The second siding, which breaks off the parallel side track just after the first switch, is just as covered with weeds and dirt. The track actually extended quite a bit further out and then turned and ran parallel to the Agway building. Even today, there are remains of this track including some old ties in place. I am not sure if they received rail traffic in 1984 as all I have to go by is this photograph. However, as a modeling note I plan to model it so that it also can receive cars. However, I will try and make this track look even worse than the first. You can see that in this picture the three tracks appear to be at three elevations.
The real challenge was that all my photos showed the area in late March (late winter), but I am modeling late May (full on spring season). Thus, in my mind I started converting all the brown dead brush to vibrant green brush. But, I really had no idea how bad the weed control problem was at that time. This is typical of the area. With that image firmly set, I was ready to proceed. For starters, I decided to do the siding to Colonie Liquor. It was not only longest but it appears to be the best maintained. In the past I have ballasted track and randomly sprinkled ground foam on it to look like "weeds" but never had I set out to model track that was half-overgrown.
I wanted to make sure that there was lots of dirt showing, but the ties still had to be visible an prominent. Since I had put this track on N scale roadbed, I needed a bit of fill material. I used one of the Scenic Express samples I had obtained which was a gray blend and randomly sprinkled it along the track, including the sides where it formed the ballast slope. Then, I took some W.S. "brown ballast" and tried that... yuk, it didn't look like dirt at all. I sprinkled a few cinders here and there but figured by the 1980s most of the cinder ballast would have finally sunk in the ground. Pulling out my actual real dirt, I applied that liberally here and there. I then went over the area with some find W.S. ground foam. I didn't want to overdo it here, as the other two tracks would be really overgrown and those should get the full treatment.
When I stepped back, it looked like a hot mess. But, the colors seemed right. The dirt brown looked like the dirt from the area (as it should be), I had only used dark green foam which would have been appropriate for May. The ballast was a gray blend similar to the stuff I used on the mainline but not quite, reflecting perhaps a change in ballast supplier in the past. And, some of the worn out ties were visible. The splotchiness matched the pictures, and I was really happy with it. The two sidings into Agway and Southworth Machinery were given a similar treatment, though I made sure to bury those ties even more into the dirt. Scenery materials were actually mounded over the rails in places (intentionally and otherwise) and then I ran a truck set over it to cut flanges. I also used my finger to try and bring the level below rail height where possible to make track cleaning easier in the future.
Admittedly, this looks a bit garish. This is just the initial layer of ballast. During scenery application, I will add broken ties, static grass weeds (which I am currently researching), weathering down the middle of the track, paint to the sides of the rails, etc. Right now, it just stands out as an extreme green area. But, I am quite pleased with it.
The same area looking north (note the
switches on right) on September 04, 1986