Monday, October 28, 2013

Modeling Monday: Layout Tour - Wethersfield

Usually for "Modeling Monday" I'll be highlighting particular models I've built, but considering I just posted the trackplan, I figured it'd be fun to show modeling on a "macro" scale.  So, for the next few days (so as not to bog down you or your computer with too much at once) I'll be touring the layout as it was as of October 27, 2013.  If you want to follow along on the trackplan, we'll be starting in Wethersfield and heading south to Middletown.  Then from "New Haven" through Somerset & Mill Hollow to Middletown.

First stop: Wethersfield

Here's the Sanborn map to help orient you (as always, you can click on the image to "embiggen"):

In this early view, the siding to Ballantine's hasn't been built yet, but you see where Rt. 15 crosses over ("steel & conc bridge"), Jordan Lane & Wethersfield Lumber
Rt. 15 overpass (stand-in mockup) that hides the hole in the backdrop.  The train is heading northbound "under" the bridge.  Switch to Ballantine's Beer Distributors in the foreground.
Overview of north end of Wethersfield.  Rt. 15 in the background, reefers on Ballantine's siding, and GN boxcar at Wethersfield lumber, Jordan Lane will run between the ends of the sidings.  I don't have ANY photos of either Ballantine's or the lumber co.  So if you have - or know where I can get - some, please let me know.

Overview of Wethersfield looking south.  Wethersfield lumber in right foreground, house track off mainline to left, bulk track and Gra-Rock bottlers beyond (and Valley Coal in far background).  Up til the 1930s, there had been a long passing track here.  Following the Sanborn map of the area, I included it - then John Wallace informed me that it was gone by 1947.  Consequently, I ripped out the passing track and built additional support for the new bulk track.  The extra work to make it prototypically/era accurate was worth it.
 Here's the Sanborn map of the station area:

Note long passing siding, station, Church St., Gra-Rock

Wethersfield station area: Station to the right & Gra-Rock (stand-in photo mockup) to the left.  Church Street runs (will run) between.  You can also see one of the "scene setting" photos on the fascia (subject of a previous post).  Both buildings still exist.
 Finally, here's the Sanborn for Wells Rd., where Valley Coal once did business:

Valley Coal, including office.  Wells Rd to the south.

Valley Coal, just north of Wells Road.  The photo/mockup/stand-in works particularly well here, being almost the right scale (and it's the only known photo of this industry).

Overview of Wethersfield looking north
I'm very glad I was able to model Wethersfield so faithfully.  The only major compromise was that I had to fairly severely compress the linear run between Wethersfield Lumber and the station.  On the prototype, they're seperated by about a mile, but here the turnouts actually overlap.  But that's the art - and challenge - of prototype modeling.  Sometimes it's much more impressionist than photorealistic.  However, if you do it well, what's missing isn't missed.

The ultimate test is when somebody familiar with the area recognizes it as such.  My effort here passed John Wallace's scrutiny.  He grew up in the area and lives there still.  But having such a resource so close can be a double-edged sword.  After I "completed" Wethersfield the first time, he noted the passing siding was long gone by 1947.  So, to be as accurate as possible, out it came and up went some more benchwork & track (re)arranging.

Of course, the other critical test is that the layout owner/artist is satisfied with the result.  I have to say, I'm pretty happy with how it came out.  Especially after I made the modifications based on John's recollections.  That siding (the bulk track) that swings way out from the station, looks just like that in real life.  Having that feature replicated on my railroad goes a long way to making Wethersfield as realistic as possible, at least to my eye.

Whattaya think?

Next stop - Rocky Hill/Dividend...

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