Starting homasote spline roadbed (rather than foam board)

Last week I started putting in the “brackets” and roadbed under the new roadbed.  This supports from Madrid to Perham Junction and back up the Barnjam branch.  I will not go into the details of the design.  That is for another post, this one is more about the choice of homasote spline for the roadbed.

First of all, I really like foam as a roadbed support.  I was part of the Eastern Loggers, one (if not the) first Foam layouts.  Click here to see the layout design.  To my knowledge the techniques were developed by John Burchnall back in 1980 or so.  He never published an article, but did give many clinics at NMRA Conventions, Regionals, and Shows.  As a kid (14-20 years old), using my Eastern Loggers experience, I build small layouts with foam including extruded foam.  None of those layout got beyond grading but foam is my experience.  Bill Darnaby made foam based construction mainstream when he used extruded foam to build  his large Maumee layout and then wrote about it in MR (two articles).  MR staff and others went on to build layouts and write about them. It’s my understanding that John’s clinics inspired Bill Darnaby to try foam construction.  There was also a fellow who built an 100% foam HOn3 4×8′ layout and displayed it at conventions and shows.  He had products for foam construction.  (as a narrow gauge enthusiast I liked his layout).  I used foam on the sections of my first SR&RL layout and expected to for this too even though my layout design is a complicated nolix with mushroom.  Bill Darnaby’s layout is a nolix as is the n-scale B&O Chillicothe sub built by my friend Paul.   My thinking…If they could do it…why no me?

However, as construction started I got concerned about a few things.  Frist of all, using extruded foam was making it to complicated to ensure smooth grades through the curves.  This Sn2 SR&RL has 1.7% grades and if I accidentally go much higher than that, the finicky forney’s may come to a halt.  Secondly, I got concerned that the foam would not contour properly through the corners.  Finally, what roadbed would I use?  Cascade Roadbed, the most recent producers of milled homasote roadbed, has closed business.  There are other products I could use for roadbed and I could cookie cutter something.

Given my concerns, I’ve decided to try homasote spline.

I first became aware of homasote spline from Allen McClelland’s V&O layout (visit and articles) and layouts built by others who have been on his work crews (Gerry Albers is one local modeler who uses it on his VGN layout).  I’ve become aware that there are multiple spline techniques.  A MRH article describes a few different spline construction types/materials and their pro’s and cons.  Review it if you want to know about the other techniques.  I’m choosing to try Homasote splines for the following reasons:

  1. No need to add roadbed (cork or homasote) to the top
  2. Screws together with drywall screws, no glue required
  3. Will hold spikes for hand laid track
  4. Homasote is available in my local Home Depot and possibly Lowes (look for it with insulation as it is sound insulation)
  5. Can be thin enough for multi-deck (Jeff Ott has used it to build a huge Mussaubi Range GN layout with multiple decks.  He is/was a real railroad track specialist)

I’m not aware of published articles on homasote spline but I’m sure there are some.  To learn about the construction, I watched Matt Goodman’s youtube videos.  He has several videos that show and describe the construction on his layout.

  • Homasote Spline Cutting Fixture
  • Layout Update 5 – The last half shows some completed roadbed, and the stops.  The roadbed rests directly on the roadbed
  • Layout Update 6 – Shows the first run, but also shows constructed roadbed, double tracking.  It also shows him fitting foam around the roadbed
  • Layout Update 7 – Shows him constructing roadbed
  • Layout Update 8 – Spine Painting and Off-Layout Assembly – Shows him build roadbed off-layout with a jig and adding it to the layout.  You see him driving screws, marking where they are.  So simple.
  • Layout Update 13 – Bypass Construction
  • More videos – Matt has many more videos that show construction.  Just look as his Layout Updates on Matt’s YouTube channel.

At this time, I’m trying the screw together technique.  I’m starting with the section of the layout from Madrid to Eustis.  Part of it is hidden track under Barnjam branch, so could not be built of foam anyway.  I figure I have nothing to loose.  If it does not workout I can revert to foam based roadbed.

For Sn2, I plan to use three 1/2″ homasote strips to form the roadbed.  It’s a bit wider than I want.  I’m plan to use a knife to shave the edge at 45-60 degrees to represent the slope of the roadbed as seen on Mainline railroads and yes the SR&RL.  The SR&RL did all it could to keep it’s track dry and above ground level.  Maine winters were harsh and I presume the the freeze and thaw cycles played havoc on any roadbed at ground level.

Here are a few photos showing the start of brackets and roadbed.

The brackets extending from the wall. They are 1/2″ (nominal) plywood and stick out 16″ from the backdrop. At the sink it narrows to 10″. The grade coming up from Madrid is roughly 1.7%. I do not put in every bracket, instead I put one in every 3-4 feet. This is because there is a 1/8″ tolerance on the height as I install them, by filling in later brackets after the roadbed is in I reduce the chances of a sawtooth support.

Here is the first homasote spline from Madrid toward Reeds. This will all be hidden under Barnjam branch mill site. This is 1.7% grade.  You can see where I cam back and added the intermediate brackets.  I’ve not yet determined how I’ll support the corner.

Forming the curve. I cut plywood to 36″ radius on inside and outside to use as a form. The form is clamped to the spline to form a curve. Then spline is screwed together with drywall screws. The spline here is 4 wide. The extra width was added to space the masonite protector a finger width width away. The masonite protects will keep the rolling stock from falling off the back should a derailment occur. The front will be protected too, possibly with acrylic or 3″ foam extension forward. That way I can get my hands in and re-rail cars if needed.

Posted in Comentary, Current Layout, Layout Construction | Leave a comment

2020 Wrapup

2020 has ended with lots of action here on the web site.  For 10 or so years, I’d been wandering in the hobby.  No rudder.  I would dream of S, Sn3, and Sn2…Even HO and more.  These wanderings resulted in more dreaming and failed to deliver on a model railroad.  Over that time, I did help others with their layouts and operations.  Built my own back yard ride on railroad  with my Father.  Additionally I’m engaged with local modelers on an HO Free-mo style layout.  Don’t forget I was the father of a young boy and have a career managing a team of software developers.  So I have plenty of valid reasons for not having a layout.  But the wanderings let to lots of facebook and youtube time rather than modeling.

In October I put the excuses aside.  I got focused on the Sn2 SR&RL.  To invigorate my 2-foot enthusiasm, I spent a week watching 2-foot videos (rather than modern Diesels or how to videos).  Specifically, I watched videos of the 2020 WW&F  Grand Reunion.  These videos really got my juices flowing.  There it was SR&RL #6 pulling trains in HD with full sound and color!  That video directly translated to my SR&RL…Or maybe it was this Day Zero video…who cares what video it was.  There are many great videos of the Grand Reunion.  Just search, watch and then watch again….Then listen to them while you work or do email or blog (as I’m doing now)…These videos get the juices flowing.  I’m going to the next Grand Reunion if I can!

Another change I made was to start interacting directly with other like minded modelers.  I’ve been reaching out and making the connections.  This has led to good discussions, inspiration and comradery that one does not get from youtube, blogs or even  Add these to a weekly modeler’s zoom with the local HAVOC group and I have the fuel that has propelled the end of this year!  If you do not have connections reach out to people, not just like modelers but any modelers.  Give and Take!  It’s kind of like dating without emotional stresses!

Lastly, life has changed.  My son is now 16.  He needs me less and less.  Better to put my efforts into me, my health, my hobbies, my career than watch over him.  COVID-19 has not been brought me down.  I’m sorry to those of you it has been a challenge!  I’m blessed that work continues nearly as before, except I work from home.  Working from home has given me more time at home to work on myself rather than an hour each day in the car.  I hope my work has changed for the future.  I do miss seeing my parents and going into their home.  At age 86, they are playing it safe.  I’ve missed going to train shows and op-sessions.  I’m now doing monthly operating session on a layout in Canada.  Yes, I fire up my Proto-Throttle and run modern Diesels while the layout owner conducts and works as the brakeman.  These remote ops are cool and I might look to make some parts of my layout “remote-able”.

