Friday, July 19, 2013


Building upon the success and experience in laying Oakridge, I tackled the first major piece of the Eugene complex.  I had to add another eight foot panel to the benchwork to accommodate the RR-East ends of the depot tracks and the classification yard.  This area becomes a prime choke point where the depot and class yards close up but then the tracks enter (eventually) the Eugene arrival/departure yard and engine facility. 

Benchwork went quickly.  I moved on to laying out the track lines (lots of parallel pencil lines for twelve tracks with various spacings) and then laying out switches to join up all those tracks.  Learning from my experience at Oakridge, I chose to permanently lay the RR-West yard throat and ladders, followed by the mainline through the Eugene depot area, and then the RR-East yard ladders and throat.  Finally, I joined up the rest of the body tracks, fitting and permanently fixing two at a time.  By fixing the switch ladders early in the process, I had hard ends to work against while fitting the body tracks.  This went very smoothly.

RR-West end of Eugene.  The mainline and “WP” Siding are on the left, followed by a pair of “City Yard” tracks and then the seven plus run-around classification yard tracks on the left.

An immediate challenge was sorting through the industries to be served in the depot area.  I pulled out structure kits purchased long ago for this area.  Several will make it onto the layout, albeit modified for narrow depth, added length or other purposes.  I’ll try to avoid leaving anything totally “stock.”  A Walthers “Front Street Warehouse”  was tried for a spot near the depot, but will not make the cut.  Its size was ok, but the architectural style was too old for Eugene.  My Eugene is largely a fiction (A common belief of OSU Beavers like me!  <Grin>), but I still need to capture the “look and feel” of a major Willamette Valley city.  Most structures need to date from the 20th Century, but that warehouse was distinctly earlier.  A couple of the spurs will be left loose (not permanently applied to the roadbed) until I design and build the structures to be served by those spurs. 

Eugene Depot area and city industry spurs.  The “Front Street Warehouse” in the middle of the photo, to the right of the depot platform, will not be used.  It is too tall and too early an architectural style.

RR-East Eugene depot and classification yard.  The throat area in the immediate foreground is atop the new benchwork panel.  Loose switches on the left will be served by an industry siding.

The RR-East throat includes two mainline tracks for entering the (eventual) staging loop tracks.  The right hand track of the three laid is the RR-East switch lead. 

RR-East Eugene depot and classification yard with track labels.

The photo above shows labels for the tracks in the Eugene Depot and Classification Yard.  Left to right, are the spurs for the SP freight house, the “WP” siding (closest to the depot), the mainline, and a pair of tracks for the Eugene “City” yard.  This latter pair has a crossover midway to help the “City Switcher” do its work.  These tracks may also serve as freight sidings awaiting entry into the Arrival/Departure Yard.  The switch lead serves seven body tracks in the classification yard and an eighth  track on the right serves as a run-around (run-through) for access to the RR-West end. 

Twelve tracks deep in the depot area make for a very long reach for uncoupling operations.  Fortunately, most of that action needs to be done by the “City Switcher” (one crew job) with a slight additional bit of work for the Klamath mail train in eras when it ran.  I suspect I’ll need a dedicated footstool for the City Switcher.  Meanwhile, I installed hatches for a dozen uncoupling magnets, most of which are located under the deeper tracks.

I installed 44 switches in this part of the Eugene complex.  That puts me past the halfway point on total switch installations for the complete layout.  The next several weeks will involve installing switch machines and wiring all of this.  I also need to complete the bridges over the Willamette River to connect to Springfield.  With that, the “Valley Core” of the railroad will be complete and I can start operations testing. 

The end of July marks one year of construction.  I am happy to report I met my predicted project timeline—about a year to reach this stage.  This bodes well for a complete railroad ready for the NMRA National Convention in Portland in 2015.  This blog achieved another milestone this past week with the 10,000th page view.  Wow!

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