I make no secret my interest in the Claremont & Concord Railway. While I
enjoy love learning about the railway through its entire history my interests in it as muse for a model railway usually remain cemented in the LaValley era, in the 90’s, and that story of moving road salt from Claremont Junction up to Mulberry Street to unload it two cars at a time behind their smart little 44 tonners makes my heart flutter. Recently I sketched out a layout based that wandered into town and looked at how the railway served Coy Paper.These are my notes on that plan.
That’s a drawing Scott Whitney included in his November 1993 article on the railway and was published in Railroad Model Craftsman. The switchback down to Coy from Main Street was sharply curved and steeply graded. Though more than one car could be placed at Coy the crew could only take them one at a time up and down that hill.
- Green highlight is the mainline connecting this part of the railway to the rest of the C&C
- The railway ends here (blue). That runaround track was only two cars long in real life.
- The track up to the loading dock was very sharp. Larger and heavier cars couldn’t be placed on spot at Coy so were placed across the street on a short siding I’ve highlighted in red.
That plan would be a completely satisfying layout that would be great fun to build but, right now, my space doesn’t work that way. I have a long thin shelf not a nifty little square room. Naturally, my fleeting mood swung from enthusiasm to dismay – i just couldn’t see how to make this work so I took my ball and went home.
What I was failing to do was to dissect the operation at Coy Paper into its component parts, breaking the dance down into its moves, and by doing that I actually discovered a way to translate the same operation from what it was into a space that I had. Not only do I like the plan, I really like the drawing I created and think I’m likely writing this article to share the drawing itself more than any allusion to a model railway I might or might not build.
My shelf is eight feet long. This plan is in HO.
My staging represents the connection to the real world and the turnout on the east end of the two car runaround loop.
Cars are fed into the scene, oh frig here we go again, one car at a time.
The loop in the model and in the scene two cars long. While the real headshunt was only one car length I’ve extended it one more car length and this extra space is where I’d place those larger, modern cars, for unloading. This layout lives in our living room so is a display too. Leaving one modern boxcar on spot here and a highway trailer breaking the siding at Coy would be a cool way to display the layout between operating sessions.
I reversed the siding down to Coy and flattened its grade. Even though the layout doesn’t force me into one car at a time we both know I like that story so I’d still work this track into Coy the same way.
I’d build Coy’s loading dock in full detail but the main building itself in a solid, undetailed block. The scene needs this building to provide purpose to the layout but it’s going to be a very thin “flat”. I find that these style of model buildings look awkward when rendered in full detail when their delicate model bricks touch the sky.
Between the road and the Coy loading dock I’d provide a parking area. The kind of parking lot that is is fast burying the railroad in dirt, gravel, and evolution. It tells a story of highway trailers and how things are changing.
In real life the modern cars couldn’t be placed at Coy’s loading dock because the track prevented it. In the model, it’s this tiny bridge over that canal. “Canal” implies something much grander than this is. Though this didn’t exist in the real world I like the way this obstruction creates a reason why we have to off-spot larger cars – even though it’s barely fifteen feet across this channel there’s no way its ancient girders will even consider bearing that weight. Eventually, the C&C will no longer be able to serve Coy with obsolete cars so this bridge is a part of a moment of foreshadowing.
The stream does not pierce the fascia – that’s the other reason the road bridge also crosses the canal. I like the way the canal creates story and a partial break in the scene itself. On a shelf layout I feel the fascia should be unbroken and in this scene the uniform projection of the fascia provides continuity between one end of the scene and the other.
With work complete at Coy, there’s a moment to head into Pete’s store for a Coke. In the layout Pete’s is the only structure I’d model correctly – fully detailed. That “house” exists in real life too but it’s a flat on the model. Unlike Coy the end wall that’s in the scene is a gable end that could be rendered in full detail but since the depth of the scene isn’t so far I’d be tempted to model it in 3mm scale – there’s a row of trees and undergrowth breaking the line of sight from trains to backgroup that might help with the illusion of a smaller scale model and I’d paint it in muted colours that almost meld together so the result is an impressionist approach to detail.
