Saturday, June 9, 2018


Moving up the line and back into a corner in my railroad room, my terrain forming efforts arrived at Noisy Creek Trestle.  The railroad exits Tunnel 10 and its rock shed, crosses the trestle and plunges back into Tunnel 9 which has a rock shed on its face as well.

I began work in the area of the trestle in what has become a standard procedure.  I located and placed terrain support styrofoam planks against the walls to outline the upper reaches of the terrain. I then began adding foam around the fixed elements of the trestle--the end abutments and within the tower pier support platforms.

Initial terrain forming around Noisy Creek Trestle. Back wall terrain styrofoam planks have been placed and the fussy work around the trestle tower support platforms and end abutments has begun.

I needed to build up the foam to the height of the tower platforms. One might recall from my previous posts on trestles that I mounted the base platforms on diagonally cut 2x4 posts to provide for height adjustments.  
The total assemblies were on the order of six inches tall.  The foam needed to come up to the top of the tower platforms and surround them.  From this base, I could build up more foam to the terrain profile needed to encase the tower leg piers or other supports.  I then began filling in the space between the wall terrain profile planks and the trestle tower platforms.

Filling the space between the wall and the trestle.  

As I completed the slope behind the trestle, I also worked on the terrain around the rock sheds on each end and on covering Tunnel 9.  Working on tunnels, I find it best to define first the terrain at the ends of the tunnel around the portals.  I then move on to create the terrain between the portals, covering the tunnel.  Note in all of this, I do the detail work first and then move on to the less critical large terrain sections.

Finally, I built up the terrain at the base of the trestle, beginning to form a water course.  This "drainage" eventually joins up to form Salt Creek on my railroad.  This is a matter of logically joining the modeled drainage into a semblance of what happens in nature.  Once the rough terrain was formed with planks of styrofoam, I filled the gaps with spray foam insulation.  Finally, I formed all of this by carving with knives and my Surform scraper.

Rough terrain base formed for Noisy Creek Trestle and Tunnel 9.  

With the terrain base formed, it was time to apply Sculptamold.  With this activity I finally arrived at a task where an extra pair of hands would be a big help.  Calling on John B. for help, I attacked covering the foam with Sculptamold. I originally thought the two access hatches I created on both ends of the trestle would be used to come up from underneath. I certainly used them this way during trestle construction.  I now understand these hatches also need replacement coverings as footpads.  I needed to climb up onto the layout to get access to the back corner of the Noisy Creek scene.  That was a tight spot under the ceiling and above the railroad, but one does what one needs to do.

I am applying Sculptamold to the rough terrain behind Noisy Creek Trestle. This was a very tight spot!  One wears "paint clothes" for this task!

Although I have yet to create and install the scenery plugs for my access hatches on each end of the trestle, the scene with terrain formed and covered is coming together.  I was happy to add a photo of the "completed" scene to my layout design and construction presentation given just a few days later at the NMRA Pacific Northwest Region Convention in Portland.

Completed base terrain for Noisy Creek Trestle.  This view replicates a railfan view from above Tunnel 9.

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