As you’ve noticed, serious efforts went into the layout as 2020 came to an end.  Here are a few of the posts for those that are new to this blog:

I’ve had fun reminiscing through photos of my old layouts.  They are nestogic to me and motivating to get that feel back.  The layouts were joyful…Working on the layout, running them, just seeming what I built and reflecting.  I’ve missed such feelings and I’m highly motivated to get that back.

I’ve found more photos of Layout #3.  Many from the operating session hosted for the 2005 NMRA National Convention.  Look for a future post.

Finally, I’ve made posts about the layouts of my two-foot modeling friends

If you’ve read this far, thanks!  I appreciate all of you even if there are only a few.  I’ve added a link in the right so that you can subscribe by email.

In 2021, I look forward to a great year of model railroading and friendship.  I’ll report on it here.  I expect you’ll read about:

  • Completed backdrops
  • Roadbed installations and then trackwork (30-50% of layout)
  • Limited operations on a few locations
  • Grades, track tuning, and equipment tuning
  • Turnouts and other track considerations
  • Completed mushroom benchwork and more construction
  • LED lighting installations
  • Prototype, track layout, and scene design choices
  • A more detailed track plan as it comes to life
  • Drop downs, lift ups, and lift outs.
  • Setting up Sn2 Free-mo with others and other model train road trips!

I’m sure there will be more I write about and hopefully not less!  Thanks for joining me in 2020 and I look forward to bring more to you in 2021!

Thanks to all my model railroad friends!  Thanks to my family!





Posted in Comentary | Leave a comment

Harry decides to flip decks on his Sn2 SR&RL

A while back I designed a version of Farmington for Harry Downey. Recently he and I have been corresponding about the decks on his SR&RL layout.  As these discussions have progressed Harry has decided to flips his top deck for his lower deck.  Moving Kingfield and Bigelow to the top while Phillips and Rangeley get demoted to the lower deck.  He can do this because of his construction and because he’s not yet connected the decks.

Here are a few concept diagrams to show you Harry’s situation and you can watch a youtube video of Harry explaining his efforts.

Harry’s Kingfield deck. This was his lower deck. Notice the door at left. Would require him to crawl into the room. Raising Kingfield to the top deck makes it a 60″ nod under.

The middle deck is Strong an Farmington. This is a concept I proposed to Harry, to have all the circling around the with multiple tracks visible. Harry had been calling this the Helix Room. Is original plan was for a 4 loop no-lix to get from Kingfield deck up to Phillips. In the end, we each concluded that the distance between decks would be only 5-7″, to small to view. Hence I made this proposal for “helix room”

The Phillips deck. This is the concept for Phillips to Rangeley. Notice that it does not cross the door so makes sense as the bottom deck.

After reviewing the concepts and talking with Tom Sullivan, Harry is now planning for a lift.  Lifts are reasonable to consider when trains are short 4-6 actual feet.  They can actually be lifted by a human as Tom is currently planning to do.  I even posted a video showing how easy a human powered lift can be.  Harry has rejected the unguided human lift, so is still working out the details of a human power lift with constraints.

Here are the concepts of how the lift might fit into the room.  The lift itself when at the top position (Kingfield deck…now that it is to be the top)  will allow a human to walk into the Lift Room (new name for the Helix room) to walk under the lift.  Strong still requires a lift up to allow operators to pass by too.

The concept diagram for the top deck, Kingfield level.

Middle, Strong to Farmington Deck. The lift has tracks entering from both sides and there would be a lift up just north of Strong as tracks go north to Phillips, enter the lift, and get lowered to Phillips.

Bottom deck, Phillips to Rangeley.

As of 1/2/21 Harry is process of swapping the upper and lower decks.  I look forward to seeing how he progresses in 2021!



Posted in Layout Design | 1 Comment

Phillips planning

I started putting up backdrop last week with the goal to complete the upper level backdrop around the room by the end of this weekend.   Before the backdrop can go up, I needed locate a few key elements which required refining the conceptual plan.

One of the more complicated locations of the layout is Phillips.  It is complicated because Phillips itself is complicated and because the room complexities.  I’ve allocated 25′ for Phillips, but it must bend under the stairs and past the entrance door to the railroad.  Both ends of the 25′ must turn around walls.

