In the comments to my previous post about the snow plow, reader Craig Townsend asked:
How are you going to justify having a plow on the layout in August?
That’s an excellent question, Craig – thanks for asking – and it deserves a better answer than, “See Rule 1″*.
In fact, there are two possible answers.
The first is, I can’t justify it. There’s no reason a plow would be in Port Rowan in August, unless there was a nearby plowing match and the railway was being a bit cheeky. (Unlikely.)
However, my primary reasons for building this plow are that it’s a cool, old-style craftsman kit… and that I like MoW equipment (which is why I’ve kit bashed a speeder and acquired a Burro crane). I’m enjoying building this just for the sake of building it – and I may run it in a work train on my layout (repositioning the plow) just to watch it sweep past:
The plow may spend most of its time slumbering in my excess stock storage drawers during regular operating sessions with visitors.
The second possible answer is that while I’ve picked a season to represent on the layout, I may adjust the operating patterns to match the season in the real world.
In the spring, I’d run MoW trains to patch up the roadbed after a harsh winter. I would love to build a Jordan spreader for this – and already have a prototype in mind: A CNR model very similar to this one, which I like because it does not have a cab. (The late Ron Keith – also known as “The Plow Man” – built such a model from photographs of CNR 51069, which appears in an article on his work in CN Lines V16-3)
In the summer, an extra passenger car may be added to the mixed to handle vacationers headed to Long Point.
In the fall, I’d run an extra train collecting reefers full of produce.
And so on.
Under this scenario, running a work extra in late fall and early spring to position the plow in case of storms and retrieve it at the end of the season makes sense. It can rest at the end of the team track over the winter, ready to go into service should the need arise.
I haven’t decided whether I’ll run a seasonal schedule. I will have to determine whether it’s warranted and what changes I could make to the operating sessions to represent such seasonal activity. But it’s one way to add some variety to the operating sessions.
(*Rule 1: “It’s my layout.” This is often invoked by people to justify things that are hard to justify. It’s a fine rule, but I feel it needs to be invoked with extreme caution.)