Port Rowan section house (or, “Pick me!” “No, pick me!” “No, pick ME!”)

One of the smallest structures on the layout is proving to be one of the most difficult.

The railway had a section house in Port Rowan – a small structure up near the yard throat to hold tools and materials for track workers. It also had space for a handcar, so workers could move along the line and get to where track needed attention.

I have a few prototype photos of the section house, but they only show three of the four sides. From these, I’ve figured out that the roofline drops lower on one side than the other as can be seen in this picture of my mockup:

Port Rowan section house

So far, so good.

But while talking with my friend Pierre Oliver, he pointed out that the fourth side features something more complex than a shed roof. We think there’s another roofline – probably a dormer – on this elusive side:

Port Rowan section house - prototype photo

The question is, what’s it look like? I’ve created three mockups of the section house…

Port Rowan section house - alternatives

… and I’m still not happy.

The one at the left is my first attempt, based on the above prototype photo as well as another picture, showing the wall opposite that suggests the complex roofline continues across the entire un-photographed side. This mockup doesn’t ring true for me. The roof seems excessively elaborate for a section house and the relatively shallow pitch of the roof reminds me more of a suburban bungalow than a railway structure.

At right, I’ve created a mockup with no dormer. This looks more like a railroad structure – except why would the railway build a structure with a wall at one end that’s only 4.5′ high? I’m pretty confident of that measurement. Yet storing things in that crawlspace would be a real pain – literally, in the head, probably caused by a roofing nail.

The mockup in the middle is a compromise. I’ve built a smaller, offset dormer with a roof pitch identical to the pitch of the main roof. I’ve also experimented with creating a change in the pitch of the main roof to suggest a higher end wall next to the dormer – perhaps a coal bin, since other photos of the section house clearly show a brick chimney.

For now, this is the mockup that I’m using:

Port Rowan section house - compromise mock up

The jury remains out on this one… but the exercise demonstrates the value of building mockups before committing to plastic or wood.

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