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!