Summer Evening and the ML401

Summer Evening and the ML401
Conrail ML401 rolls west through Central New York farm country in Onondaga County, September 1994.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Scenery & Close Clearances

Model railroaders always need more space.  I do, anyway.  Even where there seems to be plenty of space, we always squeeze in as much as we can, and Onondaga Yard is no exception.  Most of the Onondaga Cutoff will be built with narrower scenes than at Onondaga Yard, where I have almost 30" of space to work with between the front the fascia and the backdrop.   All that space is used by trackage in an effort to maximize capacity and efficiency at the yard itself.

This caused a bit of a challenge regarding scenery at the closest spot.  I want to model a wooded hillside behind the yard, based on what the scenery at Ram's Gulch looks like south of Syracuse where the railroad would run.   But cars were brushing against my test areas - even basic foliage requires more space than I allowed myself!  I decided a good solution would be to have a retaining wall at the tightest spot, modeled quickly from sheet styrene.

As you can see, after painting the styrene to represent aged concrete, and tracing some construction joints along the painted surface with a fine permanent marker, I simply glued the wall to the backdrop.  In the photo above I have started to fill in trees around the 'wall' which allows the hillside to look complete even where I did not have space for the trees.  Tracks here are, from right to left, the North Runner, and Park Yard tracks 4, 3, 2, and 1.  The painted backdrop above will soon be filled with foliage.  Here's a tighter view from track level:

The yard is without ballast or other details until the backdrop is complete.  Scenery is a messy process, and I want to avoid having to repair spills or damage on the ballast and track while working on the backdrop.  Here is a view west towards the Yard Office.

Finally, a quick shot from the aisle looking across the yard towards the backdrop.  Once this is filled with foliage, and then accented with the more finely-detailed 'super trees,' this scene will start to pop like the scene at CP 282 does now.  Then I can ballast the yard, add the access road and miscellaneous details, and step back to enjoy the view of long trains passing before moving on to the engine house scene!


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