The preliminary scenery work at the end of the Port Rowan peninsula is now dry enough to return the building mockups to the layout, so here are a couple of updated photos of the area.
In this image, the first view a visitor sees of the layout, the automobile at lower right sits on the future site of a driveway for the first of the houses on Chestnut Street. The mill, the garage, and the station can also be seen:
A short work extra has arrived at the station. Curiously, it’s not being pulled by a 10-wheeler…
… but don’t add water, because it’s made of artist board.
I enjoy structure building, although I don’t engage in the type of structure building that wins craftsman structure contests. But when I need a break from other aspects of the hobby, structures are a favourite.
That’s especially true of the planning/proof-of-concept stage. This involves no wood, styrene or glue – just artist board, a knife, a ruler, tape and so on. I almost always build a cardboard mockup of structures first, so I can confirm roof angles, overall placement on the layout and other things that are easier to fix before one starts cutting and gluing styrene or wood.
It was hot outside yesterday so I went to ground in a cool part of the house, with tools, materials, photographs, notes and a supply of adult beverages, and created mockups of almost all the structures for my model of Port Rowan. It may be helpful to have a copy of the Canadian National track map and my layout plan handy while you look at the photos:
Here’s an overview of my Port Rowan, taken from the end of the peninsula looking over the roof of the two buildings that make up the feed mill. The Daily Effort has arrived at the station, and for some reason there’s a freight on the team track. I’ve mocked up the barn located next to the team track and, behind the feed mill at left, a rather substantial structure labelled as a garage.
If we were to travel down Bay Street – at the end of the peninsula – towards the backdrop and then look up the driveway towards the station, this is what we’d see. We’re looking into the L of the station at this point. The L-shaped main building has extensions at each end, and there’s a shed tucked into the L. The feed mill is in the foreground at left.
If we were to walk to the station, then cross the tracks and look back at the feed mill, this is what we’d see. The mill consists of two buildings, each with extensions or additions. The locomotive is stopped next to a coal bin extension at the mill. To the right of the trackside mill building is the office for the mill – which appears to have been the railway’s freight house at one time. In that role, it would’ve been next to the station but was moved to the feed mill’s site. In the foreground is that garage again.
Here’s another look at the barn mockup next to the team track. Doing the mockup was essential for getting the roofline right on this structure. The best prototype photo I have of it is from the Keith Sirman collection, taken from the station platform.
Here’s another view of the garage mockup. It can be seen in the prototype photo below, but I have another view in a book that shows large sliding doors on the front of the structure, in the open position, so that’s how I mocked it up. I’ll have to do a detailed interior since it’s right at the front of the layout.
I’ve taken several images of the feed mill and the Port Rowan station. Click on each thumbnail for a larger version.
Port Rowan Station
I need to give a special shout-out to my friend Mike Livingston. Mike provided many of the critical dimensions for both the station and the two buildings in the feed mill. He also photographed the feed mill earlier this year, with a measuring stick posed in each photo, which was invaluable when creating the mockups. And his photography expedition was timely, as the trackside structure was in the process of being demolished when he visited. It’s gone now – but thanks to Mike’s timely work I’ll be able to model it.
I think I’ve captured the size and proportions of each structure. But the great thing about mockups is that if I haven’t, I can make adjustments quickly and cheaply.
The last mockup to do for Port Rowan is the railway section house. Then I can mockup the depot, coal shed, tobacco kilns and other structures for St. Williams. Then I’ll have to start building the structures for real.
One of the great things about doing this blog is that I’m being introduced to people I might not otherwise have met. Dick Otto is one such person.
Dick lives in Connecticut. As a kid, he visited Port Rowan (and nearby Port Dover) and took pictures of the trains that called there. He’s been kind enough to share some photos with me, which will help greatly in my layout-building effort.
Today’s treat from Dick is this colour photo of the Port Rowan station. Dick took this in the summer of 1965 and it’s obvious that the train no longer calls here. (Thanks, Dick, for allowing me to share this on my blog.)
This is the track side of the station. As can be seen on the railway’s plan of the yard, the structure is L-shaped with a small outbuilding in the L.
(Right-click on the image to open a larger version in a separate window)
It may be hard to see online but there are a few dimensions on the drawing that help size the station. The short leg of the L is 59 feet long, while the width of the building is about 22 feet. Based on these measurements, I estimate the track side of the structure at about 80 feet.
There are several first-hand accounts from people who remember the station in Down By The Bay, a history of Long Point and Port Rowan published in 2000.
One contributor to that book, Lynn Cairns, is the grand-daughter of WG Livingston, the station agent in Port Rowan until 1935. Her description of the station includes the agent’s office in the bay window, a waiting room and baggage area, and a freight room. A door led from the agent’s office into the living quarters, which included a combined living/dining room and a parlour. Cairns describes the station as…
… a gloomy building, dark walls and lit only by kerosene lamps as there was no electricity, also no indoor plumbing.
Gloomy building or not, it will be an impressive model.