Thursday, July 10, 2014


Construction of the upper level of my SP Cascade Line is proceeding with laying out Cascade Summit.  The basic benchwork uses a box grid to minimize the overall structure depth.  This is necessary to maintain my design goal of seven feet vertical clearance under the benchwork for the operator “tunnel” through the Pryor area and to place the rail height no closer than two feet under the 9 ft. 6 inch ceiling.  The rail height is 89 inches above the floor.  I built a 30 inches (2.5 ft.) high platform to serve Cascade Summit.  I’ve long used a drawing to illustrate the overhead structure with operator “tunnel” underneath.  The photo below now illustrates the completion of this design feature.

Cascade Summit operator platform and benchwork.  Note the operator tunnel for crews with trains RR-west of Oakridge.

Railings were installed fairly quickly after construction of the platform.  Barely visible in the photo in the railing panel with the blue ladder in the background is a raised lip.  This 1x4 lip sticks up 1.5 inches.  It is intended to keep stools (and feet!) firmly on the platform.  More of this safety lip will be installed soon.  Stools will be useful for shorter operators and even for me for construction and maintemance.

As I laid out the tracks for Cascade Summit, I discovered my sidings were a bit short of the required twenty feet long.  This led to a benchwork extension on the RR-East end of Oakridge and the tracks wrapping further around the curve at this end of the station.  Serendipity provided a wider platform section with this extension. 

With the benchwork built and primary track lines drawn, I installed cork roadbed.  I also built a slight up-ramp and higher roadbed for the wye, just as the actual track rose to the wye tunnel.  Most of the roadbed is Midwest Products split cork roadbed, but I did install several pads of sheet cork to support more complex switch arrangements for the mid-station crossovers and the RR-West end switch throat.  This was easier than cutting lots of triangular sections from the roadbed strip. 

Cascade Summit roadbed looking RR-West.  The turning wye goes into the corner.

Cascade Summit roadbed looking RR-East.  Three curved turnouts will form the throat ladder at this end.

As seen in the photo above of the RR-East end of Cascade Summit, I continued the benchwork into the “nook” with a large S-curve. My original benchwork plan used a rectangular grid, but after a few days of thinking about this and the scenery needed, I opted to replace the rectangle with the deeply cut triangle seen in the photo.  The roadbed did not need any more support than this.  Much of the former rectangular grid would have implied relatively level ground at this end of the station.  The real Cascade Summit slopes off rapidly toward Odell Lake all along what is my aisle side of the station.  The revised benchwork better supports the scenery that will be created for this area.

Also showing in the RR-East end photo is as gap in the benchwork with a girder bridge sitting on top of the roadbed.  This will be where my version of Trapper Creek appears.  I hope this bridge goes faster than my previous bridge installations!

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