Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Layout Progress as of 12/21/2011

I have decided to go with the full length seven-span Etowah River bridge as discussed in the previous update. With the bridge length determined, I had to add support to the roadbed at the north end of the structure. Eventually, the spline roadbed will be cut away and replaced with a 42" length of aluminum channel. The deck girder bridge will then be built in place around the channel and cast plaster piers will be added below.

» Photos

This "before" photo shows the original roadbed support before the bridge length was determined:

This "after" photo shows the additional benchwork constructed, including the riser that supports the roadbed at the north end of the bridge:

The additional benchwork will also support the 1/4" plywood that will make up the river bottom.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Layout Progress as of 12/18/2011

While working on the Etowah River scene, I realized some additional benchwork needs to be added around the bridge before track can be installed. Before adding the extra support, however, I needed a way to see exactly where it has to go. To do this, I created some full-size mockups of the bridge scene. The actual bridge is comprised of seven deck girder bridge sections supported by concrete piers. I will eventually be using Micro Engineering 80' ballasted deck bridges supported by cast plaster or cement piers. The following two photos show the mockups I did. The first photo shows the complete non-compressed bridge (seven sections), while the second photo shows a compressed version of the scene with only six sections (one section over the river removed):

I wanted to try out the compressed version because I believed the full size bridge would be too big. Also, six 80' deck bridge sections comes out to an even 36" in N-scale, which means I could use one 3-foot length of aluminum U-channel to be the supporting backbone of the bridge. However, when looking at the two photos the river just seems too narrow in the compressed version. I am also considering using a compressed bridge with the full-size river; in this case, the road would be eliminated. This option is probably not going to be selected because that road is one of my first ever railfanning locations and is a significant reason why I chose to model this area in the first place.

Whatever option I choose, the mockups are a quick way to visualize a completed scene without too much effort (time or money).


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Layout Progress as of 12/7/2011

A significant milestone was reached on the CSX Dixie Line this week when the final mainline roadbed was installed on the lower level of the layout. There is now continuous spline roadbed from Emerson, GA at the south end of the lower level all the way to the helix at Tilton, GA at the north end of the lower level. This clears the way to finish designing and intslling roadbed for the remaining sidings and industry tracks on the lower level.

» Photos

Looking north from the dropdown gate (far right) to the Etowah River bridge:

Etowah River bridge:

Looking south from over Calhoun, GA to the Etowah River bridge (distance):

Looking south over the entire Calhoun, GA scene:

Looking north over the entire Calhoun, GA scene:

Looking south over the Tilton, GA scene towards the end of the aisle. The north end of the Resaca passing siding is in the foreground, while the siding itself curves around and ends (for now) before reaching Calhoun:

Looking north over the Tilton, GA scene towards the Helix. The Etowah River bridge can be seen in the distance beyond the helix:


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Layout Progress as of 12/4/2011

My current project is to get all of the the lower level track installed. Trackwork has been in place for almost two years on the Emerson, GA scene, which is the southern most scene on the layout. The following photos show all of the new spline roadbed that I have been working on moving north from Emerson.

» Photos

The first scene north of Emerson is Etowah River. In this photo, you can see the completed spline roadbed along the long curve connecting the dropdown gate across the doorway to the train room (far right) with the Etowah River bridge (far left):

Here is a straight on view of the bridge. This will be a five span deck girder bridge when completed:

North of the Etowah River is Calhoun, GA. I have not yet finalized the design in this scene; you can see in the photos where I have risers temporarily clamped in place so I can move a spline around to experiment with different track alignments. This view looks south with the Etowah River bridge in the distance:

Looking north at the same scene with the temporary track alignment:

Just to the north of Calhoun is Tilton, GA. This is the final scene on the lower level before the track disappears into the helix on its way to Chattanooga, TN. Spline roadbed construction is well under way in this scene:

Looking north at Tilton toward the helix you can see the newly completed spline roadbed in the foreground leading to the double track helix. The completed track connects the helix to Emerson; you can also see the new spline roadbed at Etowah River in the distance: