Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Planning Follow Up

To Stage or Not To Stage

This Temiscouata layout project is probably the one I've been planning for the longest time in my life while having the most basic track plan ever. Not that I'm having that much problems finding out a definite answer in terms of track planning which was complete on day one, but rather about the way I want to frame the subject.

Basically, the layout will be on a 17 feet long shelf which is quite vast for such a simple terminal. However, I've been pondering for a while if I wanted staging or if the layout would be self-contained. The answer is simple: my mind is better fooled when I'm under the impression the train emerges from outside the modelled world, meaning a sort of staging/fiddling yard will be required.

Keeping things simple in terms of staging

Several options are possibles, but I'm looking for something extremely simple like a long stretch of track on a narrow shelf that goes beyond the layout and can handle a train. Not only it creates a virtual space from where trains come from or vanish, but it gives room to better replicate switching moves at Connors without having to take into account space limitation of the modelled portion of the world.

I see no need to over complicate the staging area with turnouts but would probably install an "el cheapo" manual turntable to reverse locomotives without having to handle them. A display case for rolling stock would be install nearby for ease of access when staging or storing cars.

CDS Lettering

Meanwhile, I'm sourcing old CDS Lettering dry transfer in HO and S scale for the sake of this project. While some are still commercially available, they are no longer in production and some sets are already sold out and hard to find. Temiscouata and Intercolonial cars are quite hard to find. If you ever find some sets or have ones that you don't plan to use, let me know and maybe we can work out a deal.

I'm mainly looking for boxcars (both single-sheathed and double-sheathed) lettering, including such roads:

-Canadian Northern
-Canadian Pacific (arched lettering paints scheme)
-Grand Trunk
-Dominion Atlantic
-Canadian Government Railway


  1. How about using cassettes for the fiddle yard?

    1. Hi Simon, sorry for my very late reply, it seems I didn't "notice" the notification. I have no specific plans how to handle the staging track at this point. A cassette could indeed be a simple yet practical way to achieve the same goal with more efficiency. To some extent, it could even be not required to have the track curving along the wall and instead have a cassette right at the end of the yard. Temiscouata mixed trains were extremely short and would fit on a 36 inches long cassette.

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  3. Hi, Matthieu. I've spent the last few days going through your blog, and I gotta say, I share a lot of the same philosophies with regard to layout design. Your "Thinking Out Loud" series was wonderful, and I found myself nodding right along.

    I'm designing a layout with similar design considerations as your Temiscouata work in progress. Prototype-based, single station, limited but interesting switching, and set in the early 1900s. Like you, I also am better fooled when the trains can arrive from off scene and then depart for the rest of the world, so have been putting considerable thought into staging. Because the Temiscouta at Connors and my prototype of the White Deer & Loganton at Loganton are so closely aligned, I thought I'd share where I am with how to manage an entire day of train operations in Loganton via my current staging theory. This is so close to your scenario, you can probably look at your track plan and follow right along.

    Like Connors, short trains are the rule (the narrow gauge WD&L only owned 14 revenue cars, so...). The morning starts with Train No.1 in town, where the locomotive and it's crew has over-nighted. "Play" begins as the locomotive moves from it's siding, takes coal and water, and begins working Loganton (or, Connors). The early train doesn't see much beyond the milk car, the combine, and maybe a single gondola or box car.

    Once the early morning train is made up, No.1 leaves the scene, off down the valley to staging. Here, there is a three-track traverser, 30" long, with a short locomotive lead beyond. I don't need a turntable because the WD&L always ran their Climaxes with the smokey end 'uphill', but your turntable will act the same as my loco lead. You just get to turn your engines roundy-round.

    No.1 enters an empty traverser track, uncouples, and pulls onto the loco lead (turntable). Train No.2 has been staged on another traverser track. That track is now aligned with the main, and No.2 heads for town, does it's switching, and the loco ties up for a bit while the crew goes for beans and a nap.

    Meanwhile, back at staging... No.1 'runs around' the third consist (staged on the final traverser track) on the now empty No.2 track. Track No.3 is aligned, and the loco backs, couples up, and is ready for its next run.

    From here, it's could be a never ending cycle of trains between town and staging. The three track traverser will be my fiddle yard and car storage all together. With a long enough lead, you can build trains as if in a yard with WAY less space, since there are no turnouts. Heck, I ran this on a table top with index cards as stand-ins for locos and cars and I can run full operations with a single locomotive. Talk about achievable! I think a 36" long, 3-track traverser plus a small turntable could be an ideal staging scenario for a lot of these small layouts.

    Speaking of which... I think Trevor does something similar with Port Rowan.

    Anyway... I thought this might inspire some thought on your end since your blogs have certainly inspired thought on mine. Thanks for taking the time to write... I've enjoyed reading the posts immensely.


    1. Hi Ryan! Sorry for my very late reply. I didn't get the notification. Indeed, both prototypes share extremely similar operation patterns. I agree a traverser or something similar with about 3 tracks would be the best. I'm actually thinking about ways to make it works in a streamlined and efficient way. Your suggestion is quite close to what I had in mind. Temiscouata has been a long project for me. Still nothing built, but I know I'll go there some day!

      Happy to have inspired you in a way or another!