Sunday, March 31, 2019

Un-Doing the Re-Doing of the Re-Do of The Branch...

So, because at least now that I know what I'm doing with the tracks in my West Yard, but also am fixated on attacking my New Jersey Turnpike bridge "problem"/backdrop treatment (please visit my FB group for info on that), I ALSO decided to revisit my previously re-built Edgewater Branch - 

Ya see, I recently bought and read the thought-provoking book by Lance Mindheim, titled "Model Railroading As Art" (which is available from Amazon by clicking on the title), and realized that, among the MANY "design principles" he puts forth, that I didn't have enough of what he calls "negative space". I knew that upon my rebuild of the branch, that I OVER did things - I added WAY too much track that didn't exist, not because I needed to, but because "I could", and because it "looked cool"..... This was a simple branch, built alongside the Morris Canal, as evidenced here - 

And I really wanted to keep that scenic element in place, even though by the 1950's, the ditch that was the canal, was long gone. But ever since the very first version of this layout in my parent's house in the 1990's, I wanted to have a bit of an abandoned canal prism (I have a slight Morris Canal obsession, unrelated to the railroad), and with all this track, there was no room whatsoever to model that. But in reality, it was just way too much track to have! I had installed three passing sidings, and they weren't separated by a few cars lengths, mind you, but by no more than one turnout each! Not only would a real railroad probably not do that (it would have been double tracked with maybe a crossover mid way to divide the long siding instead), but it just wasn't like that in the real world, EVER! (and I have the Val Map of the branch to prove it!). Henceforth, the need for "negative space"....

So, today, instead of finishing other track projects that I've already started, I ripped up my branch and "de-industrialized" it -

Well, in actuality, I didn't loose any industries, I just "rationalized" the physical plant to not only be less cluttered, but simple and rather forlorn, just like the real thing probably was by the 1950's. Now, if the local has need of running around cars, it has to do it in the yard before it runs down the branch, or go all the way to the end of the branch to run around its cars. Crews will need to plan things out, rather than just grab everything at one time and go and have the luxury of a mid-branch runaround. I think it's much more realistic, and it certainly more realistic to essence of the real branch, which didn't have nearly as many industries on it in 1950 as I decided to model it (three of the six currently on the branch). One last thing I DID add that I thought would be helpful (and to be honest, it was an attempt to get another industry in), was to add what is essentially a switching lead/team track/"for later" track - 

It's that left hand stub track seen in the distance above, just past the pole,and adjacent to the Monmouth St Team Track "module".

In the above company map, said track is labeled "West End Coal Yard" and appears to be double-ended siding (which is why I did what I did to begin with), but like I said, it was just TOO MUCH TRACK after everything was said and done! I estimate this branch to have been about 2-3 miles in length, and seeing as that I have only about 12 feet to play with, allowances had to be made.

In the end, this was all easy to pick up and un-do, as no track feeders have been re-installed yet, and just a few pins to pull out that were holding all the track in place. I suppose that I'll be spending some nights this week in the basement as I find the time, putting it all back together......

So, hopefully I will be able to stay focused and make some more leaps of progress before the bank account stops any further Westbound expansion!

Until next time,


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