Author Topic: CSX Cumberland Division  (Read 4952 times)

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Bob

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The Harpers Ferry Tunnel Portal
« Reply #60 on: January 13, 2019, 09:55:07 PM »
+6
When the 1931 double-track bridge was built by the B&O in 1931, it eliminated the sharp curve the mainline had to take to the north after crossing the 1894 bridge, and made for a tangent through Maryland Heights and across the Potomac.  The mouth of the existing tunnel had to be widened to accommodate what were now three tracks: the double-track mainline and the track (now reached via a turnout in the tunnel) leading to the 1894 bridge to the Winchester branch.  The tunnel portal was rebuilt following the style used for the tunnel portals on the Magnolia cutoff, and so has far more detail that most tunnel portals that are utilitarian in nature, including the name ‘Harpers Ferry’ and the year of its contraction, 1931, etched in the concrete facing.  An image of the Carother’s tunnel portal (one of four tunnels that are part of the Magnolia cutoff, all named for B&O engineers) is shown, and visible are the ‘cat ears’ that were cut during the recent National Gateway double-stack clearance project.  An image of the HF portal is also shown, with a single cat ear that has been cut on the left side as you face the tunnel.  So, how to make this iconic tunnel portal that is so recognizable?  I found that Spring Hill Depot actually produces tunnel portals for the Magnolia cutoff, but only in HO scale.  Big disappointment!  But, then I found that Alkem Scale Models also produces such portals in both HO and  N-scale, but the HF portal was not on their website.  However, I wrote to Alkem, and Bernard Kempinski replied saying he would be happy to produce the HF portal if I could give him the details. Fortunately, CSX had posted possible options for enlarging the HF tunnel portal as part of the National Gateway project (bottom image), with helpful measurements included.  I sent these to Bernard, who cut the portal in layers of hard, clear plastic.  He also sent me portals for all four of the Magnolia cutoff portals.

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With the 1931 bridge moving along, I finally assembled the 1931 portal, and used Woodland Scenics ‘cement’ acrylic paint – this is a lighter cement color than the RustOleum textured sandstone that I used for the bridge piers.  It required several coats, and then I had to paint the back of portal flat black because otherwise light could shine through the clear plastic and the overlying cement paint.  I then applied a single India Ink wash, and then realized I have made two mistakes: I asked Bernard to cut ‘cat ears’ on both sides of the portal, just like the Magnolia cutoff portals, but the HF tunnel only has a single cat ear of the left side as you face the portal.  So, I think I will ‘fill in’ the cat ear on the right side, and I think I will also round off the left-sided cat ear to more closely reflect the real thing.  I also have just realized that I glued ‘1914’ on to the portal (from one of the Magnolia cutoff portals that I also got from Bernard) rather than ‘1931’, and I can see the ‘1931’ happily sitting in my parts box.  So I am going to have to correct that as well.  Duh! Once the repairs are done, I’ll have to work on the weathering and will need to scribe or draw the horizontal ‘joint’ lines that are visible.  I have started constructing a tunnel liner, and my plan is to place a double-track portal at the back, and behind this have a photograph of that I took looking through the portal with a telephoto with this being light up by an LED – I show a web image in the upper right photo of the real thing, and this is what I hope to mimic.  This way, if you sight down the nearly 7-foot long 1931 bridge, you will look right at and into the HF portal, and you will see the outline of eastern portal in the distance, with the tracks and trees curving to the left in the bright sunlight.  I think this will be a nice effect.

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Cajonpassfan

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Re: CSX Cumberland Division
« Reply #61 on: January 14, 2019, 11:33:46 AM »
0
This is just getting better and better!
I love what you're doing!
Otto K.

Erik aka Ngineer

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Re: CSX Cumberland Division
« Reply #62 on: January 14, 2019, 01:10:37 PM »
+1
Feel free to make the scene look better than the real thing. That ugly carved notch looks better on your portal than on the original. I know railroads have to make money, but this is literally cutting corners  :facepalm:

Bob

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Re: CSX Cumberland Division
« Reply #63 on: January 14, 2019, 02:11:46 PM »
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Your post literally made me laugh out loud at work, Erik!

