Monday, October 23, 2017

Finally, We Cross That Bridge!

 Well, it is Tuesday evening, 10/17/17 at about 9 pm and the track is being completed on the High Bridge  The west end is in and I ran a test engine and a track wiper car out onto the bridge, checking for symmetry in the curve leading up to it. It is about a 56 inch radius.
 The track joined up here and it is a smooth transition so I thought it would run well and it did. I need to place another tie on top of the bridge abutment. That can be done later.
 Here is the train waiting for the completion of the track work on the east end. That was a bear as I had to remove the light fixture in the ceiling so my head could get above the work to check for smooth joints. I also had to make a transition track first to go from Code 125 rail height on the bridge to the code 140 that was already in place on the mountain itself. So I had two sets of joints to do. It took about an hour to get that done.
 The train is now moving around the interlocking junction and out onto the bridge approach.
 It has completed that curve and the lead engine is on the bridge. All was smooth so far and the engines and train tracked nicely. There will be a lot of double heading on this track due to the grade so track quality is important.
 Here is a long view that shows the height of the location. We walk under the bridge as shown before.
 Train is now moving across the bridge and all is well

 Here is a close up of the two H class 2-8-0's on the bridge.
 Now passing the junction with the previously existing trackage. Everything still okay.
 First engine through the junction and the second engine enters the jointed section.
 Now the train is entering the jointed section and all is well.
Happy to see this as the mountain division has been out of service for 4 months while the bridge went in. I backed the train down the hill to check trackage with no problems. Subsequently, I ran several other trains backwards and forwards with no issues. I hope it stays that way - knock wood!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Mountain Emerges

 Well, Monday night we completed the paper coating and some amount of plaster. I spent Tuesday plastering the rest of the structure so the mountain is done. I have to now coat it with stucco but that will have to wait as I have run out of time.
 Coming around the curve, it really looks impressive! Comes pretty close to the ceiling.
Here is the whole view. Once I get the bridge up, it will really be a nice entrance into the train room. I will have to wait until December to cover the snow scene with some more seasonal ground cover, however.

Making a Mountain out of a Mole Hill - Back to the Bridge

 well, the big project remains the bridge and its setting. The major hurdle is to get the topography installed. Here we have begun the webbing that integrates the previously completed hill side into the new area. A lot of cardboard strips are required.
 Here I am bringing the webbing around the curve and integrating the stone walls into the scene. I have a lot of burns on my hands from the hot glue. I hate working with that stuff as I always burn myself! Last Monday, one of our group -Alan - burned himself pretty good putting a paper covering on the webbing, so I am not the only one.
 I had to place some cardboard gussets or beams under the webbing to hold it due to the long expanse that it covers. you can see a couple that are under the thin cardboard and arcing down to the wall.
 Progressing slowly around the curve and starting to come down the back wall .
 Mount Everest comes more into shape. Actually looks like the Prudential advertisement for the Rock of Gibraltar. I am going through cardboard a rapid rate!
 Now we are close to done for this phase
 Here it is completed and we have to start putting up the red rosin paper to cover the webbing.
 Paul has put up the rosin paper and is now putting plaster cloth on the paper and setting it with water.
 Jack is working with him on this side and is also placing plaster on the paper.
 Around the curve, Alan is getting paper on the peak of the hill. It is before he burned himself as he is still smiling. This shot does illustrate the phases of the process, showing he webbing, the paper and the plaster cloth. After all this is done, we coat the plaster with a stucco like material to give it a grain.
 Mike is finishing the paper at the base of the hill.
Gale is helping me clean up the area that will be next for scenery on the other side of the layout. We have to integrate in another bridge at that location as well.

Working on Crowl

 I am making all these posts at one time to catch up but I had  taken pictures of the work in progress over time. We have been pressing to get things done since last summer before an open house in November . One night in September, the group was working on finishing the ground cover near Crowl as the photo mural was in place and we wanted to blend everything together. Here Paul is putting dirt on a road behind the Paxinos area.
 The rest of the guys are getting the green down. You can see the mural on the wall and how it blends with the 3D scenery in front of it.
More of the group and the scene.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Putting in A Stone Retaining Wall

 As I looked at the design of the hill below the abutments of the bridge, it became apparent that it was going to be pretty steep. My cohorts argued for a taller retaining wall than I wanted to make and they convinced me it was more appropriate for the hill that we would create. You can see here that we have a big height differential to deal with.
 So, I started by gluing blocks to the road bed base. These blocks would hold the bendable plywood backer for the retaining wall. You can see the clamps holding the distant blocks in place. We placed them on a curve determined by holding the plywood a set distance from the edge of the ballast line of the track.
 I cut a piece of plywood about 5 inches high and about 5 feet long.
 Here we have the plywood in place and glued tot he backer blocks. I had to cut down the left end of the plywood as I would be bringing the wall lower as it ended.
 I checked to see that the backer was low enough to be hidden but high enough to provide the support I needed.
 I had to cut each panel of the wall in such a way as the base matched the grade while the stone rows and top stayed horizontal. Essentially, I had to cut across two rows of stone within the length of each panel to match the grade. You can see the step effect here.
 Here I have cut down the last panel. I had to cut the ends of the panel in a step fashion to bring the wall down to termination.
 You can see the termination here. I have to coat the top of the stones with body putty to cover the expanded foam that wall is made from.
Here is a backside view of he whole assembly glued together. I had to let the glue dry for two days to get a good grip on the foam and the wood. Next, on to the cardboard base for the hillside.

A Culvert for Crowl

 I have taken an HO Chooch culvert and made it into a culvert for Crowl. I liked the stone construction as it is typical of the PRR in this area. I first glued the castings to  a Masonite base that I painted with a concrete color.
 I then added some wood guides and took a half a roll core from a toilet paper roll and painted it black in the inside.
 I glued the core to the base and the casting and painted the interior floor black also. It is long enough that one cannot see out the other side.
 I had made an opening in the plaster work as we put the plaster finish coat on - I used the casting as a guide for the outline that we left.
Here is the finished product inserted into the scenery. Now I have to plaster it in and bring the scenery products up to it.

New Trackage to Bridge

 Well, as we approach the bridge we have to go through a junction for Shamokin and the Glen Burne Colliery. I had two custom made turnouts done that match the curvature of the approach track for the bridge. So here we see the installation process underway.
 I have laid the ties, sanded them and then placed the turnouts. They are held in place by printed circuit board ties so it has been a relatively painless process. The only problem is that the pc ties are only half thickness so I will have to put some wood beneath them to fill the open space.
 Here is the view looking towards the bridge. The turnout to the left leads to what will become the yard at Shamokin.
 The track curves nicely onto the approach to the bridge.
Here we look towards the other side which will take a lot of effort!