Brad Lebeck was given the task of producing the basic design for the new permanent layout. The area available was delineated by the need for an emergency egress from the clubhouse, five posts that support the roof and its heavy snow load and additional space for us to work on at least two Exhibition Layout modules. Brad polled the members for what they'd like to see in the new layout, and he's done a super job incorporating these 'asks' into the design.
- We were unanimous in wanting to model our local historical railway with Collingwood and it's harbour as the focal point.
- We are more concerned with just a 'representation' of our area rather than it being an exact replica: for example, 'selection compression' was very important since modeling just the tracks that ran through Collingwood, for example, would require that particular section on the layout to be over 160' long, but we had to condense it into about 30'.
- Most members agreed that the end of steam/1st-generation diesel is what we wanted to model for the public to see. This indicates the era to be in the 1950's, although there will be some exceptions, such as Reinhart Vinegars, which dates from the early 1960's.
- However, on club nights when the public isn't present, we want to operate anything we like. This is likely to be a mix of everything from late 19th-century steam to 21st-century diesels, with freight and passenger cars to match.
- The Meaford Sub-division of the Canadian National Railway (CN) was the obvious choice but we have some interest in re-creating at least a short section of the Hamilton Northwestern Railway which terminated in Collingwood.
- Track design was to be such that trains can be run either point-to-point or in a continuous loop.
- Season - summer, but the Blue Mountain section could be set in winter so that we can run a ski train.
- Collingwood harbour is an important focus with the grain elevator, shipyards and all the smaller businesses and sidings that go with a shipbuilding town.
- Passenger service is important to us as it was in the late 1950's.
- We wanted a multi-level layout with minimal grades, the lower level being between 42" and 48" and the upper level going up as high as 64".
- We strongly favour HO scale however we would not be opposed to having smaller scales somehow represented, such as the Scenic Caves train, in Z scale
- 28" - 31" radius is preferred on the mainline with #6 or #8 turnouts. Sidings can have smaller radius curves with #5 or #6 turnouts.
- We would like to have at least one turntable ... there were three on the prototype: in Allandale, Collingwood and Meaford ... and if possible, replicate the wye at Meaford.
With these parameters in mind, Brad developed this plan, which was unanimously accepted by the members.
For clarity, the main line is shown more heavily shaded. Trains start in Allandale, a suburb of Barrie, and run out of sight behind the low-relief scenery in Collingwood to emerge just before Stayner (bottom-left corner). From Stayner they progress to Collingwood. In Collingwood cars can be sent to the grain silos on the edge of Collingwood harbour or to the shipyards and associated industries on the other side of town. Because of design and space restrictions, Brad was forced to place the grain silo tracks facing the wrong way - in reality, trains coming from Stayner could steam straight in and trains from Thornbury had to back in.
About halfway between Collingwood and Thornbury is Craigleith, where the original station still stands. You can be sure the lilac bushes by the station will be in full bloom 24/365. The remains of probably our most famous shipwreck, cetainly the most visted by divers, is the "Mary Ward", which will be visible through the clear waters of Nottawasaga Bay.
Next stop is the town of Thornbury, where trains cross the Beaver River on a trestle bridge and again pass out of sight behind the low-relief buildings of Collingwood. But this time they're headed toward the helix, which has four loops and raises the track 16". When exiting the helix, trains travel in full view along the upper level of the layout to Meaford, which is situated above Allandale, and is the end of our our point-to-point operation.
The main line run, Allandale to Meaford, is about 310' long, or five scale miles, so a non-stop freight running at 40mph will take about seven-and-a-half minutes to get from one end of the track to the other.
If we want to run a continuous loop, such as when we have a number of visitors and can't watch our trains 100% of the time, we'll simply keep them on the lower level and run them from Stayner, through Collingwood, Craigleith and Thornbury then behind Collingwood and back to Stayner.
June 2020 ‐ All of the track is installed except for the turntable in Collingwood and its approach. These pictures show the grain elevator tracks, with the 730 foot 'Black Bay' laker unloading. Bill Hanke has chased the 'Black Bay' into the harbour. The 'water' is clear latex caulking, artfully sculpted by Barry Jack to emulate waves and whitecaps.
We decided to eliminate the turntable at Meaford because a) we have a wye, that can turn a complete train, not just the locomotive, and b) we needed the space for an additional spur to accomodate any cars that were delivering or picking up goods at the Freight House.