Welcome to Vernon River in 1:64… wait, what?

Over the past six months or so, while the blog hasn’t been particularly active, and I have not had as much time as I’d like to physically sit down and build, I have been quite active in terms of layout planning. When I say layout planning, I mean more so figuring out the future for Vernon River and my modelling interest in PEI in general.

Something that never wavers for me is my interest in island railroading, and if I’m being honest, I really don’t have much interest in railroading be it historically or in the modelling world unless it’s PEI-related.

Something that I have determined through many long nights of research over the years, is that I have two very distinct eras and locations of interest for modelling PEI.

These eras and locations can be described as follows:

  • PEI’s transition era. 1947 – 1952ish. Eastern PEI. Small GE switchers (44 and 70 Ton), 36′ wooden freight cars, mixed passenger trains, riveted tank cars. That sort of thing.
  • PEI’s twilight years. 1980-1989. Western PEI. RSC-14s, modern equipment, abandoned stations, everything runs as an extra, three-car trains with two locomotives and a PSC van. That drift.

What I have realized, through conversations with others and my own research is that these two described eras of interest are vastly different. And as different as they are, fundamentally, they are better represented by different scales due to the availability of model equipment, and in my opinion best represented by different approaches to modelling in general.

What I’ve decided, by the availability of equipment, is that I can better represent my transition era prototype of Vernon River if I simply backdate my era ten years from 1957/58 to 1947/48 and move from a 1:87 scale to a 1:64 scale. A 70 Tonner becomes a 44 Tonner. There are now more wooden cars than steel cars. Not much else changes. The larger size will allow me to enjoy my modules in more detail, and provide a more accurate experience. Of course, compression will need to occur in the track plan, but not much.

What else I have decided is that Vernon River will remain a set of 1:64 modules, and nothing more. I will be able to set up these modules where I currently live, as well as take them to shows to show off. But I don’t intend to expand Vernon River into a full-size layout anymore.

As a house looks more and more within the realm of possibility, I have had to take time to really consider what a long term layout will look like, and what I will do for a full-size operational basement layout. For when that time comes, I’ve decided I will move back to 1:87 scale, where I can best represent PEI with equipment suited for the 1980s. I have pre-ordered seven Rapido RSC-14s in anticipation of this, some of which are custom numbered, for a full complement of the PEI assigned units of 1750-1756.

In summary, I have determined the best ways to represent PEI in a model format using the space I have access to, and in terms of equipment availability. My dedication to modelling and researching PEI railroading knows no set scale, and will always follow the best path to an accurate representation of history.

CM

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