Saturday, December 12, 2009

The beginning of the Main

After about 3 months of work, we have the design essentially completed and now have to transfer it to the basement. You saw us lay the paper, now we are putting in the lower holding tracks with the double track main up the center.
In the shot looking towards the door, you can see the location of an aisle that will allow you to come in the door in the center of the picture, on the left of the column. This is a dead ended aisle that comes towards the center of the 8 track holding area. The main comes from the right, past the vacuum, heading east, and will go into a tunnel just before it flares out. In the next picture you can see the flare on both ends as the holding tracks close back onto the main as we come back in our half circle. This will give me tracks from 20 feet to about 30 feet in length to hold trains going eastbound from Northumberland to Harrisburg, and westbound from Northumberland to Lock Haven. The Northumberland yard will cover the large section of the holding tracks. The yard will be built later after I get this up and can store material under it.
As we look towards that door again, the left end of the line will climb up, circling back to the left and then up into the yard. The right track turns in front of a large house structural member that is behind the column, crosses under the yard throat in a tunnel, comes out of the short tunnel, crosses the Susquahanna and then turns in a half helix to the left to come up and join the branch as the tracks go onto two through truss bridges again crossing the Susquahanna and then enter the yard. This is to try to capture the look of those bridges that the PRR had as they went east out of the yard on the way to Sunbury. If you look carefully, you can see blue in the far distance. that is where the helix is located.
I can't wait to get something running on the main!

Preparing for Main Line construction

Now that we have completed Weigh Scales and come up to the Narrows, we have to start building the main line in the center of the back of the room so we can then store all the boxes and other debris under the layout that we have stashed in the front of the basement. We cannot continue up the branch until we can access the wall that is shown as covered with boxes in the third picture.
After I washed (read scrubbed) and waxed the floor, I covered it with paper in order to both protect it and then allow me to design the framing once I cut out the sub-roadbed for the track. You can see how shiny the floor was before I covered it with the construction paper.
I have used 3rdPlanit as a CAD tool to design the main line and try to fit it into the irregular shape of the room. Ed Rappe, shown in one of the first pictures laying the paper, was my instructor as he has become quite expert in its use as he used it extensively in designing he fantastic PRR layout that he has under construction about 5 blocks from my house. We work together every week on a rotating basis, with John Roberts also in the rotation.
The next series of photos you see will begin construction of the main line.

Weigh Scales Completed

After some hard work, we get the turnouts down and the trackwork completed. You can see the short passing siding where the scale track will be. It is front of the vacuum brush on the second photo. The yellow plastic templete next to the brush is close to where John Roberts will place the scratchbuilt block station and weigh station that he will build. I have to complete the drawings that I am making based on a series of photos that I have. I got them from books as well as from a very kind friend who works on the short line railroad that operates in that area.
In the last two photos you can see the first freight train coming into Weigh Scales. It also gives a good shot of the ;ayout of the yard which wraps around the turn in the room and goes about 15 feet up the rear wall.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Well, still having problems getting photos in order, you see Rich and John Roberts, another O Scaler who lives close by, working to lay the homasote for the yard. Then looking back, you see that I paint the homasote flat black to simulate cinders when I ballast, so no light colors show if anything pops off. I have then laid turnout templates to figure out the yard configuration. It came out pretty good, somewhat closely following the PRR trackplan, albeit with some compression in numbers of tracks. I use white pencil to lay the center lines.

I am still working on getting the photos in order but here are the Narrows. You can see that the benchwork was made to match the reverse curve of the track. Then you can see the raising of the subroadbed and addition of the other scenic elements. In what should be the final photo you see the river in the foreground, the PRR track, then PA Highway 61 and then up on what will be a hill, the subroadbed of the Reading. I will be using S gauge track for that so as to have some scenic compression giving a sense of distance. We have to stop construction here as I now have to start building the main line in the center of the room after I lay the track in Weigh Scales.

Well, we have crossed the creek and now are entering Weigh Scales. We will have a small coal gathering yard and a combination block office and scale house here. The yard will have three tracks. It will also include a long passing siding, a short passing siding for the scale track, and a team track and single track engine servicing area as helpers were added or taken off here. We have hung about 45 linear feet of benchwork off the wall.
In the second photo you can see that we turn to the right at the far end as we go into the Narrows. We need to include PA Highway 61 and the Reading Railroad in that scene. In teh foreground will be Shamokin Creek. We then will turn in an S curve and proceed up tp Shamokin, past the Glen Burne Colliery. More on that later.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

As we have now crossed over on our way to Weigh Scales, we have to build our bench work at a higher elevation and hang it off the exterior wall. We have to adjust our construction approach as the wall is precast concrete. Pat Mitchell, a friend up in Maryland, told us how he is doing it on his Proto 48 layout and we adapted his method for our application. You can see Rich Feller working on the subroadbed. He is a great friend and carpenter and he is responsible for most of the work here. We dropped a support bolted to the wall and then nailed a stub to the side. Later he put a cross member in place, using a string line to be sure they were straight. Over his shoulder you can see the completed Weigh Scales benchwork. You can see the level we used to be sure we were okay. Also the paper diagram on the floor was used to size the cross members and locate where we wanted to hang them. We are coming up on the Narrows and once we reach there, we will have to stop work on the branch and go back to working on the main line plus complete filling in the branch up to Weigh Scales.

