But I'm getting ahead of myself. In my last post, I hinted at the head start I got on my latest expansion during my last ops session. While Tom took over the agent's duties, I got out my machete and started hacking my way through the primeval forest, clearing the way to Old Saybrook. Here's what the landscape looked like when the surveyors arrived...
Given the, um, "terrain" a number of changes would be necessary to accommodate the Shore Line mainline as well as the Old Saybrook station area & wye (not to mention a new staging track for the Air Line):
- The doorway would need to be moved left as far as possible;
- I'd need to cut a huge proscenium (I'd never even heard that term until recently) in the main wall - essentially a large picture window, looking out at the basement's foundation wall;
- Add supporting benchwork;
- Cut not one, not two, but three holes in different walls in addition to the proscenium (just love using that word)
As usual, the photos tell the story best . . .
|Tom, Dick & |
|Whew! Here's the proscenium all cut out and the doorway area cleared. That "line" across the wall is actually the top of the section of wall I removed with Tom's help. Compare this view to the pic at the top of the post.|
|Another view of the proscenium, with a 1x4 installed as a "window sill" (ties together the tops of the lopped-off studs) and a 2x4 attached to the foundation wall to support the back of the benchwork that'll go here.|
|Once the benchwork was completed, I put it in place to level it all up, side to side and front to back.|
|This is the other side of "west end" wall, showing the cutout for the Shore Line from New Haven, represented here by a return loop. The Air Line will come off the module (right end of the pic) and head through the hole in the corner. That section of the Air Line will be a generic "Middlefield area" farm scene, with a team track and a cider mill. The Shore Line return loop will be hidden under that scenery.|
This expansion has really fired my motivation to complete the rest of the railroad: Old Saybrook and Middletown to East Haddam, and New London to Old Saybrook (including a large staging yard). I was going to wait until I got some scenery completed in Wethersfield - and that's still a priority and the "to-do" for an upcoming work session - but I'm eager to complete at least the benchwork and track for the Big Plan so that I can start operating sessions incorporating all the trains (and crew members!) I'd planned: not only the Valley and Air Line locals, but the two Shore Line locals, as well as some mainline freight and passenger trains (gotta have someplace for my DL-109s, PAs, I-4 & I-5 to run!).
Continued progress will have to go on a brief hiatus while I do a remodel in our living room (part of the justification for all the tools/skills I've acquired while model railroading is that I can use those tools/skills elsewhere in the house), but with motivation this high I've already put together a very aggressive work schedule, and I expect I'll be back to work on The Valley Line by next week!
(PS: If you're in the Wethersfield, CT area this Saturday morning, I'll be doing a show following the prototype Valley Local in the late 1940s, using photos from John Wallace and research I've gathered over my time doing this project. Also, if you're interested in actually riding the Valley Line, the Valley Railroad/Essex Steam Train will be running trains this weekend to view eagles!)