It took longer than I had planned, but I have finished building the structure of the N-scale Cedar Key freight depot. Detailing of the building will come later. The visible structure of the depot from the floor/loading platform up is 20 lb. paper or 67 lb. cardstock. The floor, walls and roof shingles, and the small window by the office door, were printed from files in the Clever Models Texture Collection Vol. 1. The other windows and doors were printed from files for the Wright's General Repair Shop model in the Clever Models Waterfront Collection. The trim boards are individual boards cut from printouts of siding, and darkened with a brown felt tip pen.
As mentioned in a prior post, the freight depot appeared to have a covered loading platform running the length of the building adjacent to the open platform. I have not found a photo of that side of the building, and have invented the set of openings used in the model. There is a photo that shows a solid wall adjacent to the ramp from the open platform to the general dock. I added a wall to separate the covered loading platform from the warehouse and office areas. with several freight doors.
The model is braced with wood strips. Nine inch long pieces of cardstock are, after all, quite flexible. Wood strips were added around the tops of the walls. As the siding on three of the sides of the depot extended below the level of the floor, a wood strip was added to the bottom of the long wall to hold that wall at the correct height. Wood strips were also added to the sections between doors of the wall between the covered loading platform and the warehouse to counter the tendency of the sections to curl up. A brace was added across the middle of the structure to counter the tendency of the long walls to bow.
The roof was braced with cardstock to maintain a consistent shape. The cardstock forming the roof warped a lot, but almost all of the warping was removed by holding the roof tightly onto the walls until the glue had dried.
The freight depot, like the rest of the Cedar Key terminal, stood on wooden pilings. The floor and loading platform of the freight depot sat higher than the dock, on a level with freight car floors. I used 1/8 inch dowels for the pilings, and 1/16 inch square strip wood for the beams. The pilings under the freight depot are 1 3/16 inch long, while the pilings under the dock will be 1 inch. I assembled sets of pilings for the under-structure of the freight depot using a jig I made.
A rail spur ran along the side of the fright depot, also on pilings, and open on the opposite side. I made sets of 1 inch long pilings to support the track that would be attached to the main under-structure..
I then added the spur supports to the depot under-structure. I made 13 of these assemblies. One assembly was modified to accommodate the lower end of a ramp from the loading platform to the dock.
The floor of the depot and loading platform is 1/16 inch sheet wood, covered with N-scale 8 inch wood planking from Clever Models printed on 20 lb. paper. The notch in one corner is where the ramp will go.
The assembled under-structure is 4 inches wide and just under 9 1/2 inches long. I miscalculated how far out the track needed to be from the edge of the loading platform, so I added a 1/8 inch square wood strip along the outside with supporting 7/8 inch long pilings. This had the benefit of looking more like the prototype.
I will build the freight depot in my next post.
The structure I am calling the "freight depot" was a major part of the terminal dock complex. It was about 30 feet wide and 120 feet long. It had an open platform along one side of the depot next to the railroad siding. This platform extended about 60 feet beyond the end of the depot at one end. This arrangement would have accommodated six 30-foot cars or four 40-foot cars. The platform and floor of the depot were raised above the surrounding dock to the level freight car floors.
I have found one or two photographs of this structure. The first photo is of one end of the depot. This view is consistent with the lithograph. It shows the curved trestle carrying the rail line to the dock from Way Key, the spur running along one side of the depot, and a fairly narrow section of the dock along the other side. An unusual feature is the large opening on the left side of the end. The lithograph shows a similar opening at the far end, indicating that a covered platform ran the length of the structure parallel to the open platform along the spur. A ramp leading to the open platform can be seen between the structure and the box car on the spur.
A highly compressed model of the depot that appears to be based on this photo is on display at the Cedar Key Historical Society Museum. The museum model includes what appear to be waiting passengers, but the lithograph indicates that the passenger depot was located on Way Key.
I believe that another photo also shows this structure, although at another time. It shows one side of the structure, as well as the end. The second photo differs from the first in a couple of particulars. The board-and-batten siding in the first photo is not evident in the second one. The first photo shows a double personnel door, or possibly a freight door, on the right side, while the second photo shows a single door and a window. The second photo shows just three windows near the west end of the side of the structure, while the lithograph shows a couple of freight doors and several windows along the length of that side. However, the distinctive large opening on the left side of the end of the structure looks like it is the same structure, and the length of the structure is consistent with that depicted in the lithograph.
I am relying on a photo of another structure at the Cedar Key Terminal for details of the freight platform and spur. This structure is adjacent to the trestle from Way Key, and is visible at the extreme left of the first photo above of the freight depot.
I will cover the constructions of the underpinning for the freight depot, including the loading platform and adjacent spur trestle, in my next post.
My model of the Cedar Key Terminal will only approximate the original. Although I intend to model some structures as accurately as I can, my track plan departs from the original arrangement, and I have little or no information on the appearance of most structures. What I do intend to do is model wooden structures typical of the late 19th century on wooden docks and trestles. I wanted to test some of my ideas for the layout before tackling any large docks or structures. I will have to scratch-build and/or freelance most of the buildings. I will also have to scratch-build all of the docks. I therefore chose to assemble a small section of dock and place a small structure on it to test my ideas.
I first saw the lithograph above some 45 years ago at the state museum in Cedar Key, Florida. I thought it would be neat to model. I did not have the skills to do so then, and for many years did not find time to work on it. Now that I am retired and have a little experience building models, I am finally going to tackle it.
The railroad came to Cedar Key in 1861. The Florida Railroad ran from Fernandina on the east coast of Florida to Cedar Key, which is on the west coast a few miles south of the mouth of the Suwannee River. The primary motivation for building the railroad was to provide a shortcut for goods shipped between ports on the east coast and gulf coast of the United States. Transferring goods from ships to trains at one port and back to ships at the other eliminated the long and dangerous voyage around the southern end of Florida, where ships wrecked at the rate of once a week in the middle of the 19th century.
The first train reached Cedar Key in March, 1861, just months before the beginning of the Civil War. The Florida Railroad was badly damaged during the war, including destruction of the facilities at Cedar Key, but was rebuilt after the war. The expansion of the railroad network throughout the United States, and in particular to Tampa in the latter part of the 19th century, drew rail and ship traffic away from Cedar Key. The construction of lighthouses along the Florida Keys and the replacement of sail power with steam also meant that shipping around the tip of Florida became much safer, removing the original motive for the use of Cedar Key as a rail port. The railroad to Cedar Key was abandoned in 1932.
The lithograph above shows the Cedar Key Terminal as it was in 1884, near the peak period of activity there. The terminal is very simple, with the main line ending in a stub on a trestle extending from the end of the dock, with one siding on the dock and a short siding on Way Key. The entire dock complex could be modeled in N scale in less than six feet. I want a section that I can take to train shows, but that can be attached to another section for a somewhat larger layout. I also want to be able to run trains on the portable section for display at shows, even if just in a loop. That constrains me to modeling in N scale on a section 5 feet by 3 feet, selectively compressing elements of the dock complex, and adding a return line to Way Key from the stub end of the track on the dock. I will be recording the construction of the models in coming posts to this blog.
I have dabbled with model trains off-and-on since I was a boy. Now that I am retired I can spend a little more time dabbling. I am also interested in history, including local history, and modeling the Cedar Key Terminal combines my interests.