A small shelf layout and packing it away

Last night I shared my sketch and ideas for a TTn3.5 layout based on the Prince Edward Island Railway and it’s operations at Midgell. This morning my mind is occasionally driifting back into how I would actually build it. I’m proud of the idea to make the wharf on a hinged section of baseboard on which I’d build the wharf. In fact I’d probably make this piece first and then build the rest of the layout around it. On both ends of the layout I would need a fiddle yard in which to stage trains entering or exiting the station.

As I mentioned, for the next little while, space to build a layout in our house is limited but I do have a place where I could store a layout. The conditions of the space are:
– no more than five feet in length
– no more than fourteen inches in depth
– no more than a total of twelve inches in height
The finished layout and all of it’s fixtures must fit into that cube. Midgell is a fairly shallow space and I tend to wonder if I need to consider a box in which I could “stack” each layout element.

I wanted to put together a post this morning to encourage some of you who read this blog to share your suggestions for how to cram a layout into this space. As for layout concept, what I’ve shared regarding Midgell nicely encapulates what I want. I want to build a layout using TTn3.5 and feel it best balances my love of building models in scale large enough to actually enjoy building those models yet still small enough that I can fit in a space that communicates a spaciousness. The time period for the Midgell idea is the winter of 1916 and that’s about as late a time period as I’d like to consider. I think the MIdgell idea is just about perfect for me so my other suggestion for feedback is to ask for your thoughts on how best to take advantage of this space and what construction methods I should be trying to explore to make the most of this space. What’s the best method to build a box to store these four pieces: Two fiddle yard sections, one layout including the fourth element, the hinged wharf.

What do you think? Let me know.

Categories: TTn3


7 replies

  1. Chris…. If its a shallow layout (height-wise, you may want to consider a foam core board cover or diorama style overhead. I was thinking os similar to how “Brooklyn 3AM is made from. IF you make an enclosed diorama in this fashion, it wouln’t take much more to cover it com-pletely for storage or transportation

    • That’s a great idea for setting the layout. I have built a couple of shadow box style layouts in the past and really liked the approach. Considering my interest in setting my layout in early winter this would really help reinforce the scene.

  2. Where are you planning on modeling, right at the Midgell River?

    • Good morning. As Steve notes in his excellent comment the area is near the river. The aerial photos really show off the area well.

      I’d like to start with this scene but then work west toward Morell to fit in the neat swing bridge.

  3. Hi, Taylor:

    The mussel mud wharf was located here:


    As you can see, it’s midway between the Midgell and Marie bridges:


    Here is an air photo from 1935- the wharf is visible at the upper right:

    By 1935, the railway was now standard gauge, and the wharf and spur were abandoned. If you zoom right in by the wharf you’ll see either a barge or the dredge beached beside the wharf. I would suggest it’s a barge, as the dredge- unless its design was too specialized- would have been transferred to duty dredging out harbours and channels once the mud industry collapsed.

    While mussel mud is a rich fertilizer, the shells cause scabbing of the potatoes, and the digging operations stir up considerable silt, wreaking havoc with the live populations of shellfish. Its environmental implications would prevent any major resurgence of the industry.

    Years after the practice of hauling mussel mud ended, we would find large numbers of shells (oyster and quahog mostly, the softer clams, mussels, snails, etc had long since dissolved) whenever we dug holes on our land in Orwell Cove.

    This is an interesting PEI industry and would make a very nice layout!

    Steve Hunter

  4. Chris, if you need any photos of the right of way or anything else in the Morell/ Midgell area let me know, as I do some fly fishing right there under the Midgell railroad bridge.

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