Bridging a doorway

Well, we now have to get past a doorway as we leave Paxinos heading East. Next stop is Weigh Scales but first we have to create a duck under as we jump from one wall to another. I made an assembly that can be removed in the case that the refrigerator in that small room has to be replaced. It has a false bottom to allow me to run some wires under the riverbed. First we made the road bed out of plywood to be sure everything was on a consistent grade(2%). Then we cut out the center section and placed the bridge piers there. Mistake number one was forgetting that the deck girder requires piers to go up to the level of the track. So, we will have to make some future adjustments. I will show the completed bridge installation in a future post.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

As we said in the previous post, as you turned the far corner, you would reach Paxinos. You can see that the benchwork and the track has a nice curve as it makes the corner and continues up the hill to Paxinos. The grade is 2%. I painted all the subroadbed black to represent the cinders you see under the ballast back in the steam era. After I build the track to Paxinos, I have to go back and build all the sidings in Reed and Crowl. I also have to finish the bridge over the main line. We now have a run of about 75 feet from the yard. The railhead is currently at Paxinos but we will push on shortly. One last point, right at the point, a water tank will be placed that was at Shamrock. The engines uncoupled from their trains at Crowl and went up the single track to Shamrock, watered and came back to their train. It will be nice to duplicate that in our operations.

Well, you can see we lowered the benchwork on the curve, relative to the benchwork at Reed as the mainline has to swing down and go under the branch. We have all the new legs in place and the subroadbed has been put in place and the grades established. You can see the mainline to the rear as it drops down and prepares to go under a bridge that will have to be built before the branch can enter Reed. The door has ended up safely under the benchwork.
As you look at the middle picture you can see the roadbed continuing in the distance around the curve and into Crowl which is at the other end of the siding, along the back wall. We will leave Crowl, heading East, and enter Paxinos after we go around the corner. The water tank at Shamrock will be just before we turn that corner, past the end of the siding at Crowl.

Well, we are now looking from the doorway, where we removed the door, and have begun to cut the subroadbed from those pieces of plywood you saw on the floor. The view towards the right will take you into Northumberland yard in a much later stage of construction. We are going to have to build the branch around the wall first before we can start on the main line.
As we swing around the curve with the double track mainline in the foreground, and the branch to the rear, you can see the bench work where Reed is located and waiting to be connected, down the left wall.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Well, here we are laying out the subroadbed on the floor before cutting the plywood. The radius trammel is visible at the center left of the shot. The long piece of wood is used to make the easements into the curves. The benchwork is lower as the main line tracks have to drop under the branch line. You can see how much lower they are by the extension of the steel legs above the benchwork. They are made for 50 inch high benchwork. I will use 44 inch wooden legs here to save the steel legs for later. The door has been removed and is leaning on the side of the shot. It will soon be stored under the benchwork.
You can see the bendable plywood again which makes a smooth curve for the interior of the benchwork.

As we work our way back west towards Northumberland, it became apparent that it would be easier to paint the walls blue now before putting up all the benchwork. So, you can see the before and after as we look west from Reed.
We are also starting to lay out the benchwork on the floor in the foreground that will go in the alcove to support the three tracks that will be curving around in there. There are the two mainline tracks with a 62 and 66 inch radius, plus the branch on the interior of the curve with a 54 inch radius. Unfortunately, that nice door has to come off to give a better view angle.

Now that we have the siding mostly in, we built the curve through Shamrock using bendable plywood. The clamps hold the two laminates together until the glue dries. We then moved on up to the location for Paxinos which will be inside the corner, under the clock. When we cross over in front of the door, we will be nearing the area of Weigh Scales but that will have to wait about a year. We are now about late summer 2007. The paper on the floor is where I am drawing the actual track plan and laying out the benchwork design. The legs are steel tubing that a friend of mine, Pat Mitchell, taught me how to weld together. He had a scenery company and introduced us to the bendable plywood and other tricks.

Well, we saved one small portion of the old layout and used it for the siding at Crowl. We are extending the west end of that siding to complete the siding through Reed. You can see the original piece as it has roadbed on it. The benchwork only section is the base for the west end of the siding at Reed.