Not long after the foundation was poured and I received the truss drawings for the roof and attic space. The ideas of how to fill the space with the layout started. I was struggling with how to fit the railroad into the room. Not necessarily due to the length of the line, but because of the arrangement and a mental constraint.

For those not familiar with the arrangement of the line, a basic map is provided on the “About” page. One of the details shown on this map is the wye track arrangement at Bridgton. Bridgton was the Northern terminus as constructed in 1882-1883. When the extension to Harrison was added in 1898, a wye was laid at the Southern end of the Bridgton yard, curving Eastward to run along the shore of Long Lake to the village.

First ideas revolved around placing Bridgton Junction and Bridgton near the entry, but I was missing Harrison. With the addition of the village, my mental constraint was set in place. Wanting to recreate the railroad as accurately as possible, I subconsciously restricted myself to placing the wye on the East side of Bridgton, wrapping around the town and heading North.

1st Layout Sketch

Layout option constrained by proper Bridgton-Harrison track orientations. Created with on iPad with SketchBook Express.

The issues that arose were limited length out to Harrison and a need to place a duck-under or have the operating crew walk around the Harrison peninsula to access the back side of Bridgton. I could gain more length between Bridgton and Harrison by pushing the namesake down farther down the wall, but I would need to have a walkway on the backside of the Harrison extension to reach Bridgton, or place an access pocket around the town, with either duck-unders or lift up/out sections. These were not favorable options.

I could have had mirrored/flipped Bridgton, or the wye at the very least, to have it turn back against the wall, with the Bridgton yard becoming a dominate blister into the room. While this would have offered all around access to Bridgton, positioning of the main elements—Bridgton Junction, Hancock Pond, Bridgton and Harrison—would again be too close to each other for my preference. Adding a looping peninsula would gain length between elements, though at the cost of tight radii on the loop and continued difficult access to Bridgton.

Bridg in Mdl

Bridgton yard positioned mid-length. Created with on iPad with SketchBook Express.

Returning Bridgton to the entry corner, with rear-side access, and overcoming the mental constraint of requiring trackage to Harrison to follow real-world direction out of the wye, allowed the most likely configuration to materialize (top sketch in image below). Turning the Harrison extension “Southward” instead of “Northward” allows greater use of the room’s center volume, provides backside access to Bridgton, all-around access to Harrison and length between the elements.

2nd & 3rd Layout Sketches

Likely configuration of layout, top. Bridgton yard with looping lobe peninsula, bottom. Created with on iPad with SketchBook Express.

I am likely to retain a duck-under at the wye for those who wish to use it during operating sessions. I expect the yard team at Bridgton to be working both sides of the town, so there may not be a lot of need to inbound/outbound teams to need to pass under or around—time will tell. The other reason for retaining the duck-under is for safety. Should an emergency occur, the duck-under will provide an alternate way out of the Harrison pocket.