Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Final benchwork and trackwork progress

As we head towards summer, I am still trying to stay busy working on the layout and associated projects. Recent news about a nearby layout being taken down, and the subsequent end to a monthly operating session there really have me wanting to keep work progressing towards getting my layout ready for an operating session. In that regard, I have made more progress, getting subroadbed and fascia in place for the Groveton paper mill area. This represents the last area of relatively major "lumber cutting". With this in place, I can finalize plans for trackwork here and put in the removeable bridge that the B&M will use to cross in from of the utility closet between Whitefield and Groveton.

Along with this work, I did more of the fascia work and under shelf construction for Gilman and Lyndonville. These are nearly complete and I will post pictures of that once they are completed. At that point I will be able to stain and clear coat the rest of the fascia, moving the overall layout area to a completed look. it also will help the operators as I will be able to give them a place to work with the waybills.

An in progress shot of the work at Groveton, to the left, below the shelf for North Stratford. The removeable bridge section will join in below the level where the clamp is seen. To the front right is the Lydonville Industrial park, and behind that the paper mill at Groveton. The 4 locations in this picture are all served by different railroads from different mainlines. This could be a busy area during an Op Session. Hopefully the 4' wide aisle will do! Since this photo, all fascia and subroadbed work are completed.

The other major area needing attention was the yard and industry tracks at Morrisville. Operating the LVRC really would not be possible without this in place, and I am happy to report that all track is in place. I still need to install ground throws, but it is possible to operate without them as I have seen on other layouts.

Morrisville finally has yard tracks and industry spots to switch, plus tracks to head into the engine house.

Trackwork still remains to be done for the B&M in Whitefield, specifically a couple of spurs past the ball signal that will add operational interest. This is not needed however before an operating session commences, This can be added later, with appropriate waybills cycled in at that time too.

Another similar area to get trackwork is the talc mill on the LVRC at Johnson. This will be an industry that will ship and receive a fair amount of covered hoppers, but again does not need to be in place before the first attempted operating session. The area here has received no attention since the initial benchwork went in place 6 years ago. I don't even have a picture of the area!

The industrial park at Lyndonville has long been my "last to do" area because of the convenience of having a large flat area to work on things (see first photo, lower right). I could think about simply running some flex track here and having the local just drop the cars there while I contemplate where to spot the industries I have planned, and that I have already made up waybills for!

A final small location needing some additional trackwork is the CV interchange with the LVRC at Sheldon Junction. I anticipate one or two CV served industries here, but right now there is just a switch off the CV main. Also another example of something that can wait, or can at least be temporarily set in pace with flex track and some spikes. Initially the CV trains do not even have to be operated as they are not critical to any other trains on the schedule.

This area has not changed at all since I took this picture a few years ago. Those CV engines need an industry or two to switch, don't you think?

The point seems to be that I could indeed probably look at the calendar now and set a date for an initial op session. Something to get a crew familiar with my layout and concept, and run a subset of the overall train schedule. The Maine Central is fully in place. The CP could also be operated with at least that temporary track in Lyndonville to receive the local cars. The B&M does not need to be fully functional at this time, and could perhaps just terminate at Groveton on a temporary track after it works the Whitefield interchange. The LVRC can also be fully run, perhaps leaving the covered hoppers for Johnson in the yard for now (replacing empties also in the yard).

I can think of a ton of other things I would like to do before an initial session, but I wonder if it is just better to plan on a date and do it. Otherwise it seems I will always be pushing it back as I find more things to work on that seem "critical" but probably are not when a layout is first starting to get operated.


Phil D said...

Looking good Mike! Hope it gets up to running soon.

Mike McNamara said...

Thanks Phil. I'll be sure to include you on the early invite list, you know basically a guinea pig!

Rob said...

That is one sweet looking railroad Mike. You've got a veritable forest growing in one of those photos, and I really dig the ball junction scene. Even though I live in the SF Bay area now I grew up in ME/MA and have fond memories of going down to watch the long haul MCR trains on the line that ran behind my grandparent's property in Windham, ME -- used to count the freight cars, and wave to the train staff. Haven't done much model railroading since I was a kid, apart from having an LBG train around the Christmas tree, but I recently bought an N scale Maine Central loco and plan on building a small 2x4 RR. It's never too late to get back into it. I think I'll add my grandparents house and the spot where I fell with trains in the first place! How long have you been building this layout for, anyway? And when do you see most of it being finished? And do you have more photos? Cheers -- Rob