Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Op Session Stools, Crawford station platform

When I was getting ready for my first Op session last June, I wanted to make sure there were a few spots in the layout area where guys could get off their feet a bit. Sure, I have plenty of seating just outside the train room, but some guys working the yards would not get much of a chance to take a break, or even walk around too much. I know from my experience operating that it is nice to have a place to sit now and  then but still be at your "post".

I have 2 stools that are pushing 25 years old. They work great, but I really needed another 1 or 2 to augment these. Finding low cost, suitable stools was harder than I thought, so I made do with just these original 2, meaning no seats for a couple of the guys.

We were in Ikea this past weekend and I was happy to find a well made, inexpensive stool that fits the bill nicely. It is solid wood construction and comes home in a flat box that is easy to get in any car. It goes together in about 5 minutes using standard Ikea methods. And at $19 each, the price is hard to beat.

New Ikea stool on the left, and my much older one on the right. No cushioning on the new one, but still pretty comfortable. Adding a cushion wouldn't be tough. Both are just right for working the layout seated, which is about 48" off the floor here.

Part Number info should you be looking to grab one of these,
On the layout it self, I have been focusing on getting the area in Crawford prepared for the station which is nearly complete. I need to have a suitable base to raise the station to the proper level trackside, and also build out the asphalt platform area which extends to the left and right of the station.

This area has a foam base installed slightly below track level. I used some gator foam and styrene to build up a base for the station and provide support for the platform extensions. I let this dry thoroughly, then cut the first platform extension from styrene and used strips to get the height to match that of the plaster base of the station. Next up will be repeating this for the other side, then painting these to look like the asphalt seen in pictures circa 1980.

This side of the platform is installed, butted up against the plaster station base. As you can see, I needed to bring the height up quite a bit to match the prototype which is about even with the top of the railhead. A scenic base will be built up to the platform and the ballast will level out on the track side.  
Once in place, I will be able to build up the scenery around this, add the parking lot and large boulders, and bring this scene closer to complete.

Getting a look at things to come...The platform on this side will be shorter. I'll build that in the next work session. I placed a U18B here to get a feel for the overall look of things and the setback of the station compared to prototype photos. 

Thursday, April 07, 2016

TBT - Roosevelt Paper 1998

Nearby where I live now, and also where I lived 18 years ago, is a Conrail branchline, that continues to see regular service. In the late 1990s a local paper company constructed a new warehouse along the existing rail line and Contrail crews cut in a new switch and long siding to allow boxcars of paper to be unloaded. This greatly added to the traffic base with the addition of 50' boxcars from paper producing lines like the Maine Central, Central Vermont, Canadian National and Wisconsin Central.

This new customer generated a little more railfan interest in the line when the warehouse came on line. I visited many times when the local would be in the area most weekdays in the late afternoon.

I have always thought this line would make a great shelf switching layout. Staging could represent Pavonia yard. Some interesting bridges are crossed and some preserved stations exist. In addition to this warehouse in Mt. Laurel is an industrial park in Hainesport with a number of customers. The end of the line in Mt. Holly has a runaround siding. A great subject for a Lance Mindheim style project.

My 1997 VW Jetta was not the only railfan vehicle on this day. A few others are on hand to watch the crew swap boxcars at the warehouse. The locomotives are on the switch.
A freshly painted GP38-2 is on the head end now as the train has traversed the line to Mt. Holly and is on its way back to Camden and Pavonia yard. The Roosevelt Paper warehouse is seen in the background. The spur diverts here and is switched now with train heading back.

The Operation Lifesaver unit is heading backing down the spur to pull the cars off the siding.

A portion of the very large paper warehouse is seen here. At any time the siding has up to a dozen 50' boxcars spotted at various doors.

The other unit on this local is a CR GP15-1.
A MEC and CV boxcar carry paper for the warehouse. These older cars soldiered on in their original owner paint schemes even though both railroads had been transformed into new entities (Guilford and New England Central).
Another MEC boxcar, this one the same series as the above waffle-side boxcar, but having been repainted into the Guilford all white scheme in the mid 1980s, sits next to a Canadian Nation CNA plug door boxcar.
The line is still active as Contrail Shared Assets, and sees both NS and CSX motive power. The warehouse still sees 50' boxcars, but less of them are as varied and colorful as they were in the 1990s. Mostly they are just a much simpler paint scheme with a good deal of graffiti.

I know I have written about this branch a couple times in previous posts (Click the Railfan Label at the top right of this page to see 2 other posts with newer pictures). I've been going through my older non-digital pictures and scanning them, so perhaps I'll post more from this line in the future.

The Roosevelt Paper warehouse. You can see 12 boxcars spotted this day, with room for about 4 more or so. Route 537 (Marne Highway) parallels the branch almost entirely from Camden (to the left/east) to Mt. Holly (to the right/west).