Monday, July 29, 2013

The Evolution of a Mill Town - Everett


This overview shows Everett in its mocked-up glory. The Green Mountain paper complex dominates the town, as it should. Although Curren Mills, on the right, is also a large customer.
With the "open country" scenery well in hand (I installed the barn in the peninsula scene last week) I've been spending some time thinking through what the Everett scene should ultimately look like.

As a reminder, "Everett" is a fictional place - but it serves as important purpose on the model railroad providing a place for one or two large "destination" industries. In other words, industries that require a dedicated turn to switch them out each shift.
But what should this imaginary place called "Everett" LOOK like? For those who know the prototype, imagine it to be something like Bellows Falls, St Johnsbury, or Bennington moved north of White River Junction along the CV ..... something like that.

Sometimes inspiration comes from an unexpected source. This Mike Pearsall painting showed up on another forum and provided much of the inspiration for the Everett scene.
But I hadn't come up with a real inspiration for the scene - what I think it might look like. Then I ran across this Mike Pearsall painting on another forum - and it's what I think of when I picture the Everett scene. No, I don't plan to model this painting exactly - but the general impression - a medium-sized city, mountains in the background - a street busy enough to require crossing guards but not so busy that the railroad or state have gone to the expense of lowering or raising the street to cross the tracks - residences on the hillside.
Everett is based on a mishmash of inspirations from various New England locations. It’s also inspired by model railroad scenes – anyone familiar with Paul Dolkos’ B&M layout can spot the origin of the paper mill complex; and there’s a series of New England “triple decker” tenements, complete with laundry drying on the line, that could have been dropped from Dick Elwell’s or Earl Smallshaw’s railroads.

“Tweaks” –there always seem to be some!
The first problem was the track arrangement wasn’t exactly working. Both spurs in the foreground (one planned to go to a team track or freight house, the other to a feed mill) came off the main. Basically there were three turnouts in a row coming off the mainline and it just didn’t look right. It also meant there was little if any room for the passenger station platform since there were sidings along the entire length of the main.
So I rearranged the siding to create a switchback from the feedmill track and lengthened the feedmill track. You can see that in the top photo. While this will make the area a little more difficult to switch the tradeoff is a much better scene. Once the altered track was wired and working I spent the rest of the evening playing around with various buildings in the foreground – a freight house, a small factory, etc. All interfered with reaching the turnouts and tracks leading the paper mill complex in the rear. What I needed in the foreground was a very low industry that wouldn’t impede someone reaching into the scene. So I got out the foam excavation tools and dug out enough of the pink foam to create an area for a sand/gravel dealers supply yard. The trestle is an American Model Builder’s laser kit.

American Model Builder's coal trestle kit. This will be a stone and gravel dealer supply yard.
Once the track was rearranged I spent some time yesterday afternoon arranging and rearranging various kit walls, boxes, tubes, partially and completely finished structures and other "shapes" as a type of 3-D sketching. It's getting close.
Green Mountain Paper Co. complex. Chemical yard in center, "old mill" to the left with the "new" warehouse to the right.
I think the Sylvan station building, which dates back to SNE #1 in Wisconsin, may be a little too small for a place that's turning out to be much bigger place than I first envisioned so that station may be replaced with the one from the South River Cambridge crossing kit.
Green Mountain Paper to the far left. Curren Mill complex (named after my late friend and co-worked Art Curren) in the center. The Sylvan station, which has served on every layout I've built since my first Southern New England may be a little too small for a town this size.
Anyone familiar with the CV in Bellows Falls will recognize the “brick canyon” effect. I’m not sure those mockups aren’t just a little too big, but they present a nice contrast the extremely rural scenery found on the rest of the railroad. 


  1. John Blatherwick built a scene many years ago similar to what you are planning. It was a mix of Bellows Falls and Brattleboro, Vermont. He modeled the tall backs of the down town buildings backing on the CV by the bridge in Brattleboto and the tunnel area of Bellows Falls. He called it BrattleFalls. It was really neat to see if you have ever visited the prototype locations...wish I took photos...George

  2. George, I'd love to see photos of Brattle Falls (love the name) if you ever come across any! Better than the "other" nickname for Bellows Falls, namely "Fellows Balls!!"
    One edit - for some reason when listing the towns that inspired this scene I typed "Bennington" when I really meant "Brattleboro."