Thursday, September 20, 2012

White River Junction from the air, 1953

A few months ago I found a neat UVM web site that featured vintage images of Vermont - including some aerial views of Essex Junction and even a close up a industry at Waterbury. While these images were extremely helpful, the White River Junction selection was pretty slim pickings. In fact all that came up in a search of "White River Junction" was a bunch of photos showing the interstate highway being built through the Green Mountains in the late 1950s. While somewhat interesting, it hardly was useful for my layout research. 
That was a few months ago, and the internet is always changing. I've had some time during my lunch to wander around the internet over the last couple of days. Just for fun I went to the UVM site and entered "White River Junction" in the search window, fully expecting to find those same photos of interstate highway construction. Wow, those folks at UVM have been busy. There are dozens of photos of White River Junction - including this one dating from 1953 that at long last shows exactly how the turnouts between the station and the CV yard were arranged. If you go to the link you'll be able to use the "Zoomify" function to get some real close up views.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Peninsula Track Plan

I get a lot of ribbing from my fellow modelers for my relative lack of written track plans. I do draw plans, I just don't often show them since I'm a terrible artist and the plans I draw wouldn't make much sense to anyone but me.
So here is a special treat - the sketch plan I drew (the last of several) before starting the ongoing rework on the peninsula.
Key elements include
(1) The Waterbury station scene (which includes the Waterbury station, a feed mill, the CV freighthouse and a coal dealer)
(2) a mill stream scene - this will be visually isolated from Waterbury proper by a low hill and trees. The mill stream will disappear behind the trees and dead end in the woods. Along the mill stream will be one, perhaps two, old non-rail served mills. These are strictly for atmosphere - not traffic generation.
Working our way around the peninsula we encounter a simple grade crossing that features a small country store - and not much else.
Finally, we end up at the river crossing scene with the large truss bridge that will end up "buried" in the tree-covered hillsides.
Still to come is a way to transition from the hilly bridge river crossing scene to the relatively flat Essex Junction scene.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Trees and Sunlight Over the Peninsula

I've been spending a lot of the time I usually waste in front of the television twisting pairs of florist wires to create foreground trees. I manage to twist a few dozen pairs during the news or while watching something with Christine. Time I'd normally be "wasting" has been put to good use.

And, I'm happy to report there's enough light over the lobe end of the peninsula to actually see things. When I got home from work I installed the first of a number of fluorescent lights planned for the layout room to replace or supplement the can lights. For this one, I replaced a can light with a single four-foot fluorescent T8 fixture. I chose to go with "daylight" bulbs rated as 5000K - which is the approximate light temperature of the sun. The result is a lot of light over the peninsula (and the rest of the layout now looks really dim by comparison) - so I can proceed with the alterations to the peninsula secure in the knowledge I can actually see what I'm doing!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Williams Creek Bridge

Russ Greene at New England Brownstone has included a nice "finished" picture of the Williams Creek bridge scene at the opening of his home page

Thanks to Russ for using the picture. 
And if you want some outstanding stone/brick products check out Russ' offerings - you won't be disappointed. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Moving a Mountain

One thing that was bugging me about the developing "Waterbury" scene was the way the hill that ran down the center of the peninsula, and served as a backdrop for Waterbury, was very, very close to the rear wall of the feedmill. Meanwhile, there was a lot of "open space" on the far side of the hill caused to some extent by the fish hook shape of the ridge. Late Friday night it occurred to me I could rotate the mountain and have the curve in the hillside follow the track curvature around the lobe of the peninsula. The ongoing bridge project seemed to tie into this naturally, so I decided to move the mountain before I buttoned up the bridge project. 

Here's where the hill started
The roof of the feedmill is just visible in the left side 

of this image - and it shows how the "fishhook" hill 
is encroaching on the station/feedmill scene.
A drywall saw along the base of the hill made

 quick work of cutting the hardshell hill loose.
Work in progress: (as an aside, the need 
for better lighting should be obvious

 in these photos - that's the next project!)
The rock outcropping on the hill ended up
across the tracks from the foreground hill on
 the right of the overall photo above - making it look like a cut

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cross me a River ....

I spent some time over the weekend correcting the strange jog I had in the mainline on the peninsula opposite Waterbury (Item #2 on my "to do" list).  
This could have been a simple matter of straightening out some roadbed and relaying one section of flextrack, but a little mission creep came to visit - and I ended up working up an entire river crossing scene - oh well, it will take longer than the two evenings planned, but the result will be another "finished" scene. 
Inspiration for this scene comes from a number of places in New England, including this planned crossing of the Blackstone River by the prototype Southern New England Railroad - 

 Since I couldn't locate a commercial set of abutments that worked with the Walthers single-track truss bridge, I made up a pair of abutments from styrene and painted them to resemble concrete. Then I test fit the bridge in place:
Although I usually choose foamboard for hills and other terrain features I find it difficult to use to for taller landmasses. These two hills are the tallest on the layout, so I chose to use the old standby cardboard web with plastercloth shell. I find it easier to build the hills "up" than to stack a bunch of styrofoam and go through the labor-intensive process of cutting most of it away. 
Here's an overall view of the scene as it looked Monday morning.This scene will require a LOT of background trees since the hillsides will be covered in trees with some rock outcroppings peaking through them. Next step is plaster cloth and installation of rock molds: