In designing a micro layout I find one of the hidden challenges is determining a setting for the layout. Since square footage to develop scenic or similar features can be in short supply it can be hard to inject a signature piece that easily conveys to a viewer just what you are modelling.
I find operations on the western end of the Murray Harbour Subdivision fascinating and I enjoy dreaming up ways to replicate it here at home. Of the whole subdivision, my imagination is most captivated by the westernmost ten miles from Lake Verde Junction to Mount Herbert. Layout design is something I really enjoy and I’ve spent a lot of time daydreaming about ways to distill this ten mile length of track into the four square feet of layout I am contemplating building.
The above is based on a 1958 aerial photograph of Lake Verde Junction. I’ve traced out the track locations in red and added in some notes to help orient the photograph. West of the Junction was Mount Albion, Hazelbrook, and the end of track at Mount Herbert. Eastward to Murray Harbour. North to Maple Hill. At Maple Hill this line connection with the line to Georgetown and both continued west to Mount Stewart and ultimately the rest of Canada. South to Millview and Vernon Bridge. During the potato harvest CN could store empty cars at places like Lake Verde’s storage track for later distribution to nearby public sidings. Lake Verde also hosted a short public siding of it’s own where a local farmer could load cars. All interchange comes from Maple Hill and concentrates here at the Junction.
I’ve been toying with the idea of segmenting out pieces of the junction that will fit into the space I have. I’ve highlighted two of them in blue on the photograph. I wanted to share two ideas here and both based on the Inglenook design philosophy. Click on the link below to learn more about the Inglenook idea and it’s basic, two turnout, approach to micro layouts:
An operating session starts with a train on the line from Maple Hill to Murray Harbour. Local cars are spotted on the Public Siding. In real life the line continues down the centre line onto the wye to Vernon Bridge or Mount Albion. Since I don’t have room for the wye, let alone enough track to get the other locations into the space I figured I could spot cars “on the main” here that represent loads for these two locations. This centre track might be the most interesting. I might divide it into spots based on the order of towns to the west of the layout’s location. Where cars on the Public Siding are placed “en masse”, cars on the centre track are spotted in order.
I like the idea of segments of the junction. In this plan I’m including the Storage Track, the line to Mount Albion and a tiny piece of the wye to Vernon Bridge. I can pull cars from the Storage track to feed the other two sidings representing cars ordered for Mount Albion, Hazelbrook, Mount Stewart on the centre track or Millview and Vernon Bridge on the bottom track. As in Option A, cars on the sidings need to be spotted in “town” locations which adds a little more sorting fun. In many ways this is actually quite close to how the actual Junction operated and that feels neat. Further interest here from the road crossing and demands placed on safely occupying the crossing.
None of this makes the space bigger but it feels like a neat way to focus on how the Junction operated and bringing an piece of that into our home. It feels like replicating a prototype location and moving cars and trains prototypically. Perhaps it’s all in my head and that’s okay too.