Sharp eyes will recognize this scene as Old Saybrook (aka Saybrook Junction) and was taken in June, 1939, according to the notes on the photo. Despite the degradation in the sky, it's an amazing photograph - made all the more impressive by the fact that it could only have been shot by climbing to the top of the signal bridge that spanned the 4 main tracks.
Of course, what makes it most wonderful for my purposes - since I plan to model this scene as closely as possible - is all the "modelgenic" stuff you can see in it (which you can see even better if you click on it to enlarge). Here's what I noticed:
- FAR fewer trees than you see here nowadays (which means I won't have to make so many trees).
- Freight cars left spotted on Track 7. FYI, from left to right, the parallel tracks are #7, #5, #1, #2; Track 6 is the "balloon track" that goes behind the station, track 8 - the bulk track - ends just behind the parked automobiles, and track 10 is the house track. Best guess is that the cars left on track 7 are either being left by PDX-1 for PDX-2, or vice-versa (these were the two locals - one each way - that worked the towns between Cedar Hill Yard/New Haven and New London, CT).
- Speaking of track 7, neither it nor track 5 have much in the way of ballast (especially compared to mainline tracks 1 & 2) - which supports the hypothesis that these two tracks were used primarily for swapping cars between the local freights. I'd love to hear other thoughts/hypotheses on this (or any other details about operations here).
- Fresh - or at least clean - paint on all of the structures. And a general tidy appearance, despite the Depression and looming war in Europe (of course, labor was much cheaper then).
- Passenger platform canopy (removed in later years, but still around in my era of 1947).
- The Chapman Co. (coal-coke-oil), which in my era is on the house track to the left/east of the freight house, is not yet there in 1939.
- There's a loading dock at the end of the bulk track (track 8) - likely the location of automobile offloads (as seen here).
- A cool fence - built from scrap rail - separating the balloon track (track 6) from the parking lot.
- Small building/shanty next to the water tower (perhaps a pump house?).
- The rods from the interlocking tower are not yet covered by a wood walkway/platform as they would be in later years. But it appears that construction for the covering has been started.
- And just to the left of the rodding, a nice "hairpin" style fence to separate the RR ROW from the cemetery.
Whew! the list above is just scratching the surface - there's a LOT to see in this photo! And it's All So Modelgenic. I just hope my skills are up to the challenge of recreating this scene in HO scale. Thankfully, I have some pretty talented folks helping me out.