It has been over three weeks since my last post, a big gap considering my goal of three posts a month that I set for this year. Model railroading didn't stop during that time. I traveled to Pittsburgh for four days for the MCR 2023 convention: Rails to Pittsburgh, an enjoyable experience on several levels. I tackled many of the "next steps" I listed for working on the new east staging module. Perhaps not as successfully, I attempted several approaches to "an organizational framework for my big picture next steps" mentioned in my last post. I tried brainstorming some SMART goal ideas as one approach. I also researched a graphic organizer, in this case a "concept map." I spent some time with both of these approaches reviewing and/or learning about them and coming up with a draft for each. Since neither really accomplished what I was hoping for (a richer, more concise, and perhaps visual overview) I won't spend more time here beyond noting that I provided a link to an overview for each. I did end up updating my initial rationale for the 4th Subdivision which I will include below.
|Mt. Baker from highway approaching Ferndale, Washington|
The 4th Subdivision of the Cascade Division of the Great Northern Railway is set in Whatcom County of Washington State in September of 1954. The branch line travels approximately thirty-five miles through a mix of prototype and freelanced locations from the Strait of Georgia north of Bellingham into the Cascade Mountains. While based somewhat on the actual 3rd Subdivision that traveled from Anacortes to Rockport in Skagit County, the 4th Subdivision is my creation. Running east from the fictional harbor town of Port Gulick, it incorporates part of what was the Bellingham and Northern Railroad (in real life, it became a landlocked branch of the Milwaukee Road) and interchanges with the real GN mainline near Ferndale and the real Northern Pacific line near Nooksack or Everson, crossing branches of the Nooksack River several times. Around the midpoint of the line it transitions from farmland and forest into more rugged foothills of the Cascades. Two fictional towns, Chikamin (Chinook for metal) and Greenrock, still have more than just a legacy of mining and logging in the early 1950s. While the Birch Bay & Cascades logging lines still bring out logs and have trackage rights over thee 4th Subdivision, the copper vein near Greenrock is just about played out, but a major silica sand source is still very active there.
In designing the 4th Subdivision I tried to build on an awareness of my interests and goals. Coming to model railroading with an interest in history and art, I hope to capture the atmosphere, mood, and theme of that time and place by approaching the 4th Subdivision as a three dimensional painting. I also have an interest in the model railroad having some operational flexibility, whether taking a "fun for one" approach or having the potential of holding a small operating session for a small group as a possibility.
In building the 4th Subdivision I am taking the TOMA, or one section at a time approach, starting with the town of Nooksack, a connected scenery module, and temporary staging on either end. The Nooksack modules are ones that I started in Meadville and moved while one of the staging sections is a completely new module. With TOMA, one builds a section to completion including scenery, structures, rolling stock, and operations before moving on to additional sections.
Moving past this need for an overview, I am likely to explore the steps I have already taken to complete the new east staging in an upcoming post. Another likely post will explore an approach to completing a scene presented in a clinic that I attended in Pittsburgh and how I might use it on the new module.