As my railroad settles in—literally—I have found several more roadbed anomalies. A big part of this is that the “complete” railroad has gone through a full year of seasons and with that changes in moisture levels. As we were re-staging the railroad in September, we found a dramatic sag at the RR-West end of the future Noisy Creek trestle. The pilot couplers on a pair of SD40Rs dug right into the ties on the trestle. I still do not understand why the many SD45s that have run past this same point have not found the same fault, as they have the same frame, wheelbase and bolster to coupler distances as the SD40R. Nonetheless, a severe sag was revealed. Needing to correct that sag, I also tackled a couple of other nearby roadbed anomalies I had grown intolerant of.
Sag at the RR-West end of Noisy Creek Trestle. The board on top of the track represents a continuous grade extending down from the Cruzatte siding. The dip at the4 junction between trestle and standard roadbed is depressed by more than a half inch as indicated by the spacer between the track and the board. Yikes!
The correction for this sag involved removing the wall mountings for the three roadbed support brackets on the right. They were then reattached to the wall at new, higher, locations, beginning with the bracket on the right that supports both standard roadbed and the trestle central spine.
Test train approaching the remounted Noisy Creek Trestle support. No more pilot coupler digging into ties!
The second area attacked was a hump in the middle of Cruzatte. I previously dealt with one further downhill. This one was at the uphill end of the same eight-foot plywood roadbed panel. Chalk this one up to the rapid construction needed in 2015 to complete the railroad for the NMRA National Convention in Portland. Add in a year of seasons and the hump had become an issue, particularly for long freight cars. Comparing roadbed issues I have had with Cruzatte’s set of plywood panels with Wicopee’s complete spline construction without issues, I can see I should have done the same roadbed at Cruzatte. I will soldier on with the current roadbed, but continue to adjust it until I gain satisfaction.
Hump in the midst of Cuzatte. Look at the area around the plywood joint.
Correcting this hump required sanding down most of the cork roadbed over the plywood subroadbed joint.
Success at Cruzatte.
The final bit of roadbed tweaking was at the RR-West end of Salt Creek Trestle. I had worked in this area before, but now a roadbed sag revealed itself further up-grade. I fixed the sag by applying vinyl spackling compound. This was easily sanded to the desired grade—much faster and a better outcome than my previous effort filling with glued-on sheets of balsa.
Roadbed sag illustrated by the gap under the rule between about 12 and 26 inches on the rule (upper scale).
Track removed RR-West of Salt Creek Trestle as part of the grade smoothing.
The test train is doing much better through the approach to Salt Creek Trestle.
Although I have conducted operations on my railroad for the past year and a half, I continue to adjust both roadbed and track as I find issues. This is a natural part of the settling in process for a model railroad. I am now conducting tests with the most demanding equipment—trailer flat cars. They have a very long distance from truck bolster and king pin to coupler face. Add their long length and one has a device that finds the vertical imperfections in trackwork. Now is the time to clear these issues—before scenery!