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1 room – 2 layoutsIn the last part of introducing me and my layout I’ll explain what my concept is. Because the upper level – Rockland branch of the MEC in 1954 – follows a considerably different design than the lower one – Portland Terminal Company in 1969.
Rockland branch design concept:
I follow the available plans, photos and further information as closely as feasible. For example: The track configuration in the new addition, the Rockland Terminal area, is almost 100 percent true. Whereas in the Rockland yard I took some liberties. Not all the turnouts are at the right place. But this segment evolved slowly over more than 23 years and when I started it, I didn’t even know that my goal eventually would be to follow the prototype!
After passing the Rockland roundhouse the track configuration becomes pure fantasy. I wanted to include bridges, bays, typical Maine fall scenes. There’s just one siding. No possibility for trains to meet though. It’s a straight run from Rockland yard to the staging area. About 10 metres – 30 feet – of train running. The reverse curve at the end of this scenic “adventure” is sticking out. Its right above my desk.
The staging area is hidden. 4 tracks in a cabinet of some sorts. This cabinet has two access doors so I can reach in, swap cars, make up trains for the next session. There were two passenger trains per day in the mid-fifties in each direction on the Rockland branch. (And please correct me should you have better or more information!) And I usually run 4 freight trains as well per day. But the real fun lies in switching Rockland – be it the yard or the terminal.
In the earlier version of my MEC, when Rockland Harbor still existed, there was a hidden connection between the east end of Rockland yard and the Harbor. With the harbor scene gone, there is just a short stub track that ends at the backdrop. Would I have a little more space this would change. It’d like to model all the traffic that ran into this part of Rockland. Even nowadays there’s still a rail connection to the harbor area.
Except for two all the turnouts are powered. Most of them with a tortoise by Circuitron motor. The turnouts in the staging area are not. They all are within easy access once you open cabinet door 1. The layout – both layouts – are run with DCC by Zimo.
PTW design concept:
The lower level is basically plywood central – an expression I picked up reading the american hobby press. It doesn’t even translate into german. “Sperrholz Zentral”? Versteht kein Mensch!
It’s all about switching. About breaking up and making trains. There are five fairly long staging tracks. Two of them stand for Rigby Yard (in South Portland), two of them for the Westbrook area. Track number 5 simulates what was known as “Yard 7” when the Portland Terminal Company was still in business.
These five tracks feed into a seven-track yard (Yard 8 in real life) where the consists are broken up, cars re-routed and new trains assembled. At the other end of Yard 8 is Wharf 1.
At Wharf 1 there are two tracks where clay delivered by ships was loaded into covered hoppers and then hauled to the paper companies. Because I had a lot of covered hoppers on my old version of the Rockland branch (all of them destined to go to the concrete factory in Thomaston) I needed a new reason for their existence. (It’s a bit shaky, my reasoning, but again: Should you have more information about Wharf 1 and covered hoppers on the PTW please fill me in!)
Yard 8 also serves Yard 2 which was basically Commercial Street in Portland, Maine – and the connection with the Canadian National. This connection on my layout is a long stretch of hidden track that eventually sees daylight again at the only segment with scenery: Commercial Street with all the bricks buildings. Street running! Waterfront! Car exchange with another railroad! I couldn’t resist.
It’s just a small yard where PTW and CN meet. And then it’s hidden track again to a small staging yard for the CN. It took me a while to come up with a track design for this CN yard but last December I finally found a solution which is visually pleasing, I think.
All the turnouts on the PTW are manually thrown. Since I model the PTW in the late sixties all my harvest yellow locos no longer suitable on the 1954 Rockland branch found a new home. And all my 50 feet boxcars too. Some locos I can use on either layout: Several GP7 in green and maroon. The two HH600 switchers, my S-1.
Can I guarantee this is the final version of my MEC? But of course! What makes you think differently???
This article first appeared on model-railroad-hobbyist.com
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