Monday, September 24, 2012


Sheet cork roadbed was glued down for Oakridge and the Eugene Depot yard areas.  Both of these areas involve a lot of track and switches, so I decided to use sheet cork as roadbed.  A quick Google search netted several suppliers of sheet cork in a variety of lengths.  I ordered a pair of 48 feet long by 4 feet wide rolls of ¼” cork.  Though a 100 feet long roll was available, keeping it to the shorter rolls made for easier shipping (My UPS driver appreciated that!) and easier handling by me. 

I rolled out the cork on the subroadbed and then began transferring key dimensions for the track from the full size track plan, which is still on the floor, to the cork.  I then trimmed the cork using a large hobby knife.  The rough trim will be sufficient to permit track laying.  A final trim will follow the final track position. 

Sheet cork placement and trim for Oakridge.

After studying a couple of alternatives, I settled on using basic wood glue to affix the sheets to the plywood subroadbed.  I poured glue from a gallon container and spread it using a cheap plastic putty knife set.  After the glue was spread for the first 8-10 feet, I began rolling the cork back onto the glue.

Glue spread for Oakridge cork sheet.

With glue spread for the full area and the cork rolled out, weight (mostly strips of plywood) was laid on it to hold the cork in position.  Edges not well covered by the plywood were held down by push pins.

 Cork sheet held in place by plywood and push pins.

Other areas will receive Midwest Cork roadbed strips.  This is all basic model railroad cork roadbed installation.  The point of this post is simply to show the progress and document what I did. 

Progress over the past two weeks has been modest due to family obligations, but the pace is picking back up.  The next project is creating frames for the backdrop spine that separates Eugene from Oakridge and around through the middle of the Springfield lobe.  

Friday, September 7, 2012


Subroadbed panels were placed, joined and firmly attached for the Eugene Depot scene, which also includes the area for the Eugene classification yard.  Gaps between the Eugene panels and the Oakridge panels were filled and spackle used generously.  Streambed panels have been mounted for the Willamette River crossing and the Salmon Creek area just RR-West of Oakridge.  With the exception of the stream area at Westfir, the “Valley Core” is now complete!

Eugene Depot subroadbed panels.

Development of the river scenes prompted initial structure construction.  In this case, it was the bridges.  I have had a Walthers single track through truss bridge kit (933-3185) since its introduction.  As the Willamette River scene developed during the full-size track planning stage, it became clear that a second such bridge would be the correct choice.  Unfortunately, those kits were not available this past Spring, so I began researching alternatives.  None were satisfying for either the necessary visual weight (and modeled bridge capacity) or length.  I was contemplating the more involved task of building the desired bridge from Central Valley bridge components.  While visually satisfying, this would claim important time and effort needed elsewhere for the layout construction to proceed on schedule.  Fortunately, a second run of the Walthers kit was produced this summer, so I now have the pair of bridges needed for the scene. 

Willamette River crossing with two Walthers through truss bridges.

I am now fitting Micro Engineering deck plate girder bridges (50 ft.: 255-75501, 30 ft.: 255-75502) into the scene to connect the through trusses to the shore.  Though I currently have only one 50 ft. bridge, I’ll probably use this length at both ends of the river crossing.  I will need to modify the benchwork in this area to provide for a better river bank slope.  Fortunately, the L-girder structure is easily modified. 

I continue to work with the scene at Westfir.  The Walthers sawmill kit (933-3058) and outbuildings (933-3144) provide a useful core for representing Western Lumber.  The Walthers kits are based on the last steam-powered sawmill in the US, located south of Corvallis at Alpine, Oregon.  This mill has been the subject of books and video.  Several pictures of it appear in the Kalmbach book:  Industries Along the Tracks 4.  Though condensed, compressed and simplified, they do capture important elements of the prototype and will serve well for my use as Western Lumber.  Space and track access issues remain, so the mock-up is important.  The SP bridge over the North Fork of the Willamette is an important part of the Westfir scene.  I am wrestling with that bridge, the river level and the sawmill log pond, with the latter requiring both space and vastly different height than the river.  Stayed tuned for future developments here.

Westfir Scene Mock-Up.