Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Track laying and roadbed preparation are underway in Springfield.  Springfield is in the middle of the current benchwork, so it represents a spot to start with and build in both directions.  Contrasting with the yard areas at Oakridge and Eugene Depot, Springfield represents a “typical town site”—if such can be declared for this layout.  Springfield actually has as many turnouts as either yard, but it has more typical track arrangements for other spots along the main line. 

Construction has been a bit slow, as each task establishes precedents for the rest of the layout.  That means lots of research, design solutions, and hardware purchase.  Spurred on by an upcoming layout tour, the “analysis paralysis” has been broken by a need to make decisions and move on.

The first task was to overlay the full size track plan with track components: switches and flex track.  The one foot grid drawn on the paper plan was matched up with a similar grid drawn on the plywood table top.  Adjustments to the paper plan were made based on the actual switch geometry (e.g., Fast Tracks #8 switches vs. the plan use of copies of Walthers-Shinohara #8s).  When I was satisfied with the track, I removed the paper plan--carefully pulling it from underneath the track.  The track was realigned and the center lines marked.

Springfield track layout.

RR-East Springfield track layout.

Marcola Branch track layout and main line extending toward Westfir.

Marking track layout center lines and critical switch locations (frog and throwbar).

Roadbed for “complex” switchwork will use sheet cork pads.  I had plenty of sheet cork left over from the yard area covering, so cutting out pads rather than cutting and fitting cork strips represents a time-saver.  Paper templates for the pads were created by rubbing a pencil along the rail tops on the paper as it overlaid the track.  The paper was then taped to the cork sheet and cut out.

Paper template creation for “complex” trackwork roadbed pads.

The track was then gently shifted out of the way so roadbed could be laid.   Switch throwbar actuating holes were drilled before roadbed was applied.  The “complex” trackwork pads were laid first, followed by strip cork (Midwest Products Co.).  The mainline uses HO cork strips which are the same thickness as the cork sheet (5 mm thick).  Secondary trackage gets N-scale cork (3 mm thick).  I will sand transition ramps between the two levels before permanently attaching the track.  The throwbar holes were completed through the cork once the glue dried.  As with the yard area sheet cork, the roadbed strips and switch pads are attached with carpenter’s glue.

Switch pad.

Attaching switch pad using convenient weights and push pins.

The N-scale roadbed needs three strips to cover the width of HO track.  This ends up a little wide, so the roadbed will be trimmed later using a small router.  The switch pads will be trimmed at the same time.

Springfield roadbed installation underway.

As I complete the Springfield roadbed installation, the next tasks include the aforementioned roadbed height faring, switch machine installation, and preparation for a couple of Kadee under track magnets.  Wiring will assume center stage.

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