Thursday, March 26, 2015


Shifting benchwork construction from the mountain grade to the other major remaining area, I built the base benchwork for the Eugene Arrival/Departure Yard.  The A/D Yard serves as the lower level staging.  Engine facilities for both steam and diesel will be contained within the reverse loop.  An industrial branch will sweep around the outside of the twelve yard tracks.  In front of the yard tracks will be a switch lead, a caboose track, the Oregon Electric (SP&S or BN) Interchange and a modest track for a PFE ice ramp and rack. 

I began by laying out the remaining full size track plan on the floor.  I then filled in fresh newsprint and re-plotted the yard throat.  The original full-sized plan had been destroyed by me walking on it and our dog deciding it might make a comfortable “nest.”  I laid out built-up turnouts for most of the yard throat and now have a short  list of “immediate” turnout needs. 

Benchwork construction is a combination of L-girder and stringer, open grid, and a couple of wall braces.  I prefer L-girder for most areas as the stringers can be adjusted to account for switch machine locations.  Open grid is useful for a reduced support structure thickness.  I need a roll-under passageway to the operator hole for the engine facility in the middle of the A/D Yard area.  Finally, I had a couple of spots where a single stringer supported by a wall bracket neatly filled a gap that was not easily spanned with an L-girder. 

Herewith some pictures of the completed base benchwork:

Base benchwork for the Eugene Arrival/Departure Yard.  Track plan is shown on the floor.  Plywood for this area has been lifted onto the benchwork in the back corner.

Benchwork connecting to the existing Eugene Yard in the pass-through.

Benchwork extending to our Exercise Room wall.  A hole has been broken through the wall for the limited trackage rights into this space.  The blocking I had installed during house construction for this hole is perfectly placed in height. 

Benchwork framing the operator hole.   A wall bracket support for the middle stringer can be seen against the back wall.  A larger opening in the stringer framing can be seen to the left of the operator hole.  This is where the turntable will go.

Another perspective on the operator hole.  Benchwork legs on either side of the passage way to the hole are 2x4s.  These legs will have handrails installed to aid the roll-through passageway use.

Monday, March 16, 2015


With the basic benchwork support erected, the next task on the mountain grade was to form the subroadbed.  I am using a combination of plywood and hardboard spline.  I have space for the “company village” (operator housing and section crew) at Cruzatte.  The housing and support structures need a base, so it seemed a good use of plywood for the entire siding scene.  For Wicopee, I used plywood for the end switches and the company spur, connecting the ends with spline.  Spline is used for the rest of the mountain grade.

Mountain grade benchwork on the left and in the distance.  Cruzatte siding is on the plywood on top.  Below is the spline for the grade up to Wicopee.  The lower level will duck into Tunnel 20 to get under Cruzatte.  The blue tape on the floor in the center of the picture marks the edge of the operator platform that will be on the left for the mountain grade.

Each of the three trestles on my mountain climb (Salt Creek, Noisy Creek and Shady Creek) has a plywood base well below grade.  The base will provide support for the trestle towers and clearance for scenery sculpting.  Eventually, each trestle will have a spine made of aluminum strap (two 1/8 by ¾ inch straps separated by 1/8 inch spacers) with the bridge girders fit around the spine.  My friend Richard C. rolled and formed the aluminum strap for me.  Unfortunately, I had not yet planned the Shady Creek trestle.  I actually built it (formed with spline) as an S-curve.  The temporary spline will stay in place until we can rework the spine.  Note all three trestles have curves running through them.

Initial mountain grade roadbed spline with Shady Creek Trestle on the upper line.

I needed temporary risers for the trestles with height adjustment ability.  This was done by cutting through the basic riser with a 45 degree cut and then splicing the adjustable riser at the desired height.  Doing this in the middle of a curve required an offset reference point which was provided by a combination square.  I employed this technique for both Shady Creek and Noisy Creek.

Setting the temporary riser heights for Shady Creek trestle.  The long level simply provides a good straight grade reference.  Adjustable riser inspired by Jerry B.

The “main event” on my mountain grade is the Salt Creek trestle.  This forms the turn back loop on the mountain grade.  It is a signature scene for my layout.  Indeed, photos taken at Salt Creek trestle serve as the background for this blog and as the inspiration for the railroad.  I decide to leap in from the beginning of construction and build the connecting roadbed around the ends of the aluminum strap spine.  I was able to accurately cut the riser heights, so the temporary risers are simpler than the ones used at Noisy and Shady Creeks.

Salt Creek trestle spine mounted with connecting roadbed spline formed around the spine ends (clamps are on the hardboard spline). 

Roadbed spline formed around the trestle spine.  The aluminum trestle spine has been painted black to help disguise it inside the eventual bridge girders.

I now have the core roadbed spline connecting McCredie Springs on the lower level to the roadbed descending from Cascade Summit.  The mainline roadbed is very nearly complete!

Sunday, March 8, 2015


The time has come to connect the separate ends of the railroad.  Roadbed and track have been built up through McCredie Springs and down from Cascade Summit.  Completing the mountain grade requires bringing both tracks along the basement east wall and then connecting via the loop at Salt Creek trestle along the basement south wall. 

Benchwork is in place along the east wall.  All of the wall brackets to support the upper mountain siding at Cruzatte have been mounted and the plywood subroadbed is in place. 

East wall benchwork with Cruzatte siding plywood subroadbed in place on the upper level.

Also under construction is the framework for the Wicopee siding..  Wicopee will be the middle siding of my mountain grade.  In my layout plan, the turnback loop on Salt Creek trestle follows upgrade after Wicopee rather than the real world arrangement wherein Wicopee follows the trestle.  Part of my benchwork plan for the turnback loop area provides for two large open spaces that will become removable scenery hatches for access to the track and the light fixtures overhead.  With the open spaces and the broad expanse, I decided to use open grid bechwork under Wicopee. 

Open grid benchwork construction for Wicopee. 

The Wicopee benchwork photo illustrates a couple more points for this area.  First, an open hatch area is indicated by the blue tape “x” on the floor, under the work stand.  Second, blue tape near the wall curves out and then back in toward the wall.  Though I have drawn the track plan with a straight line track, parallel to the wall, the actually space suggests introducing the serpentine alignment.  This is a mountain railroad!  Finally, barely visible behind the rolling stock boxes and spare benchwork legs is a curved line.  That curved line is where Salt Creek trestle will be located.  Indeed part of that line is formed by curved aluminum straps that eventually will become part of the trestle structure.

When showing the layout space, I long have had to wave my arms to describe to visitors how the ends of the railroad will be connected.  With benchwork in place on the east wall and more benchwork forming for Wicopee siding and Salt Creek trestle it should be much clearer to folk how this mountain railroad makes the grade.