Monday, December 17, 2012

The Younger Generation

Much talk has been in the model press lately about the future of model railroading and how we should get the younger generation involved. Our six-year-old granddaughter, Jessica, has been interested in the railroad since she was about two years old. Recently, she completed her first kit. It was not too difficult and she had some help but she is very proud of "Jessica's Pet Shop." I'm not quite sure where it will end up on the S&C but it should be somewhere. Will this lead her into the hobby of railroading? Who knows? All you can do, though, is expose them to the hobby and see what happens. It will be interesting to see what her interest is when she is tall enough to actually see the trains.

By the way, she's run the trains before and is very careful. Her only fault would be going a bit too slow which is hard to do on a railroad with 15 mph speed limit!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oakdale Manufacturing Works

Another Oakdale industry has been completed, the Oakdale Manufacturing Works. This was a prototype business located in that city during the late 1800s. They built wagons, carriages, buggies and farm implements according to their ad in the Stockton & Copperopolis Railroad Guide published in 1885. This was a throw-away guide telling a bit about the communities through which the railroad passed and, more importantly, carrying ads for local businesses.

I have not not found any photographs of the prototype so I took inspiration for my structure from Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. The Richart Wagon shop is a small building preserved there which seemed ideal for the railroad. In the 1800s, horse-drawn vehicles were easy to build and did not require much in the way of specialized equipment so many small towns had their own shops. The Oakdale Works and Richart were both of this pattern. The long sloping ramp is typical of many wagon shops. It was used to maneuver the finished carriages down to street level. Unlike one might expect, individual parts were made on the first floor and the final assembly and finishing done on the second. This puzzled me for a bit until someone explained that, if the woodworking was on the second floor, sawdust would always be floating down on the freshly-painted carriages drying on the first floor.

My model was built of styrene following the Richart dimensions. Shingles were from Minuteman Scale Models. Since this was to be a source of revenue for the S&C, I built a small loading ramp which will be located next to the tracks. Right now, I am not quite sure where the Works will end up. It was originally planned to be at the south end of Oakdale adjacent to the gas works but there may not be enough room there. I'll have to finish the gas plant and see if both can be squeezed into that space or if things will need to be rearranged.

I also have to build up some wagons and carriages. After all, a factory needs some evidence of the product produced.