The focal point of the layout will be SWANDALE. These two images show the scene mocked up. (Compare this track arrangement with the one shown in the older track plan drawing above.) All the major structures are in the prototypically correct location relative to each other and to the track. There is a separate siding for the expanded stacks of drying lumber, one for the company store and the coaling track for the logging engines. In these regards, this rendition of Swandale is larger and more accurate than the one on the prior layout and offers more operations.
PROTOTYPE INSPIRATION - Here are some of the photos that provided the inspiration for the new Swandale scene. Photos of Swandale after 1960 are scarce but these show some of the features to be included on the layout. By now the log pond had been drained and logs were simply piled on the dry bed of the old pond. Logs were moved around by a mechanical front loader barely visible in the b/w photo (below), the only photo of the loader I've seen. Chips were loaded into hoppers via a conveyor. The coaling track for the logging engines was still in service. There were still massive piles of drying lumber and the engine house was now enclosed. Company houses were still in use. All these features will be modeled.
Photos of the period after the mine closed in December 1963 are really scarce. This is one of my favorites of the few taken after the mine closed. It shows the chip hoppers being loaded and box cars (including a wagon top) being spotted for finished lumber. The engine will return to Dundon tender-first.
Benchwork is now complete and 1 1/2" foam and Homasote are installed. Cork roadbed is being laid (right photo).
The track plan is clearly visible in this photo of the scene. It was a big advantage to have the structures from the old layout available to optimize their arrangement and the track plan simultaneously.