Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Monday, December 03, 2012

Open House Pictures

The layout was opened for two days in November and I had about 80 total people come through, less than last year (when a newspaper article covered the open house), but still a good number with some new people and some regulars. As usual I always forget to take pictures while people are visiting. I just get busy talking to people while also keeping an eye on the running trains. But with the layout all cleaned up I did take some pictures after the last visitor left. For those that could not make it this year, these pictures will help convey the current state of building progress.

A view of Hardwick on the LVRC, but I don't think I have ever took a shot from this angle. Looking back east towards the quarry, the track heads back to St. Johnsbury. The grain elevator is the scene with the Central Vermont at Sheldon Jct. (the LVRC west of Hardwick, reversing back under itself).

Speaking of Sheldon Jct., here is the CV trackage there, with LVRC in the background. I still need to finalize this scene track-wise and then ballast, etc. The trees were done temporarily way back as I tried to figure out how I wanted the colors to look. I like the way it photographs. I probably will not change that until the rest of the layout scenery is well under way.

The LVRC arriving in St. Johnsbury yard. I put in some temporary telephone poles for the open house, but I would remove them for an Op session as they would surely be in the way. The foam scenery here makes it easy to just pop them in and out.
A look at the farm scene and Fisher Bridge along the LVRC. I tried a new angle here, so it should look familiar but somewhat different than previous pictures I have posted.

Now to some of the unfinished areas. For the first time, I mocked up some buildings in Lyndonville using structures I built for the module. This large flat area is great as a work space while working on other areas, but it was nice to start to get an idea in my mind how this scene will look and tie into the surrounding scenes. Buildings like the warehouse will help hide the CP track entering staging behind it (hard to see as it dips below the bare plywood). The CV engine is in CV staging for St. Albans and will be totally concealed from view.

For the open house I staged a B&M local on the isolated track representing the B&M line from Woodsville up to Groveton. (The bridge in the background is the MEC Mountain Division track). This B&M track is not yet connected to the diamond at Whitefield, and also does not yet cross a drop out section to get into Groveton. So even though it is wired, you cannot really run any trains on this line yet. But I wanted to convey what this track represents for visitors who ask. I found that I did not have a spare B&M engine 'hold' the cars on this grade, so I pulled out an old Athearn custom paint job I did circa 1984. I have no plans to operate this locomotive as it does not run very well (and is not DCC equipped), but it was fun to pull this out an look at it. Interesting to see how my modeling has improved over the years!

Nearby the B&M track I started to think about how I would represent some of the town structures in Whitefield. They have a modest 'downtown' block with some neat wood and brick buildings like these two shown here. Located near the front of the layout will allow a good look at these structures and their interiors. I just have to think about separating it from the MEC Crawford notch scene immediately to the left and above (never enough room to separate towns and areas on a model railroad). A road will cross the B&M here and wind up grade towards the backdrop.

Morrisville on the LVRC has all its track in place and is wired up, as mentioned in earlier posts. The goal now is to get the ground throws installed and wires to the frogs for powering. I plan to use Caboose Industries ground throws located along the front edge and frog juicers for the turnouts. This is the next "action area" I will focus on coming out of the open houses.

Groveton, NH is another area that will get major attention in the weeks ahead. For the open house I mocked up some track and structures to get a feel about how this scene and the paper mill will fit on the layout and how it will be operated. I am looking forward to getting track in here as I think it will be a great operating job for those that like switching. Above is the North Stratford, NH scene, where a MEC local will interchange with the green engine of the North Stratford Railway Company. That will probably be some of the last track I install on the layout given its isolated area and non-critical element in the Ops plan. But I will do the trackwork and scenery there before any scenery or structures go in Groveton.

One final picture, here is the double ended staging yard behind Whitefield and Crawford Notch, for the MEC and (at far end) CP trains. A lot of people were interested in how that was set up and what it looked like during the open house. As demonstrated here I can pop up behind the back drop to access all the tracks and turnouts in this area. The other parts and end will be accessed by a step stool and reaching over the backdrop. I can reach all areas in case there is an issue, but I hope to have "good" operators" who will not cause problems on the staging tracks :-)

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