Thursday, December 5, 2019

Arranging roads and buildings in the Junction Scene

I spent some time playing around with building road/arrangements in the junction scene last night. While the scene is inspired by the crossing of the St. Johnsbury & Lake Champlain and Central Vermont in Sheldon Junction, Vermont, the buildings shown are all placeholders. And while I have some information and photos of the prototype buildings that were there, I don't really have enough to build accurate models so I think this scene is going to feature some sort of placeholders for a long time. 
Frankly, that doesn't concern me as the entire scene is fairly compressed and rearranged from the prototype - so the goal is to create something plausible that is appealing to look at. The overall photos show how things look. The depot, itself a stand-in, isn't a model of the Sheldon Jct. depot but is at least a "standard"" CV design. 
There are three spurs in the scene: 
One (the spur dead-ending at the edge of the layout in the background) is the St. J interchange track. This is hardly a high-density interchange, and will basically be a weed covered track. 
The second served a creamery (the white building in the distance)  
The creamery is an old Branchline laser kit that I have left over from the old layout (it actually goes back further than that). It's a creamery, I need a creamery there, so that's an easy one!
Two down, one to go. 
This is where it gets tricky. 
The third spur served at various times, a team track, feedmill, and a fertilizer plant.

I tried a finished kit for a cabinet making factory. It looks okay, but although a neat building in its own right, it really doesn't look "Vermont," at least to me. (Feel free to tell me I'm wrong!) 

The second building I tried is the low red building. This is certainly a Vermont building - as it's based on one of the buildings in a baseball bat and ski-manufacturing company in Waterbury (for a photo of the prototype structure see HERE. For even more detail on the Derby & Ball Co. click HERE.  
I'm strongly leaning toward the red building, perhaps with the addition of a shed or some such to actually serve as a warehouse or lumber storage building. 
The final possibility, and one I might chose based on expediency, is to add a gravel/dirt parking area and declare the spur to be a team track. 

Road Widths
The next thing I did was try to lay out the road(s) on the scene. Eventually there's going to be a large three-span bridge to the right - the road will serve as a logical transition point between the "junction" and the "bridge" portions of the scene. Besides, there was a road running across the branch between the junction proper and the bridge.... 

Someone on the one of the Facebook groups I follow asked a question about road widths as I was playing with the road arrangement so I took a couple of photos. Thought they might be of interest here. 
I lay out the shape of the road using some half strips of cork roadbed since it bends easily and I happened to have it on hand. The first photo (left) shows the road (between the inner edges of the cork) at 22 scale feet. It's not bad - but might make for some hair-raising episodes, especially on a moonless night! It's also going to look really narrow if you include shoulders, drainage etc.. on the sides of the road. 
The second photo shows the road at 26 feet - for the sake of 3/8" or so of additional width I think it looks much better and is what I would consider minimum for a two-lane country road. 

Some thoughts on road width before I step off the soapbox - 

1. You can de-emphasize how narrow roads are by avoiding placing vehicles next to one another in the traffic lanes (like in the photos here). 
2. City streets, especially in older towns in the eastern U.S., are often narrower than country roads - but don't make them too narrow. Main Street in Enosburg Falls, Vermont, hardly a city, is about 60 feet wide. Photos of old Vermont towns often show cars parked at an angle to the curb, two or three lanes, and more cars parked at an angle on the opposite curb. I've never seen this on a model railroad... 
3. Casual visitors - and even other model railroaders - may not know a thing about locomotives, freight cars, operations, and the like but I guarantee they will recognize a treacherous road when they see it!


Geof Smith said...

Marty, what will come next? Ground goop for the terrain, or putting in the roads first?

CVSNE said...

Hi Geof,

I don't use ground goop, so obviously that won't come next.

I'll likely put in the terrain base next. Foamboard for fairly level ground that isn't tree covered, florist foam for forested areas, and perhaps some areas of Sculptamold where I need to create some minor undulation in the terrain.
With that done I'll carve the basic road shape into the foam.

Rob said...

Regarding road widths, I've measured a couple of older roads here in central NJ, and they are 18 feet wide. This is tight with larger pickup trucks and their even wider trailers, but probably worked when they were first laid out. I wouldn't suggest this width for a primary road, but for the old, often gravel (or macadamized) country roads, I think one can use this width. A width of about 22 feet (3 actual inches in HO) looks to me to be about right for a primary rural road.

Unknown said...

Marty a good source for info on the sheldon area would be the sheldon historical society they are in the process of getting set up in a new building and they have many pictures of the area. go to their facebook page they should have what you need there.