A couple of posts ago, you may have read about my Vancouver to Vermont model railway layout transition. I said progress might be ponderously slow. It was not. It was astonishingly fast! While vacationing in Pennsylvania, thoughts turned to three types of road: the Interstate, the clip-clop of Amish buggies on bucolic country lanes, and Vermont railroads in HO scale. Mental notes began to fill a scribbler notebook on Friday. I present some redneck scans herewith, along with some parenthetical, over-caffeinated statements and stray thoughts! Concepts of the whole layout and various switchable areas (right page, below). The good news is that I used the same benchwork!
That's the real Rutland, VT on the left (left page, above); one of the signature scenes I wanted to include. Here are the stages of construction that I used as a checklist:
To use the same benchwork, I'd decided to include Rutland on the left side - the longest and first visible, even if not entering the layout room. St Johnsbury, VT yard would be across the room. To ensure I ended up with industries to switch, I made sure I left room for some, considering what they'd be and how much trackage would be required. I also removed the elevated Vancouver interchange - there was a lot of lumber under it! The Vermont layout would include 1.5 circuits of the layout, including some hidden staging and interchanges at both main towns.
St Johnsbury hosts the iconic (there I go again) ET & HK Ide feed mill. I'd seen this weird, huge lettering for over forty years in rail enthusiast publications. Ide is a surname. Another St J modeller measured the mill, and I was able to scale out a mock-up (left page, above) as well as planning out the trackage for Rutland (right page, above) also in the scribbler pages. Standing on the shoulders of giants (Isaac Newton reference) I was able to print composite pages of the Ide mill and its neighbour, the widely-windowed Caldbeck-Cosgrove Corporation. (If I keep typing that, I might get it right eventually!) Do you C the alliteration there?
I have absolutely no intention of Dremel'ing or using an X-acto knife on styrene long into the fall nights to install said windows. I mean, look at them all! Googling the three-C-lettered company reveals an online pdf scan of one of their building product catalogues:
Paging through reveals some four-light windows that are close enough for me. (The catalogue also includes neat moldings, doorways, mantles - truly everything in building materials - woodwork from an era of craftsmanship we're unlikely to see again.) I reproduced these windows in a printable format. I will cut and paste, literally, onto the painted styrene surface! I'll spend my time on hand-lettering.
TRAINS and RAILFAN articles have been very helpful, especially since I've been saving views of these notable VT scenes for years. Look at those windows. Hopefully then won't be too much of a pane!
I made a point of making some videos and taking photos for posterity during the transition. There are six videos. They're short - like my attention span! A few work blocks of one to three hours over the Thanksgiving weekend enabled good progress. A tableful of removed buildings. A pile of removed HO scale people (channelling Les Nessmann - "Oh, the Humanity!") and a carton of removed vehicles were set aside. The roll of flextrack was unravelled. Nippers nipped and joiners joined. Clearances were checked with a test train which included a gon full of Robertson screws. Buildings were replaced. New ones are planned and industry names imagined. Just tonight, operation began. No derailments and some fun new switching now exists. Working the interchanges, so much a part of the overbuilt Vermont rail scene, will be challenging but enjoyable. All in four days. Some photos:
A D&H RS-3 switches the Rutland interchange. That will be Howe Scale at right. I'm recycling two existing buildings. The treed bank at left is a lichen mat picked up in a Pennsylvania craft store. Super handy! I'm pleased with the long-looking Rutland tracks! Here's the overpass view:
I'll be adding more backdrops. I picked up this one at the Strasburg Train Shop (below), along with a B&M hopper. Over on the other side of the layout, a CP freight enters the yard at St J, with station at left and enginehouse at rear. That lumber dealer is already relocated over to Rutland! The unloading shed for the Ide mill is already done. It will be just to the left:
More stray thoughts:
- Now I need a name for the layout. I'm thinking 'The Green Mountain Boys'. As Morduant wrote, one crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name!
- Interestingly, I found that my Burlington Northern (Manitoba Ltd.) torpedo Geep is still useful. Green Mountain picked up ex-BN 1849 and it operated in BN colours before receiving GMR paint!
- Though I am all about planning, dreaming and scheming trackplans, there is a time for action. Don't led planning the ideal layout get in the way of creating something that's useable, reasonably prototypical and operable in less than a decade!
Hey, it's Trackside Treasure's 500th post!
Congratulations on your 500th post! It was very parenthetical (but that's OK) . It's impressive how much you achieved in four days.
It was fun to reinvent the layout. It seemed like a good time for a change in operations!
Geez, talk about setting the bar high! Congrats on the 500th. Those are Rocket Richard-ian heights for TT! I have always had a soft spot for Central Vermont and Vermont railways. The very first Trains Magazine I ever bought had a feature story about Central Vermont. I remember always relishing the sight of those wet noodle CV cars in and around Sarnia. I have a Model Railroader book about creating great scenery for a train set and it's based on the Rutland. Great post.
Permit me another Habs idiom, Michael...the two halves of the layout allow me to do a Savardian Spinnerama when I'm operating!
Though I'd like to have more green mountains, I'm realizing that the layout is looking somewhat industrial so I'll have to inject the greenery into the scenery!
Thanks for your comment and your kind words,
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