Rounding out the primary construction tasks for the mountain grade, I spent a week building the operator platform alongside Wicopee and Cruzatte. This platform is set at 18 inches above the main floor. With the climbing railroad and two levels of track, the platform height is a compromise. The best platform to track heights occur around Wicopee siding and the RR-East end of Cruzatte. The RR-West end of Cruzatte is high above the platform, such that even I (standing at 6 ft 4 in) resort to stools. The grade climbing up from McCredie Springs in this same area is about belt height. Compromises.
I used the same design and construction that I used for the Cascade Summit platform. A series of low bents were built using 2x4s and plywood sheathing. Joists were made from 2x4, with three used for the three feet width of the platform. Diagonal braces keep everything solid, avoiding the Sacramento Northern Arcade trestle collapse. Floor underlayment ¾ inch plywood caps the 2x4 joists. Finally, the top of the platform was sheathed with 1/8 inch tempered hardboard. 2x4 handrail posts support handrails formed from an L-girder made with a 1x2 capped by a 1x3. All of this makes for a very solid platform and handrail system.
Operator platform for the mountain grade under construction.
Operator platform sheathed with plywood at the Wicopee end.
Completed operator platform for the mountain grade seen from the RR-West end of Cruzatte. The two-step stool will be handy for viewing (or working on) the west switch of Cruzatte.
RR-East end of Wicopee on the lower level.
RR-West end of Wicopee with the Salt Creek Trestle span in the distance.
I am rapidly closing in on the last of the major “sawdust projects” before the NMRA National Convention. More importantly, my operating crew now has proper access to the mountain grade.