Above is the conceptual diagram of Phillips. The complexities stairs and entrance are apparent. I used the stairs to my advantage to bend the layout in as the prototype bends. The diagram shows the refined locations for Salmon Hole and Covered bridges.

There are several key refinements I wanted to locate.

  • Salmon Hole Bridge, as backdrop and layout support must be lower at the bridge.  I had been struggling if the bridge should be parallel to the wall as shown or angled in the corner.  In the end, I chose parallel to the wall.  The benefit is it will make it seem further from Strong to Phillips but the disappointment is that the siding in front of the toothpick mill will be shorter, too short to hold a train and I loose the long fill between bridge and mill.
  • Backdrop directly under the stairs.  The stairs are outside the room, but the layout goes under them.  The backdrop will not be full height below the stairs, the higher the backdrop, the more Phillips must extend out into the room.  To far into the room impacts isle space and can conflict with Kingfield and the winter store.
  • The Phillips covered bride had to be located for support and lower backdrop requirements.

Here is the 1916 ICC map for Phillips main yard and that was my primary focus to mockup.

Phillips ICC map.  The covered bridge as at the far right.  The bend in Phillip is great for an inside corner of a room, or in my case an outside corner so I can operate from the west side of the tracks as works best for most other locations on the SR&RL, specifically Strong and Farmington.

While one can work everything out in CAD, that does not prove that it will work to the eye.   To satisfy my need for visual comfort I reviewed images of my old layouts (reused the same Phillips sections) and mocked it up in place.

Here’s the old layout.  The sections no longer exist the standards were tighter than I wanted on my future layouts (one I’m building now 15 years later).

Taken during a 2005 NMRA National Convention ops session, this image shows the South end of Phillips yard. This simple layout fit on two 5 foot long sections and operated just fine. This version of Phillips had #6 turnouts and 32″ minimum radius. Hopefully even with #8 turnouts and 36″ minimum radius I can capture this same simple feel.

Here is the far end of the yard, again during a 2005 NMRA Convention ops session. The turntable and engine house never got built, but they would fit. The yard kept one operator active all night.  This image shows how easy it was capture the feeling of Phillips even after omitting some of the lesser aspects.

Here is the mockup for the new layout.  Simply laid out with foam.

Phillips mockup. The first track track to the left is the Brayman track and the second goes to the turntable. The board represents the turntable and that is followed by a cutout of the Kingfield engine house (sufficient visual substitute). The rest of the yard bends to the right.

Close up of the turntable location and engine house. The yard turns off behind. The track to Wilbur store will just curve around the backdrop support. The yard would continue onto the second piece of foam and onto the Covered Bridge. The mockup for the Covered Bridge can be seen in the distance.  The curves are laid out using fast tracks sweep sticks

Al Churella and I have discussed operations in Phillips.  On his layout he indicates that the Brayman track was probably used for sorting cars.  Ever since that conversation I’ve hoped to include it on my layout.  The Brayman track track was quite long, mine might only be 2-3 feet long, but just that short length will be useable to sort cars and build trains.  Similarly, I think the Wilbur track was used for sorting cars.

The Fast Tracks sweep sticks are great for laying out track.  They are designed to fit between the rails of flex track to hold that track at a specific radius.   I bought a bunch of 36″ radius (my minimum radius) so that I could assemble a 180 degree curve (required for the peninsula.  Additionally, I purchased a couple 32″ and 34″ radius just in case I need a tighter radius.  Even better I got some larger radius that I can use for easements.

What I find best about the sweeps is holding them up to see what curve will fit in a specific space.  I also plan to hold them up as I bend roadbed to make sure I do not put in kinks or make the roadbed too tight.  I think they are worth the cost.

Here’s a link to HOn3 36″ sweeps or Sn2 36″ sweeps.  The only difference is the laser cut letter.  Click around to find the sweeps that are right for you.  They come in various scales and gauges.

Phillips will extend beyond the entrance. You can see the turnout for Brayman track. The points on that turnout will be on a fixed portion of the layout. 6-12″ beyond the points will be a drop down. The door is 36″ and I hope to have 30″ for the drop down. This mockup proves that should be possible.

Phillips will cross the entrance.  I expect 1/3 will be fixed and 2/3 will be a 30″ drop down.  The drop down will be 8″ wide and contain scenery.  Most of the time, the drop under will be fixed in the up position.  This will result in a 50-52″ clearance duck under.  That is plenty for me do duck and swoop under.  I’m hoping the clearance will be be a more like 40″ wide, rather than the 30″ of the drop down.  I find the wider the duck under the easier it is to swoop under rapidly. The lower deck will also pass under this area.  It will have a lift up, which  will most often be up, and only lowered for trains crossing.

I could go on and on about Phillips and my thoughts to model it.  But this was enough analysis for the installation of the backdrop.   Enough diversion, I need to get back to working on the actual installation!



Posted in Current Layout, Layout Construction, Layout Design, Phillips | 3 Comments

40 Feet of backdrop

Having proved that I could build mushroom benchwork, I’ve changed directions. Rather than continue to build the mushroom into the middle of the room, I decided to start working the perimeter of the room while I can still move materials around.  I’m starting on the upper deck and continuing around to Strong, where the peninsula meets the wall.  I plan to put in the grade (1.7%) and retest train and running.

Before I could put in foam or roadbed, I had to 1) pass the electrical box and 2) hang the backdrop.  For the electrical box, to angle the layout away from the wall, so that I can stand up behind the backdrop and access the electrical box.  For the backdrop I reused the styrene backdrop from my old layout.  The styrene had to be reduced from 36″ to 22″ height.  Phil came over and helped me complete that.  Tonight my wife and son helped me screw it up.

Following are a few photos of the progress.

Phil is working to cut the score and snap the styrene. We have have completed the longest single score and snap. The styrene is .060″ and 8 feet long. We had to cut through the joints that had a second sheet of styrene backing and green squadron putty. Took many passes to get through. I appreciate Phil coming over, his presence and efforts pushed me through to make progress.

To get passed the electrical box and over the laser cutter, I angled the layout through the corner. To do that, I put up 2×4″s horizontally and then applied a pieces of 3/4″ plywood vertically to which the backdrop was hung. The layout will only be 8-12″ wide in this area. The lower deck will be of similar width, removable, and suspended from the two plywood sections hanging down. I’ll remove it to work on the electrical or to run the laser.  Left of the backdrop you can see a 1×3″ top and 1×2″ bottom.  The backdrop is screwed directly to the horizontal 1 by’s.  Where ever there are studs, I’ve put up 1 by’s (mostly 1×3″).

Looking the other way, here is the rest of the backdrop. While the layout is a no-lix around the walls, I was able to keep the backdrop level as the Barnjam branch will be running down the wall ending at the far end of the backdrop. The styrene backdrop easily wraps around a water pipe (vent stack) and concrete column. There is no support for the backdrop on the column, it is suspended from the walls on each side of the column.

It’s was very pleasing to see the blue backdrop go up…Next step here is to put in the supports.  The mainline will be a constant 1.7% grade downward.


Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

In Progress – Tom Sulivan’s On30 SR&RL – Lower Deck

Tom Sullivan is building an On30 version of the SR&RL. You may remember that I designed an upper deck (Kingfield to Bigelow) for him. Here are progress photos on the lower deck, along with a rough trackplan.  I appreciate Tom providing the photos for me to share.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Farmington transfer track

Here is Tom’s track plan. The red shading marks the proposed upper deck. Since this draft Tom has tweaked the trackwork to better represent the prototype. The most significant change being how the F&M leaves Strong.

North end of Farmington’s transfer yard. The locomotive is a BLI C16 that he had for his previous On30 layout.

Using some buildings from his previous layout, Tom created this stand-in for the Russel Box Shop. While it may be a stand-in, the structure captures the feel of a Franklin County mill.

Tom’s interim Barker Stream covered bridge. Tom allocated plenty of length for the approaches. This will be a nice scene.

