Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Big Bridge!!

 Well, this is an exciting series of photos to post as I have been trying to get this bridge in for about 2 years. You have seen the photos and story about the building of the deck girder bridge, the painting of the through truss, and Alan's work on fabricating the main pier based on a design from Bert Sacco, an old friend up in New England. So, we are now tackling the main project and i feel like I am working for the American Bridge Company, a division of USS Steel. So, as I had waited so long, I just balanced that main pier in place after cutting out the temporary structure that had been in use for about 5 years. I was worried because if that fell over, I was in big trouble!
 It certainly look good in the pictures and I was happy that I was building it but still worried about the execution. The big problem was where the main pier would end up and if it would interfere with the main line below.
 Checking the height clearance - made for a self portrait and made me happy that there is plenty of head room for a 6 footer.
 It does look imposing over the aisle. Now we have to get after the specifics.
 I used a long board as a template for the height required - a suggestion from the crew. Stop messing with the bridge and tempting fate! So, I have braced the pier in place and taken a board and placed it on the pier. I drew the dimension of the through truss bridge on it to be sure the pier would be in the right place. It appeared to be high.
 To check that dimension, I glued a cleat on the end of the road bed so I could measure down to where the deck should be.
 Next, I had to level the pier as it was on a sloped grade. So, I cut the subroadbed and placed offset braces underneath to make the base level. It raised the pier about a quarter of an inch.
 Now that the cleat is in place, it was pretty obvious how much off I was.
 I had to move the pier to get it located exactly and it is right at the edge of the adjusted grade. With all of that done, I determined I had to cut 3/4 of an inch off the base to make that piece of wood hit the cleat. To do that, I had to brace the pier to make the base perpendicular to the saw. Took some adjustment but it worked. When put in place, everything came out fine.
 Now I have to screw in the pier from below while holding it vertical. So, I placed some blocking around it, drilled pilot holes in the subroad bed and the pier and got below the table. Needless to say, I was nervous but it worked and nothing fell down!
 Here is the work site just after drilling and screwing. I used that big gold NMRA gauge to be sure we had clearance on the pier and the inner track. It just clears due to the super elevation tilting the track towards the pier.
 The pier was perfect and plumb so I was elated. I placed the bridge on it and it fit perfect. Looks good too!
 Now I have to put in the deck girder. First I had to trim the roadbed back to make it fit. Then I had to measure where the pier would go.
 So, you can see the base of the pier has been attached to the riser. I sanded the pier base to get an exact fit.
 Here I am testing the level of the pier with some bridge ties and a straight piece of wood to see where the rail will hit the rail on the hill side. Looks good.
 Looking back into the through truss looks good as well. A nice smooth flow.
 The bracing looks good from below. Glad I made it open.
The bridge looks imposing which is the effect I wanted! Now for all the finish work - scenery, track, etc! Nothing is easy.

Finishing ground forms at Crowl

 Well, I finished the plaster work at Crowl and painted the basic ground color. Then came the slow and careful removal of the plastic covering that protected the photo. Here we see the east end of the area with the start of the photo backdrop. The white line is the base for the local road that will disappear into the scenery.
 Looking back east towards the farm house in the photo, you see  an overview of the area. The small building will be the Crowl Store. A culvert also has to be completed.
 As we step back, it really looks good.
 This is the west end of the area that will be blended into the town of Snydertown. Some large buildings will cover the corner.
 A couple more views
 Looking down the whole area. Shows the sweep of the track as well.
 The last bare shot shows the road base coming in to the scene.
 A couple of days later and the ground cover crew is working to make things look better. Paul is our road builder so he is working on putting a smooth covering on that. The ground cover crew has already been through the area. The photo is being pulled into the scene. I like it.
We have a new member, Tim, and he is putting on the green and brown ground cover. He is working with our master gardener, Mike.
 Mike is working back towards Paul and you can see how nice things look with some green added.
 A action shot of the whole crew from last Monday night.
 The finished section. The road stands out for now. We have to go back next with some rough turf and greenery to give more dimension to the area. The black surface is where the Shamrock water tank and a section house will go.
It really has blended the photo into the scene!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

C1 makes the Layout

 Well, it has been a long struggle but the C1 (0-8-0 for the non - PRR fans) made the layout last week. It is still not complete as I have to add markers light lenses and coal to the tender. It is amazing how long it all takes. What with adding glass to the cab, lenses for the headlights, fabricating and painting a crew, getting the lights to work, etc. The engine has been in the works for about 2 years. This tender is off a Key Models H8 and really had great detail going in so it did not need modification.
 The boiler was fabricated and detailed by Frank Miller and put on a US Hobbies mechanism. We repowered it with a Pittman motor. It really runs quiet and smooth. I obtained the prints from the Historical Archives with the help of Joe Acri. That allowed me to get all the parts we needed plus have additional parts fabricated by Frank. I am really pleased with how it looks.
I painted the engine and weathered it using techniques that Lee Turner was kind enough to teach me. Now to get that coal in the tender and call it complete! There is an Altoona version of the I1 (2-10-0) that is in the shop that will be the next engine on the layout.