old photographs also show a lot of variety in rolling stock, including several New England roads, which helps to strengthen the fact it's a bridge line. In fact, while I have several CPR cars, good American cars are easier to find than Canadian ones.

Tom Johnson's INRAIL layout

With all that info on hand, I decided to see if something could fit my future space. I used to place the layout on the future garage first floor, but finally decided to move it on the second floor were space is larger and easier to work with (less doors, less windows, less obstacles). It's also better since I prefer to keep the layout in a dedicated room isolated from the more dusty activities performed in the garage.

When thinking how I would handle the project, I decided to follow Tom Johnson's excellent INRAIL layout which I consider a perfect layout for solo operation. His layout was also featured in Model Railroad Hobbyist May 2014 issue. His way of doing modelling isn't very different from mine and I particularly liked when he said to not fear redoing unpleasant scenes and removing unrequired elements to streamline scenes: "By removing some of the clutter it actually makes the layout better." 
 and you gotta love Tom's word of advice about model railroading: "Overall I would say my philosophy is model what you love, and less is more." Isn't it sweet!

It is interesting to note Tom Johnson's INRAIL track plan is the most boring out there. Even MRH didn't care to draw a nice looking version of it. It's a single track mainline crossing fields and serving a bunch of decrepit grain elevators and feedmills in the middle of nowhere. But as mundane this theme can be, it makes for impressive pictures, memorable scenes and a convincing depiction of a rural community. Tom's layout got character which is only achieved by making things as simple as can be. Unfortunately, will his attractive photographs are well known, it sad most people fail to understand they can only exist because their author carefully choosed to stick to was does happen in real lif, i.e., lots of nothing ever happen. Take a look at the ratio of "empty" scenes (or Scenery Zone Only as Lance Mindheim would put it), most people would feel worried to waste so much space.

Modelling the Tring Subdivision

A lot of lessons can be learned from Tom's INRAIL and most, with other principles I advocated over the year here, can be implemented on a Tring Subdivision.

To make the concept work, we need two destinations for the point-to-point operation. In our case, it's Tring-Jonction and Megantic. Since we need continous running, they will be located back to back for ease of connection.

Each end point has a wye on the prototype. This is a practical way to create interchange opportunities as done on INRAIL. This way, no need for staging or worst, hidden staging, which I always think kills the magic behind a model railroad.

Then, we need a "leitmotif" that will enhance the nature of the line. It can be defined by a set of commodities plentiful of the area: grain / lumber / granite. Everything else is cake icing. It thus means we should find these almost everywhere to show us it is the breadwinner for the railway. Tom did it and Mike Confalone too.

Given I would use a peninsula to separate scenes visually and increase the amount of mainline running in wilderness, I consider that only two other locations can be added without killing the branchline theme. Among the various known stations, it seems St. Éphrem is a must because of the large feedmill and lumber yard. Readers well aware of my former Quebec South Shore Railway switching layout will recongnize instantly the track plan and general arrangement.

The next location is harder to decide. St. Évariste (La Guadeloupe) and Courcelles are ex aequo. Both have a sawmill and a feedmill/Co-Op, they also had freigh sheds (La Guadeloupe still surviving to this day) and Courcelles had a cattle pen. At this point, I'll have to do more researches to see which town is more interesting to model. Also, they both shared a somewhat similar track plan.

Mégantic won't be modelled. The railway facilities there were quite important and hard to model. Also, they play absolutely no role in this particular "game". Tring-Jonction was the division point and much smaller and easier to model. The station was also preserved and is iconic of Quebec Central architectural standards. For this reason, I would only model partially Mégantic wye for interchange and keep the area forested like the real thing. Since Tring-Jonction will be the largest facility on the layout, it would look silly to have another large location just beside. Better tone down things a little bit.

Since we have kept Mégantic at bay, it leaves space in that area to spice things up with a very locale and peculiar customer: the granite slab manufacturer. St. Sébastien granite is well-known in Canada and USA for it's nice light gray regular color. It was used extensively when building Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica between 1923 and 1976. It is also well-known it travelled by rail to reach larger markets. It is also interesting to note this large customer is locate absolutely in the middle of nowhere and nested in a heavily forested valley, which is perfect to keep things simple.

Finally, the last iconic element that could be added would be a very small steel trestle that once existed in St. Victor. I call it a trestle, but in fact it was a three-part deck bridge supported by a few bents. I'm not sure it could be implemented correctly, but it could help to give a sense of place.

I didn't decide on a particular era, but I had in mind the diesel era. While attractive, adding a roundhouse at Tring-Jonction could be problematic from a scenic standpoint. While the combined icehouse/water tank was great looking, I must know when it was demolished and it was located in front of the station and would block the access to several turnouts which isn't interesting.

In Courcelles, I used the steam era track arrangement. Courcelles could be simplified though the possibility to schedule meets there is a nice touch. Certainly, things would have to be tested on the benchwork to make sure it is practical, particularly the passing track which seems quite short (and was in real life).

Operation potential

While simplistic, I think this layout have a operating interest and diversity. The yard in Tring-Jonction is a nice place to set out motive power, build small consists, interchange cars and serve a few customers. It makes for a natural spot to start and end a session. The various customers along the line are coherent and strengthen the idea you are service rural communities. While similars customers exists, many are somewhat different in size and location. While St. Éphrem elevator is larger and works as the regional provider of feeds, fertilizers, heating oil and building supplies, the one in Tring-Jonction is simply a feedmill and the Co-Op in Courcelles only handle very limited traffic. The same applies to the sawmill. Courcelles does have a side track sway mill while St. Éphrem only offer a team track where trucks bring finished lumber for exportation. Granite Polycor acts as the oddball industry with its own set of particular needs.

Operations can be cut into three types: way freights, local switcher and interchange run from both points. Trains are generally short, about 4-5 cars with a caboose, never more than 8 cars.

Scenery and era

At this point, I didn't gave much thought about it. I certainly would love to do a CP Rail post-1968 Multimark era layout. Since I like the mix of old and new rolling stock typical of that specific period, I feel it should be in the early 1970s when the line still saw a "decent" level of minimal service.

As for the season, I have no idea. Maybe summer or fall, or should I say, a season with foliage to help conceal the fact the layout will often be less than 1 feet large. It's also something I never did and I like when Multimark rolling stock is in stark contrast with its environment. While "New England in fall" is a beaten to death theme, it's still the best period to model freight from feedmills. I see two options: early Autumn with mostly olive green and yellowish leaves or late falls when everything turns brownish orange and yellow. I would certainly stay away from the vivid colors when forest seems to be in flames.

The layout would also have two distinct districts recalling the nature of the landscape on the line. The first part from Tring-Jonction to Courcelles will be agricultural lands and gently sloped while the section between Courcelles and Mégantic should be more heavily forested and sports a few rock cuts, marshes and more conifers.