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 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:
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!