Friday, September 25, 2015

E. L. Moore's Brick Enginehouse

[E. L. Moore's Brick Enginehouse; J. R. Fisher collection]

This big, red brick two-stall enginehouse was the centerpiece of E. L. Moore’s 1900-era shortline engine terminal. His construction notes can be found in Brick enginehouse, published in the March ’67 issue of Model Railroader.
I’ve always thought of an enginehouse as a sort of milestone project for scratchbuilders of miniature railroad buildings. That’s probably because enginehouses play such a dominate role in a large number of model railroads, and they are often the centerpiece as it was E. L. Moore’s shortline terminal. In Mr. Moore’s era the masterwork of masterworks enginehouse-wise was John Allen’s wooden, two-stall enginehouse that was described in a 3-part series, The GD Line Builds an Old Time Engine House, in the October to December issues of Railroad Model Craftsman in 1948. Its realistic appearance, built with rather simple construction methods, and gorgeously lit and staged photos, helped to revolutionize thinking regarding standards of realism model railroaders could achieve. However, I think part of the reason for its enduring and well deserved fame is not just in its details, but in its design: cleverly placed and shaped large windows and doorways that allowed for great lighting, viewing and scene staging.  Those meant it could be dramatic in ways that are hard to surpass.
Mr. Allen’s enginehouse was suitable for a temperate climate in a western state – ideally, California I suspect – and Mr. Moore’s appears better suited for a colder, wetter, northern climate of a northeastern state. Its windows are smaller and walls more substantial. Where Mr. Allen’s has spritely trim work on the outside, Mr. Moore’s has ivy. I think it’s tricky to capture the drama in photos as Mr. Allen did with Mr. Moore’s enginehouse. John Allen’s pictures seem to have a lot of elbow-room in them, and E. L. Moore’s are more confined – my guess is that might be an artifact of his situation rather than his vision. 
My photos are on the clinical side, but after seeing Mr. Moore’s enginehouse up close I think it could be staged more spaciously for photos –with scenery, locos, lighting, people and accessories in a Moorian style – that would rival those of Mr. Allen’s. I hope the future holds the possibly of testing that hypothesis :-)
The roof is still quite a solid structure and is still unwarped and fits snuggly on the walls.
Once the roof is off you can get a good look at the fully detailed interior. Mr. Moore notes in his construction article that the light reflectors are over-size so that they throw a good light - another reason that I think some night shots of this building hold some promise. One could easily add more lights if the ones there are inadequate.
My thumb is holding the model through the opening where the doors are missing. Well, thankfully, they aren't missing, they were detached and just need to be re-installed.

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