Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Moving Vancouver to Vermont - in HO Scale!

In 2009, as my HO scale Winnipeg Terminals layout was appearing as the cover story of Canadian Railway Modeller magazine, I was already planning to move my modelled prototype locale west to Vancouver, which I did in 2010. Infamously, I used the same benchwork but rebuilt the trackage without a trackplan, resulting in my Vancouver Wharves layout. The photographic inspiration for that layout focused on CP's waterfront 'N' yard, their Pier B-C facilities, nearby marine traffic as shown in the Phil Mason 1982 photo (below). I moved my modelled era from 1976-86 Winnipeg to 1970-76 Vancouver.
Now my modelled prototype locale is about to move again. To New England! Prince Street blogger Chris Mears* has actually been there! His photo of the (over-used terminology warning) iconic ET & HK Ide feed mill in St Johnsbury, VT is one of the signature scenes I want to include:
The other is the Rutland Railroad interchange in Rutland, VT, including the Howe Scale building disappearing seemingly into the distance with its nearby trackage and foliage-covered grade at left, shown in this Trains magazine photograph:
Some of the factors that are contributing to this change taking place this week, in no particular order:
  • purchasing a large Heljan brewery built-up kit at the Picton train show. Where was I going to fit that thing in my Vancouver modelled prototype? Carling O'Keefe brewery?
  • coming across a complimentary copy of the Canadian Railway Modeller article on my Winnipeg Terminals layout
  • adding some St Johnsbury photos to my Pinterest page (sign in to view)
  • this post on my brother Dave's Rolly Martin Country blog - B&M in 1954 - classic New England railway photography by our Dad
  • it seems unlikely I'll ever capitalize on a long-waning whim to build a layout of CN's Kingston Sub with limestone and lichen. Besides, some other modeller is building one!
  • a long-standing interest in New England railroading, perhaps going back to 1954!
From the above-mentioned Rolly Martin Country post...the Boston & Maine switcher in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Perhaps the image rivals a Jim Shaughnessy photo in tone, and the subjects - switcher, Swift and signage - are visually compelling and highly modellable:
Also from that post - my brother's scan of the 1954 B&M timetable shows two communities of interest circled. As the crow flies, they were not far apart. Perhaps convincingly linked in HO scale:
There remains much to be decided:
  • Era - I would like to have a sliding scale of era for at least vehicles and rolling stock, perhaps 1960's to 1980's. 
  • I need to do more research. Railfan magazine other soft-cover books from my library will help.
  • Motive power - I'm good for CP and there's even a Maine Central RR 44-tonner in my stable (*also thanks to Chris!)
  • Rolling stock - I likely have enough CN, CP, MEC and northeast US roads to pull it off. Cylindrical covered hoppers for grain service, prepare to fade farther into the background.
  • Structures - ET & HK IDE, Howe Scale for sure. Also, a lumber dealer at which to spot the Thrall All-Coor cars, farm supply and some other New England staples. There will be no fishing wharf, lighthouse or other kitschy, stereotypic seaboard structuring. Although there may be some shades of Earl Smallshaw**.
  • Train length - not an issue, since one locomotive and several cars seems to be standard for many New England locals
  • Trackplan - no laps to run! Perhaps just transiting from one signature scene to another. Perhaps even one of those pointless overpasses so common on today's layouts!
  • Recycling the same trackplan I have, with some modifications. I'll likely remove my raised trackage to make way for Rutland. Since the trackplan is STaying CONSTANT, I'm considering the new layout's name as the St Constant, St Johnsbury & Rutland RR!
The exact equipment mix is still forthcoming, though I've already corralled several pieces of regional rolling stock:


**While researching Earl Smallshaw's structures and layout-building, I was chillingly surprised to find out he died the same day as my Dad.

So, stay tuned in case anything actually happens and progress is made, even if ponderously slowly. After all, it's New England and not much changes they-ah. Prahgress happens wicked slow, leaf peepers, in the Green Mountain state!

Running extra...

Thanks to those loyal Trackside Treasures, and others, who participated in my September Sale. Remaining lots (those not garishly marked ****SOLD****) in the previous post are now available at a 20% discount. Just mention the promo code 'Johnny Cash' in your email expressing interest in a remaining lot.

I need to profile some of my recent reading in this space - it's impossible to avoid. Suffice it to say it was inescapably weird to read to books in a row (Dunkirk and Younger Next Year) that each included a word I'd never seen or spoken: ineluctable.
Fun Five-digit Fact - It seems that during the 1980's, Vermont licence plates finally progressed from five numeric digits to six digit alphanumeric combinations. Waving a fond farewell to summer and to VIA No 67:

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