The two turnouts in the model and the three in the prototype, on Main Street, are all trolley-style single point turnouts. That’s going to be fun. I love building track but I haven’t built trolley turnouts since my days of N scale traction.
To help place this model, links to two key photos that are scenes from the model:
“Claremont & Concord #18 eases a single box car down the steep grade into Coy Paper to perform a setout.”
“Here we see conductor Bruce Davidson normalling switch point for Coy Paper siding at west end of short run around track at end of track. Siding to Coy Paper is behind photographer. Tank car is out of Coy Paper. This trackage was part of the former Claremont Electric Railway that connected with the B&M at Claremont.”
Categories: Claremont & Concord, model railway design
The Claremont & Concord RR is fascinating and it’s a pleasure to read Chris’ design here. I am also exploring it for a possible O scale microlayout. For others who may be interested, it has its own Facebook group which is rich in photo resources as well as being curated by the genial Bruce Davidson himself. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1134404916637091/
I have recently been lucky to acquire a workworn Rich Yoder GE 44 tonner in flame red, the ideal motive power. There are multiple possible locations to inspire a microlayout, Coy Paper being just one.
That Rich Yoder 44 sounds like the ideal find. I see Williams sell a new 44 tonner (not to be confused with the old Lionel one). It sure looks like the new model could have its wheels replaced easily to run on scale track.
That Facebook group is so completely enjoyable and I’m a member. I love reading through past posts – the quality of conversation is remarkable.
Stop giving me excuses for a GE 44t!
I love this – a prototype I’d not heard of, again, and a scheme with a lot of promise.
My only comment, I’d skew the canal so that it can go off scene behind some trees… adding some thing that isn’t parallel to;the layout front edge is also a good idea… it might be possible to skew the paper siding forward to just a touch which may allow a slightly thicker building.
This needs to be built though Chris!
I’m always happy to invite you to discover more reasons to own a 44 tonner.
My shelf is a maximum twelve inches deep. Subtracting even a minimum depth for each the road (just needs the edge not a full width lane) and that track leaves less room. Plus the canal is very narrow. I envision its design a lot like determining the right amount of white space between lines if type – just enough space to let the ink breathe. While the centreline of the canal is perpendicular to the fascia I could soften that hard right line by teasing back the banks on either side to deliver a similar effect.
Speaking of 44 tonners note those in service on PEI, serving the gypsum operations here in Nova Scotia, and wasn’t there one in use in Wales? Joining other American built diesels like Alcos at Port Talbot: https://www.philt.org.uk/Industrial/PT/i-vkC5C2P/A
Hi! You have given this a great deal of thought and planning. Most admirable. Have you considered doing it in N scale instead? Might be a way to model the prototype exactly as it is, within the space you have.
Being a native N scaler my design thinking is most comfortable in that scale and gauge. However, I’m not sure this plan works in N. It’s true that N automatically adds more space and most of all more context to the scene however my interest in the C&C is more intimate and up close. If this becomes a model railway I’m hoping to use a larger scale so operations are more about watching how it operates up close.
Top plan, top post and love the background. Love the detail in the thinking. Certainly would be interesting in 3mm. Go onnn goooo on goooo ooon
This is the other of the two main plans for my space. In both cases I’m excited because they’re both ones I can “see” which is a different test than perhaps drawing to simply explore an idea.
So many memories here! When I was working there, I knew it was special, but I guess I did not at that time realize HOW special. Winter was a challenge, but the warmer months were magical. Thank you for your interest in this special little railroad. I love your plan. If you need help with photos and details, let me know.
My gosh I’m thrilled to see your comment here. Thank you for your help so far. I love reading your posts in the Claremont & Concord Facebook group. Your memories and fondness for the railway are infectious.
I feel like I have so many questions and I’m looking forward to composing and sharing them.
Thank you again for your help.
Someone shared some pictures, including the one from railpictures you linked in this post, elsewhere. And now I think I need to build some part of this in N scale, quite possibly including the Coy mill.
It would be a huge pile of fun in N. Not just for how well the whole mill could be built in a reasonable space but the way the route from downtown Claremont to Coy could be represented and really showcase the sight of the little train making its way along the streets and through the grass. Sounds wonderful!