As I revisit my early designs for Connors and compare them against photographic evidences, I'm starting to find interesting details I used to overlook.
Among them, I discovered the coaling shed located by the turntable seems to have survived until the end of the line. According to an old photograph of the depot (which I can't unfortunately share due to copyright), it appears the shed seen on the 1894 panoramic shot used on the blog banner was still standing. This little bit of information is crucial, because it helps to better understand how the station evolved. Particularly in a case where I have yet to find out Temiscouata Railway archives (if ever possible).
This discovery is important, because it means - in term of structures - Connors changed very little between the initial construction back in the late 1880s and the demise in the mid-1940s. During that period, the only notable change is the addition of a well-documented section/bunk house. The architectural details on that structure are also a good indication it was built in a time of relative prosperity, probably just before the First World War. Another small difference is the adjunction of a post office to the passenger depot, which incidently probably occured early in history.
Given that, I feel I have a better grasp of Connors, particularly given the scarcity of my knowledge on that subject matter. However, new information is bound to be discovered during the project as it always happens. Thus, instead of postponing the project in hope of reaching the truth, I'm seriously thinking about creating a first working scale version and improve it until I can move to something more substantial. There are a lot of areas I want to experiment better, starting with scenery in general, and vegetation in particular. Since practice makes perfect, I see little benefit constantly procrastinating.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
While the long due renovation of my house are underway, I’m still giving some thoughts about the Connors layout, mainly due to Jamie Bothwell who prepared some elements for the layout. To be honest, I’ve never seen this project as something that had to be done as fast as possible, but rather as something well worth taking time to do things right and progress.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been revisiting my original design set in the 1910s and looked at what could be done for something set in the post-1930 era. A lot of data from that era exist, making it easier to figure out how trains were handled by Temiscouata Railway.
So, for this reason, I decided to put together a more modern version of the terminal before it was abandoned. The biggest changes at that time were the MoW track that was moved in front of the station while the second turnout on the team track siding was simply removed. These changes don’t impact that much the operation process at Connors, but they do show the railway tried to eliminate useless elements to streamline as much as possible the terminal. To be honest, it is rather efficient and from a layout perspective, makes things much easier to handle. As a layout building, I must admit I'm kind of impressed by elegant simplicity of this track plan.
At the end of the day, I must admit I am still lingering asking myself which era suits my needs best. Not an easy answer, but at this point, it is all about conveys the sense of the place. To me, Temiscouata is all about small time railroading, light weight rails, tall grass and serene countryside. Backwood location, retreating agriculture and hard working men struggling to keep a failing yet proud enterprise all speak to me. This is probably due to my own personal background being raised at the fringe of a dying colonization village.
That said, focussing the project on the ambiance rather than the train themselves (and no, it doesn’t mean neglecting that aspect at all) helps me to set the priorities on the project. Particularly in terms of motive power, which is always the worst “I want it all” situation we must face. As things stand if a post-1930s scenario is adopted, only one locomotive would be required to operate the layout, namely an ex-Quebec Central 4-4-0. Less is more they say, and it seems to me having one loco is a good way to cherish, maintain, detail and care about it. A personal association is created with this little working horse. And at the end of the day, it helps to keep the project affordable and manageable. And let's be honest, given this locomotive will be probably built almost from scratch, it will far less intimidating!