Tom’s South Strong has a potato house. The model at rear was inspired by a WW&F potato house and was on his previous layout. The prototype SR&RL South Strong had a spur much like this with a building at the rear. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that industry as a potato house.

Tom’s Strong Depot with Linwood Moody out front.

A train is entering Strong from the Bigelow branch. Tom is playing around with old structures to get the feel of how Strong will come together.

Looking back over Strong. I love the way the scene wraps around in the distance. Seems to go on and on…

Posted in Layout Tours | 2 Comments

Sn2 layout traveled to shows

A look back…  The original Sn2 layout traveled to Gary Kohler’s 2-Foot meet, later the Midwest 2-foot show.  The original layout sections were built form 4″ of foam board, laminated with plywood and Masonite.  Gary Kohler provided the photos, he thinks they were probably taken by Craig Stratton.   One print is documented as being 2000, so I’m guessing the other two are the year before and the year after.

The first year, I had just started on the Phillips sections. Track (Shinohara HOn3 flex and #6 turnouts) was in place but not wired.  Nor did I have a locomotive.  I took it to promote Sn2 and to determine how the design would travel. Mark Harris brought the equipment and painted Strong depot. The Phillips depot mockup is at rear.  Mark sold me some of the equipment (not the caboose nor passenger car) as he’d move onto On2 by then.

2000 was the first year of the full loop. Again Mark brought more rolling stock and again I bought more of it (but he continued to hold onto the caboose and passenger car). I had motive power this year, an Sn2 critter.  The view is looking over Strong to Phillips at the far end. The mockup is of the Strong Creamery.

The layout looking from Phillips back to Strong. In this 2001 or 2002 photo, one can see the Salmon Hole bridge at right. Scenery was started too. The dickey bridge is barely visible beyond. I’m the guy with the camera talking with Al Churella. Al probably has his 20′ feet of On2 SR&RL from Rangeley to Marbles.  This year, the setup was round tables, and I was just beyond the cafeteria.  So folks pulled up chairs to eat at the layout and watch trains go by.

Appearing at the 2003 Sn3 Symposium in St. Louis. This shot shows Salmon Hole bridge and Dickey Rd. Overpass behind. The scenery is much improved.

A Backwoods Miniatures 0-4-0 porter pulled the trains during the Symposium.  Here it is heading over the Dickey Road bridge.

One of two Gilpin cabooses on the rear of the train. This view is similar to prototype photos taken from Dickey Rd.

The setup of this layout was easier than setting up the Free-mo modules.  I did not have to cart legs around.  Just lay the section on the tables and pin and bolt them, plug in the wiring and add the connector rails.  I and running in an less than 2 hours.

To see a Photo Tour of Layout #1 and a trackplan click on the link





Posted in Layout #1 - Portable, Layouts | 1 Comment

Tom Sullivan’s On30 SR&RL Upper Deck – K&DR Again

A few of us have been helping Tom Sullivan refine his On30 SR&RL. He has responded by taking in the critiques and making the adjustments to make his version of the SR&RL look more and more like the photos in the books. His lower deck represents Farmington to Phillips. Farmington and Strong are modeled while Phillips is staging.

Recently he suggested a footprint for an upper deck and suggested that he might like help designing it. What he wants is the K&DR, Kingfield, Carrabasset, and Bigelow. What a dejavoue. I designed an Sn2 K&DR layout for Gary White. If you want to know learn about the line and how it fits into the SR&RL take a look at part two of my multi-part design for Gary White.

Here is the design I proposed for Tom. Read the points below to understand my thoughts.

Proposed design of the SR&RL from Kingfield to Bigelow.

