The rest of the world

I have been working on Port Rowan for several months now. Yesterday, we took a trip to the other end of the line.

My friend Chris Abbott (I should create a keyboard shortcut for that expression, I use it so much), dropped by after work. After suitable handwaving and head scratching, plus a hot cup of tea, we nipped over to the local builders supply store and picked up a 4’x8′ sheet of 3/4″ MDF from which to create the sector plate staging system for the layout.

The lumber yard made two cuts for us – creating a 2′ x 8′ piece, a 1’x8′ piece, and a leftover length. At home, we trimmed these to fit my space. The 2’x8′ was cut down to 7′ and became the deck, while the 1’x8′ was cut to approximately 6′-6″ and will become the movable sector plate.

Some basic carpentry later, and we had everything mounted and level:

The rest of the world: a start on the sector plate.

The track is S scale flex track, set in place to help visualize how the finished sector plate will look. I may end up hand-laying the sector plate trackage, as I have elsewhere. Also in this photo, at left, is a rectangle of MDF that will become a fold-down extension for the deck, plus a 4″x18″ piece of MDF that will become a removable cassette for turning steam engines. This will plug into the end of any of the four tracks on the plate. Unplug it, turn it end for end, and reconnect: voilà, the locomotive is turned.

A screen of trees will hide the sector plate from St. Williams – seen in the distance in the photo.

This sector plate will give me plenty of storage for the layout – holding 32 40-foot freight cars. But I will most likely use it to stage three trains with a clear track for engine escape moves.

Each train will provide sufficient operating fun on my sleepy branch line before friends and I retire to the pub or grab dinner. As an example, this S scale rendition of the Port Rowan Mixed M233 – a.k.a. The Daily Effort – features a 10-wheeler, three carloads for spotting in St. Williams and Port Rowan, a boxcar in less than carload lot (LCL) service, a baggage mail car, and a combine:

What fits: a train mocked up on the sector plate.

It’s nice to see how the full layout will come together. I can see an end in sight to the track-laying – and a start to running trains!

1 thought on “The rest of the world

  1. Hi Trevor:

    I like your idea of a sector plate for staging. I have a small switching layout, here in Kingston, occupying three walls in my furnace room. One wall about 6 feet is set aside for staging to the “outside world”, and, after reading through your blog, this seems to be the solution for me. The other two walls are 12 and 16 feet respectively and roughly 22 inches in depth. It’s a very simple system with enough operating potential to keep two operators happy for an hour or two. The main focal point will be the “Brewery Spur”. It’s small regional brewery, loosely based on the Yeungling Brewery in Port Carbon, PA.

    Enjoy your blog!


    Michael Pasch

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