The basic inglenook design concept is very widely known among the small layout crowd and I’ve enjoyed seeing the many variations in settings and themes they assume. Given my small space, my most successful plans typical distill into a variation that is essentially just an inglenook plan and that’s okay with me.
I try to keep pencil and paper close at hand so I can sketch and I was thinking about this variation today.
The main industry served here is a downtown dairy at the end of a branch of a street railway. The Montreal and Southern Counties Railway did a terrific business carrying milk into Montreal from surrounding farms and I had that in mind when drawing this. I picture suspending wire over the whole lot and the locomotive switching this is a little steeplecab electric. The M&SC had a fleet of purpose-built milk trailers which would be fun to build models of. Most of the trackage is buried along Prince Street in this plan, including the two turnouts. The only exposed trackwork is that adjacent to the dairy itself and that likely would be buried in dirt.
I picture most of the operations of the layout involve cars loaded with milk churns arriving in the scene and needing to be exchanged for cars now light. Two of the sidings are marked for loading and unloading on either side of the dairy itself while the third is used to store cars and, more importantly, be the place where extra cars are exchanged. Not only would this layout support the typically fun operations built into the basic inglenook concept but I think that there are some other fun challenges borne out of a layout that is running in traffic, in the street. All switching movements need to be carefully planned to make sure pedestrians, horses and cars are all out of the way and the crew on the ground flagging this operation take on roles as important, if not more, than the engineer. Since we’re working in traction territory on a line with pole-equipped steeplecabs we’ll also need to be keeping an eye on the pole itself to make sure it’s tracking properly when we’re back-poling and pushing it.
The streets are lined with a selection of stores and you could easily borrow from the Magnuson Models or Design Preservation Models lines of structures. While many of the dairies I’ve seen as kits are wood sheathed buildings, I’d really prefer this structure to be a tribute to fine Art Deco design and be constructed of cast concrete. The layout is designed to be viewed and operated only from the front and I like hiding a pair of cars behind the dairy in that narrow alleyway.
The big issue I have with this plan is how trains actually get into the scene. Inbound trains will be shoving their cars ahead of the engine. I can’t imagine this being a terribly pleasurable experience for the crew and I wondered about fitting in a small run-around siding so that the train could arrive and be turned in the scene.