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.