Key points about the design

  • The location is 1/2 of a garage. I have not included the footprint of the deck below. The word Kingfield is in the aisle where Kingfield will be accessed. It is on a peninsula and the backside will not be reachable as Strong is below the backside as much wider.
  • Trains get from Strong to Kingfield via a cassette raised from the lower deck staging area just below Kingfield and raised to the track running off the top of the design. The track going off the top of the plan is TBD as Tom works through it all.
  • The primary elements of Kingfield are included and should be recognizable to anyone who has studied the SR&RL.
  • The bridges on the run from Kingfield to Carrabasset are representative of the scenery along the way. The trains ran through Carrabasset river valley.
  • Carrabasset was simple. Tom wants to have the plywood mill, but does not have room for the wye. So it will have to be represented by a single spur.
  • The line from Carrabasset to Bigelow would again be in the Carrabasset River valley with the river along the tracks.
  • The Bigelow track arrangement is faithful. The Sawmill would have to be imagined.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this proposal. Should I generate significant updates to the plan, expect updates. I hope this gives you inspiration. I’ve kept the description of this plan simple. If you have questions, add a comment.

Posted in Bigelow, Kingfield, Layout Design | 10 Comments

Farmington on the Floor

I’m not one that pursues a precise trackplan. Instead I pursue a benchwork/deck footprint and then try to confirm that most of what I want will fit. The final track locations get laid out on the finished benchwork/foam.

The week before starting the layout I wanted to know that the space I’d allocated for Farmington would fit lower, middle and upper Farmington yard. To figure that out, put tape on the floor to mark off critical limits of benchwork, then followed with key track elements to representing the prototype track locations.

Farmington laid out on the floor. The upper yard would be closest to the camera. The MEC Freight depot is the white poster board in the distance. It is far end of Farmington and will but up against he backdrop at the end of Farmington. The aisle on the left wraps around the end of Farmington to get into the aisle of the mushroom along the back of Farmington.

I’m not going to go into the details of the track. Those who know Farmington can probably make out the SR&RL track and the MEC track and correlate them to the prototype. The MEC track is actual S-scale track with #5 turnouts (which I think would be OK), and the SR&RL track is mocked up with a combination of HOn3 and N-scale track. The scene is about 19 feet long.

I’ve left the tape on the ground to help me to locate the benchwork as I move forward with the construction.

In conclusion, the floor is a good place to test trackplans.

Posted in Current Layout, Farmington, Trackplanning | 3 Comments

Layout Construction – Begins with 16 Feet of Mushroom

Last post, I described the design of the mushroom.  With the design complete, Chris and Phil pushed me to keep moving forward.  Chris came down on Wednesday (day before Thanksgiving) and both game on Saturday after Thanksgiving (for 8 hours).  I really appreciate their efforts and more so that our wives and spouses let us spend so much time.

In the end, we completed 16 feet of Mushroom Skeleton.  Chris and I got the leg installed on Wednesday and an L girder to fit.  Wednesday we completed lower level L girder install, then build and installed the upper 16′ panel (notched to go under heating portion of ceiling) and lower panel (notched for rear window into Strong).

Take a look at the photos to see what we did.

View from the entrance to the railroad room. The top plywood support the upper deck. Eustis will be behind. The self brackets will support south end of Strong on middle deck. Bigelow modules will sit to right of pole on bottom (36″ track height). The leg set is attached to the left side of the pole. At present it goes up high enough to support Strong too (can be cut off if I do not feel it is required).  Temporary stiffening boards are on top deck until plywood is permanently installed under upper deck.

Looking toward the wall where the mushroom is anchored, The middle deck will be Strong, front and center on the layout. Strong is a junction. Trains will along the mushroom from Farmington, enter Strong, then curve off to the left along the wall to Phillips. Trains from Kingfield will enter Strong along the wall, pointed to Phillips, and back into the depot. The 6 foot window into the back of Strong allows F&M line operators to navigate their trains to the depot, before walking around the peninsula to work Strong.  Trains from Bigelow headed south to Kingfield and Strong will head from Bigelow past the pole and head to the left along the wall on the lower deck.  Both lower and middle decks will be wider than the skeleton benchwork when complete.

The backside (inside) of the mushroom. This is the window into Strong. Trains from Kingfield will enter Strong going right to left. On the upper deck (inside the mushroom) will be Eustis Junction. Trains from Rangeley will be going right to left on the deck.

Here is the section view of the build. Compare it to the design in the previous post. Bigelow will sit on the bottom before the pole. The bottom of the upper deck is clamped into position. I need to cut a new board before finalizing.

Posted in Current Layout, Layout Construction | 3 Comments