Over the past few months, I've commented about building some small sheds for the layout. Nothing particularly fancy, just some simple, four-sided buildings that could serve as storage, watchman's shanties, crossing gate guards and the like. So when we were at Horseshoe Curve earlier this summer, the watchman's building there caught my eye as a potential scratchbuild structure. I won't call this solidly built rock structure a shanty; it is far more substantial than that.
In reading about the Curve, I learned that the building actually served two purposes: first, there were sides of three mountains that the track cut into so this allowed the railroad to have a man there to monitor rock slides and the like. But I also learned that the park was such a popular attraction that the railroad felt it was necessary to have a person there to look after the safety of the railfans who came from all over to watch long & heavy trains powered by Pennsy's best steam engines battle the 8% curved grade of Horseshoe Curve. Pictures from a much earlier time show railfans literally at trackside watching the engines dig in against the slope of the track & weight of the train behind them.
I already had a sheet of roofing material in my stack of stuff along with a sheet of embossed stone material. The windows look like standard 4-over-4s; some Tichy ones will look just fine. From my vantage point at the park, I could see three of the four sides of the building... so that left the question; what does the door look like?
Well, that should be simple enough... I dug out some books that had Pennsy railroad pictures in them; surely there would be a photo of the front side of the Horseshoe Curve watchman's building. The books didn't help so I solicited the help of my friend Mike who is a Pennsy modeler... surely he would have a photo. Nope. Now what?
The Internet to the rescue! There is a modeler on the NKP group whose email address implies thta he is a Pennsylvania Railroad modeler at heart so I dropped him an email asking if he had a photo of the door side of the building. No, but he would pass my request on to some of his friends and a couple of PRR groups and see if an answer would come up. Sure enough...
About a day after he made the post, he forwarded an email to me from Bill Lane, an avid Pennsy modeler in S scale. It seems that Bill had gone to a modeling event by train around Horseshoe Curve and snapped the above picture of the park AND the door side of the building. So now I'm all set although the little curved vent on the rooftop will present a slight challenge; I have enough trouble with straight roof lines let alone curved ones. But as the picture clearly shows, the door appears to have a (now covered) glass window on the top half with two indented wooden panels on the bottom half. Again, Tichy makes a door like this so the whole project is "in the works" now that I have enough information to proceed.
The Internet is a great tool for the sharing of information that was heretofor not easily accessible if not available at all. That, combined with people's willingness to share has helped us all in many areas of our lives... including model railroading. Doin't be surprised if you see a post in the future of my version of the watchman's building at Horseshoe Curve...