This isn’t a public service announcement or a promotional stunt, but more like how binging Allagash content on Model Railroad Hobbyist (MRH) and Trainmasters TV has inspired me. Bottom line up front, the inspiration has me changing from modeling the Chicago & Northwestern – Marshline Subdivision and going back to the Mascoutin Valley Railroad.
So why change? Well there are a few of reasons. The first reason is one of the same reasons Mike C. moved from his Woodsville Terminal to the Allagash. There wasn’t enough operation to satisfy the element of big-time railroading. The Chicago and Northwestern Marshline Sub was interesting, it had decrepit track work, and it had quirky branch line operations, however it didn’t satisfy my need to move big time freight across a system. By moving back to the Mascoutin Valley I can scratch the itch of having mainline trains move across a system and add in that operation that I want. The Marshline was just a branch and even in its hay-day didn’t have a lot of mainline traffic.
The second reason I’m switching back to the Mascoutin Valley Railroad is I’ve come down with a serious case of “analysis paralysis.” By claiming to be a “proto-type” modeler it was agonizing having to pick and choose what elements I would leave off my model railroad. Constantly answering questions like…Should I include this scene, or that industry, do I model this town at all??? Could I do the Marshline justice by leaving out big chunks of the railroad? Throw in the mix of “outside help” and it really made for a confusing and discouraging situation. After two years of research and analysis all I had to show for my model railroad was an incomplete 4-foot section of a free-mo module. Not really what I’d call progress. By moving back to the Mascoutin Valley gives me the creative license to do as I see fit and portray my version of reality on a model railroad. It also is allowing me to make progress! For example, I already have some of the benchwork up! Which is vast improvement over the 4-foot module.
There have been lessons learned by attempting to model the Marshline. For example, attention to “proto-type” details. I can still have proto-type elements in my modeling like an ex C&NW locomotive on my roster, complete with all the details from its previous owner before it came to the Mascoutin Valley. Another example is adding details to things like track work or structures. Enhancing my scenes on the model railroad and giving my Mascoutin Valley credibility…like it was a real railroad in Wisconsin in the 1980s!
The Marshline was by no ways a success. It was however, a great research project where I learned a great deal about the branch line that rolled behind my childhood home. It also taught me what I wanted out of a layout vs. what I did not want. So we’re welcoming back a old friend the Mascoutin Valley Railroad. I feel pretty good about making the transition back. I know for one that I will make far more progress on this layout that I did the Marshline. The two years spent on the Marshline comes to a close…its time to dust off the Mascoutin Valley equipment and get them ready for service!