Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Building a curved steel trestle - Part 1

Some time ago I had picked up a copy of the Model Railroader Bridges & Trestles book as a reference.  More recently I picked up a Micro Engineering steel trestle set which should have more than enough parts for this particular project.
While the prototype bridge that this model will represent is in a straight alignment, it will be necessary for it to be curved to fit in where it will be on my layout.  From the book and some photos on the web I studied how these type of steel trestles were curved.

Micro Engineering track holds it shape very well so after getting a section of track aligned over the path of the bridge I used that to make a cardboard template matching the needed curve of the bridge.

Using the template as a guide I assembled the basic bridge structure with some of the girder sections from the kit.
The bents in this kit were much taller than needed for this project.   I cut them to the length needed to reach the edge of the shore on each side of the river and made some concrete footings from styrene tube and glued these on the bottoms of the legs.  For added strength I filed notches on the outer sides of the top on each side of the bents so they would lock into the under side of the small sections instead of the girders just resting on them.

This is the stage that the project is at right now.  The cardboard template is seen sitting on the top of the bridge.  Quite a bit of fitting and testing to get everything the way I want it but it's getting there.  The scenery in the back will need to get done before this bridge is permanently installed so I'll save that for a future post.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

5 years of working on the railroad

Yup, it's been 5 years since I started building the N scale Palisade Canyon Lines layout.  All of the goals set one year ago were completed.

During the next 12 months I plan to finish the Palisade Canyon section all the way around the end of the room to the door way.   This is about 15 linear feet and will include adding 7 more bridges and two tunnel portals.  The photo below shows the area I am working on now.  This view shows several of the steps of the canyon walls being created.  Hopefully this will eventually blend in with the finished part on the left which is on the Harney section. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Mountain, River, and Sky

The depth of the layout in this corner will be at the limits of my reach so I am starting work on some of the scenery in that area now so I won't mess up things in the front reaching in to do it later.   Starting with the sub structures that will be needed to support the scenery.

Peg board is being installed to support of mountains that will be blended into the already finished mountains on the adjoining section shown on the right in this photo.  I have also been continuing with the sky painting above the mountains.

The bed of the river will be made from tempered hard board and that will need to be supported.  Once the path was determined additional 2 inch wide strips were glued into place.  The welders clamps were purchased to hold the modules of the Asian layout together but also come in quite useful around the shop.
Once the supports were all in place the river itself was glued in place and held with clamps while drying.

When all these sub structures are in place then the land forms can be started.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The route through the canyon

With the basic bench work for the Palisade Canyon section of the layout in place I have been working on the track alignments.   Lots of experimenting here to get the optimal track grades, curve radius's and clearances in the area where the lines cross one another.  So far everything looks good with grade on the upper line staying under 1.4% and curve radius's on both lines at over 24".

With sub roadbed held temporarily in place with screws and the tracks and skewed bridge being held with clamps the tallest and longest cars are run through to check for clearances.
The back or upper track has been gaining elevation since Weso to get to the height where it could pass over the front track.  Ends up that it still came up about 1/8" short so some of the track on the Harney section is being pulled up and adjusted.
Creating a mock up of the upper line after is crosses over the lower line I could see that a solid earth right of way would block the view of the brass bridge.  The gray in this photo was photo shopped to simulate the fascia.
So what I am considering is having the area in front of the 200 ft brass bridge being a lower area and carrying the line across it with a viaduct bridge. To simulate this I again used photo shop.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

It's bench work season

It seems that I tend to make bench work during this time of year.  In the afternoons the sun is now low enough behind the redwood trees to shade the front of the garage but it is still warm outside.  I pull my table saw out into the driveway and get to work.  This gives me the winter to work on the track, wiring, and scenery inside the train room.

For this next section of the layout I elected to go with a more conventional type of bench work instead of building modules.  The reasons for this are that it needed to span the window and with very simple wiring not much effort would be saved building it as a module.

In the panorama photo below the new section can be seen.  This is about 15 linear feet of new layout around the end of the room and extends all the way to the door just off scene to the left where a lift out section will be. 

I had already cut 2 inch wide strips from 1/2 inch plywood to build this bench work section.  The pieces were cut to the length needed in the garage and brought into the train room to be assembled.  The shorter left over pieces are being used as connecting plates.

So what happened to the test track / return loop that was in this location ?  It is being recycled again, this time as sub roadbed for this new section of the layout.

And with the first couple of sub roadbed sections held temporarily in place so I can verify that I am leaving enough straight track on both ends of the new brass bridge for longest rolling stock to get through OK.