Saturday, October 25, 2014


With the roadbed panels built ( and the track formed (, I moved on to installing Crescent Lake.  First up was installing switch machines and dropping feeders for the switch ladders already installed on three of the panels near the reverse loop throat.  I placed each panel on sawhorses so I had easy access to the top and bottom.  By now, Tortoise ™ has become straight-forward for me.  A wiring tail is soldered to the contacts and a new, thicker throw-rod used.  I am getting quite good at coming up underneath the layout to poke the throw rod through the hole in the switch throw bar.  I needed to remember which rail was which for the feeder color code.  The eventual turn-back loop at Salt Creek trestle exchanges the colors for the “aisle” and “wall” rails.

Initial wiring underway on a switch ladder panel for Crescent Lake.

The next task was to raise each panel to the final height—over seven feet up.  The first three panels were eight feet long and each had at least one edge that was to be supported by an L-girder ledger board attached to the wall.  I installed a temporary ledger “hook” that was used to catch the roadbed panel edge as I lifted the other panel end to the final height.  A temporary leg held the panel in place while I installed the threaded rod support into the unistrut ceiling mounts.

Temporary ledger “hook” installed on ledger L-girder.

Roadbed panel hooked onto ledger L-girder, ready to be raised to final height.

First roadbed panel in position with temporary leg supporting the free corner.

First roadbed panel installed.  Supporting threaded rods are just visible near the ceiling light and at the right front corner.

Unistrut ceiling mount.  Unistrut spans floor joists above.  Threaded rod is screwed into a unistrut nut above.  Fender washers and a conventional nut are screwed in above and below the plywood support arm for the roadbed.  This fixes the roadbed against gravity and bumps from below.

I continued this process by hooking the long roadbed panels to either the ledger L-girder or to an adjoining panel.  The staging yard switch ladder panel installed along the wall was swung up to the final height by first hooking it to that first corner panel and then moving it along the ledger L-girder to its final position.  A three-feet wide panel joins the two larger panels.

Switch ladder panel hooked onto corner panel, ready to be raised.

Switch ladder panel being moved along the ledger L-girder.  Temporary “hooks” are installed in the end panel sections, keeping the roadbed panel along the wall and on the L-girder.

Switch ladder panel and short joining panel installed.

The final task involved two major panels and one small joining panel that were completely supported—suspended—by threaded rod.  Neither of the major panels was long enough to use my hook and tilt installation method.  Both required use of brute force aided by my handy step-ladder.  Yes, it would have been good to have help, but I got the job done.

Corner panel being moved into position.  I worked one end up the back-side of the ladder and used several lengths of temporary legs at the other end.  The panel will be rotated from this position to meet up with the panel on the left.

Once the panels were up and suspended, I sanded the joints between panels to a common height.  Then I added cork filler strips across the joints.  This ensures a cork joints and roadbed panel joints do not line up.  With the cork installed and painted my usual gray, I could move on to track installation.

Corner roadbed panel suspended.

Roadbed panels installed.

Suspended Crescent Lake roadbed.

Crescent Lake roadbed panels installed.  Looking through the passageway to Eugene.

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