One of the perils of having time on one's hands is the potential for thinking about one's options.
In my case, the wait for starting a new layout, in part imposed by bunion surgery, allows me to consider further options for what I want to recreate.
The last plan I thought about was limited to only 2 towns and lots of main line in between. Certainly an achievable layout and allows me to present the things I want to present and model. But something was lacking.
The Ontario Wabash operation was rather unique in Canada and I really want to showcase the Red Balls more than the 2 town option would have. And Steve Lucas' commentary on options got me thinking.
Why not include St Thomas?
It's a modest yard. It's principle operational function was to serve as a crew change point and an originating point for locals and mixed trains.
I'm fortunate in that I have a friend in London who will be able to tell me which tracks were used for which purpose. Such as which one is the caboose track. Where was the combine stored when not in use, etc.
In the era I model, 1951, through trains would stop in St Thomas and have the crews changed, which entailed a caboose swap, while motive power would not be swapped. The actual mechanics of the caboose swaps is interesting, as the process was greatly different for the east bound vs the west bound trains.
The west bound trains would stop about 1/2 a mile east of the station, once they were clear of the CPR diamond. The power would cut-off and run into the yard and there the crews would swap and the power would run back and re-connect to it's train. While this was going on, Tilly, the little 42 tonner, would hustle a caboose out for the new conductor.
All of which would make for interesting operations.
So I'm strongly inclined right now to include St Thomas in the new layout. The wye will not be part of it. And possibly the roundhouse may be faked, as it's not integral to what I'm trying to present. We shall see how much space this all requires before the big choices are made.
But I will be able to create scenes like this.