Friday, August 24, 2012


Upon completion of the first phase of benchwork structure, ¾” plywood panels have been added for subroadbed.  The primary, mostly full sheet, panels for Oakridge and Springfield have been placed, joined and attached to the stringers. 

Oakridge subroadbed with wye in foreground.

Springfield benchwork and primary plywood subroadbed panels.

Gaps have been left that will be filled by roadbed width strips of plywood and bridges.  Three streams must be crossed: 1) Salmon Creek on the RR-west end of Oakridge (crossed by both the mainline and the Pope and Talbot mill lead), 2) the North Fork of the Willamette River at Westfir, and 3) the full Willamette River between Springfield and Eugene. 

Westfir subroadbed panel.  Curve templates are placed where the mainline and one of the Western Lumber spurs will be located.

A design choice has been to keep all of the “valley core” from Eugene to Oakridge on one base level.  The actual railroad climbs almost 1000 feet from Eugene to Oakridge.  The plan for the stream crossings has been to place a plywood panel well below the main subroadbed level to serve as the streambed. 

As I begin implementing this design and construction, I am wrestling with how to scenic the stream areas.  The larger stream areas at Salmon Creek and the full Willamette crossing should have sufficient space to create a believable slope to the stream banks.  The Westfir gap appears too short.  Further, the backdrop treatment in this area needs to be considered.  One idea to help the scenery in this area is to slightly raise the mainline through Westfir.  Introducing a modest track profile hump, centered on the Westfir mainline switch might help the overall scene, but might not have much effect at the stream crossing. The actual bridge is fairly deep, as truss bridges usually are, and still has good clearance above the river.  An option under consideration is to replace the deck truss bridge with a simple girder, perhaps even a through plate girder.  This may become “a bridge too far” so the stream crossing might be eliminated.

As the space for the railroad becomes occupied by benchwork and subroadbed, it is becoming obvious that I will need to add lighting.  This can be seen in the Oakridge and Westfir photos.  Much of this was expected and planned for.  There are light fixture junction boxes intended for connecting track lighting strategically located in the ceiling.  Future construction, notably the backdrop spine weaving through the middle of the valley core, will further impact lighting.  Lighting additions will be considered as the railroad gets built.

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