Thursday, August 21, 2014


With the central core of the railroad settling into operations, I have begun construction of the rest of the railroad.  I previously posted on Cascade Summit.
Now, I have begun the mountain climb up out of Oakridge. 

Continuing on from my first foray into spline construction (, I built supporting benchwork and laid spline up the wall and around the corner into McCredie Springs.  I use “traditional” spline cut from nominal ¼ inch thick hardboard.  Yes, it is messy with the glue, and it takes a bit of time (each successive spline layer needs to be clamped while the glue sets), but the results are good and utilize materials easily obtained.  The resulting subroadbed has very natural, flowing curves and is quite strong.

Mountain grade spline construction.

Around the corner and into the nook, I am building McCredie Springs on plywood.  McCredie Springs features a standard SP company “village”--train order station, operator houses, section chief and section crew housing and a signal maintainer’s house.  I will add a rock bunker in a corner of the nook.  Though quarries in the area were not rail served, there were quite a few.  I chose to bend history and add a rail-served quarry with its rock bunker.  With all of these structures and extra tracks, I chose to use plywood for the subroadbed to cover the needed space and provide support.  The center spline of the mainline subroadbed keys into a slot cut into the edge of the plywood. 

Overview of construction in the Nook.  McCredie Springs is on the lower deck plywood.  Two-plus feet above that is the roadbed for the grade descending from Cascade Summit.

I use Midwest Products cork roadbed.  On the spline subroadbed sections, I sandwich tulle fabric (bridal veil material) between the cork and the subroadbed spline.  This serves as an equipment catcher during construction and testing.  Later, it will serve as part of the scenery.  The cork is glued directly to the plywood where the ply serves as the subroadbed.

Mountain grade up out of Oakridge (off the left).  Cork roadbed has been glued to the hardboard spline.  Tulle (veil) fabric is sandwiched between the roadbed and subroadbed.

Roadbed entering McCredie Springs, up from Oakridge.  The rock bunker will be located in the corner to the right of the photo.

As I laid out McCredie Springs, I eventually went back to primary research material for the track layout.  This was after I had plowed ahead with what I “thought” the track pattern was.  Inspection of the few historic photos and the SP valuation maps quickly showed I had missed the correct location of the house track and an additional “track number 3” on the outside of the curve.  I ended up adding a bit more plywood to expand the supporting “ground.”  Lots of splice plates and biscuit joints were added!

Revised track schematic for McCredie Springs.

In addition to the revised schematic for McCredie Springs, I revisited maps for Wicopee and Cruzatte—my remaining mountain sidings.  Revised schematics for all three mountain sidings have been posted into the station schematics tab of this blog.

Continuing upgrade (RR-West) through McCredie Springs.  The house track branches off the mainline to the right.  Further back, track number 3 branches off to the left of the siding.

Benchwork construction techniques are illustrated in the photos.  McCredie Springs sits on two pair of L-girders plus additional wall brackets.  The upper level roadbed rests on simple wall brackets, reinforced with steel corner brackets.  The corners use a basic box grid with a diagonal brace—better aligned with the curve being supported.  The mountain grade now features both a descending upper line and a climbing lower line.  The two lines are about 24 inches apart in height at the RR-West end of McCredie Springs.  They will join on the turn-back loop that will be supported by Salt Creek Trestle.  Salt Creek Trestle is a signature scene.  Photos I shot there are what I use for inspiration and as the background for this blog.

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