When NOT to add track…

Started work on a major scenery project, part of which will encompass a relatively deep portion of flat benchwork just “west” of the town of Laquin. As part of that, I have to decide how far should the mountainside come forward toward the track and aisle. (Overall trackplan here.)

My initial thought was to use that flat empty space and add an additional spur off the main track, heading west back toward the town of Wheelerville:

I have a couple of Walthers curved turnouts in the stash, and used them to sort it out visually:

One of my regular operators has a bunch of Fast Tracks jigs, including curved turnouts, so getting a turnout to fit here is not a problem. There is also room under the benchwork to place a switch machine, and room on the fascia for another turnout control, so those issues were not a consideration.

The main advantage of an additional spur would be the increased operational interest of an additional car spot or two that would need to be worked during an op session. Laquin in real life had a number of industries that I did not include on the model, due to space constraints and other factors, so putting a plausible industry here would not present an obstacle.

However, after thinking it over, I decided not to place another spur and industry here, for purely aesthetic reasons.

The layout design, as is, allows for a progression of sorts along the line from Wheelerville, down the valley to Laquin, and once the turn is made into that town, both the train and the operators are IN Laquin. There are sidings to be worked in town, but with a runaround track in the town proper, there is no need to go back out onto the main until the work is complete.

If the proposed spur was added, the crew would be working backward around the aisle corner toward Wheelerville if eastbound; or going around the corner working ahead and “returning” to Laquin if westbound.

This back-and-forth, I felt, would subconsciously break the feeling of “going somewhere” and progressing on a journey up and over the mountains during a session.

Some might believe I am overthinking this and making more of it than is there. Perhaps, but the late Frank Ellison thought that a model railroad is a stage, and the trains players upon it. If so, then the players must tell a story, of sorts, and I think we must take that into consideration at some level in order to have a truly successful model railroad. If an extra bit of track detracts from, rather than adds to the story, leave it out.

This leads to the question of what to put in this “negative space” scenically. I’ve thought about that too, and have a few ideas. Time will tell….


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