(A reader asks if progress in St. Williams makes me less likely to change the track arrangement. Click on the image to read more about this favourite train-photographing spot, and to assess the progress made here over the past two years)
Following a recent post on the above location on my layout, reader Craig Townsend asked:
You’ve mentioned in the past about possibility redoing St. Williams to better replicate the prototype, so does looking at the progress you’ve made hinder or help your decision to keep St. Williams the way it is?
It’s a great question – thanks for asking!
It’s true, I’ve pondered this a lot, including a couple of times in previous blog postings. A big driver behind this train of thought was the discovery of this photo of the Hammond Mill in St. Williams, shared by my friend Monte Reeves:
And I definitely would like to model this mill and all the adjacent structures more accurately – someday. But I’m still not sure re-building this portion of the layout would be a good idea.
To recap, here’s a drawing of the St. Williams portion of the layout, as built:
And here’s a quick drawing of St. Williams in the same space, but more accurately representing the prototype:
In pondering these two designs, I have determined that reworking St. Williams to be more faithful to the prototype would require some changes that I’m not willing to make:
– I would have to lose the Stone Church Road overpass – a scene I really enjoy – because it would interfere with the Hammond Mill, the mill spur, and the Queen Street level crossing.
– I would have to bump out the benchwork to accommodate the mill, which would affect my ability to maintain (and enjoy) the track through the east end of the Lynn Valley scene – which starts immediately to the west of Stone Church Road.
– I would have to move the station to the aisle side of the track, so that it would be viewed from the back. Since the only picture I have of this station is taken from the front and since this is the image that inspired me to model this station, I’m not prepared to lose that view on the layout.
There are several alternatives, of course. I could flip the station/team track portion 180 degrees, so that the station was to the left of the team track, and the first scene a train encounters upon leaving the sector plate. Or I could flip the entire St. Williams scene end for end – so that I’d build the “correct” track arrangement, but trains heading to Port Rowan would encounter the mill before arriving at the station.
I’m still pondering these ideas.
Meantime, I don’t have to do anything: I have a lot of projects to work on to finish the layout, including some big structure projects – specifically, the station and Leedham’s Mill in Port Rowan. I can do those, and then revisit the Hammond Mill / St. Williams question.
As for the original question – does the progress I’ve made make me more or less likely to redo this area? – the answer is that it doesn’t affect the decision either way. I will continue to ponder the prototype and my space, and if I come up with a satisfying arrangement that is closer to reality, I’ll gladly tear out the St. Williams that I’ve built (but I’ll finish those Port Rowan structures first).
Having built the St. Williams scene that I have, I know I could do it again, if desired. And of course I can save and re-use the structures, trees, fences, telegraph poles and other elements that have gone into this scene.
In fact, I’m sure I’d do an even better job on a second attempt, because I’ve learned things while building St. Williams the first time around.
But that’s in the future. In the meantime, I can enjoy the scene as-built…