Bob

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HF Tunnel Portal and Tunnel Liner
« Reply #64 on: January 20, 2019, 11:58:34 PM »
+4
In my last post, I showed both progress on constructing the Harpers Ferry tunnel portal, and also two mistakes: I cleverly put a ‘1914’ year marker at the top of the tunnel instead of 1931, and ‘cat ears’ (recently cut into the portal to provide clearance for double stack trains) were cut into both sides of the tunnel, where in reality such a notch is present only on the left side (as you face the portal).  Further, the notches, while correct for tunnel portals in the Magnolia cutoff, were too sharp for what was done at Harpers Ferry where an attempt was made to change the appearance of the tunnel as little as possible (upper left image).

I replaced the 1914 marker with the correct 1931 marker, then glued 1/4” styrene strips on vertical sides of the portal.  I then used a Dremel tool to shape the strips so as to remove the notch on the right, while giving a gentler curve to the notch on the left.  I used light weight spackle to fill any gaps and seams, sanded, painted with Woodlands Scenic cement acrylic paint, and then did some weathering with powders and a bit of paint  (bottom left – compare to a recent photo of the portal in the bottom right).  The face of the portal seems a bit dark, but I think this is due to poor lighting – I have yet to get some decent lights to improve photography.

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The next step was to construct the tunnels roof and walls: the drone photo shown in the upper right shows that the portal is built out from the face of Maryland Heights, and part of the concrete roof is visible as is the south-facing side wall.  I constructed sidewalls and a roof using 3/8” styrene sheet and painted everything concrete. 

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With the portal largely complete, I removed the top of Maryland Heights, decided on the final placement of the portal, etched out the ballast on either side of the tracks, and put the portal in place (top left and right images and also bottom left).  Next up was the tunnel liner – I constructed this out of 3/8” birch plywood and designed it to fit into the tunnel portal’s ‘box’.  It was a bit tricky, as the south facing wall had to be bowed to provide sufficient clearance for trains coming up and out of the helix and destined to cross the 1894 bridge (photo labeled #3). The interior of the liner was spray painted flat black (photo labeled #2).

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Now for what I considered a key element: if you stand on the platform of the HE station and site down the tracks, you see not only the western portal, but in the distance to the outline of the interior of the eastern portal with the tracks bending off to the left as they head towards Brunswick.  Note that absence of notches: at this end of the tunnel, the track was undercut to provide sufficient clearance.  I badly wanted to simulate this on my layout, as you can in effect ‘stand’ on the HF station platform (i.e. in the aisle) and look directly along the 1931 bridge and into the tunnel.  Wouldn’t it be great to see the eastern tunnel portal rather than just a sea of black?  My plan was to attach a portal to the opposite end of the tunnel liner, and then behind this place a photo of the distant tracks taken from an actual telephoto shot taken from the platform (which you can find on the web).

I attached a tunnel portal to the eastern end of the tunnel liner, put the liner in place, and then sighted down the HF bridge.  While the process worked, the outline of the eastern portal was just too darn large: I had not taken into account the effect of distance.  In real life, the eastern portal is probably about 2,000 feet away from the HF platform; in my Cumberland Subdivision, it is about 12 feet.  So, I scanned the portal to construct an image, made this about 50% smaller, and used this as at template to cut a new eastern portal out of cardboard. I placed this at the eastern end of the tunnel liner (top middle photo), and then used a metal bracket to hang an appropriately sized photo of the distant tracks about 1 inch away from the portal.  My plan is to use LED lights to bathe this image in bright sunlight.  The top left photo shows the eastern end of the tunnel liner with the bracket holding the image of the distant tracks, and the bottom photo shows the liner in place.  While the tracks curve away to enter the helix, the eastern portal is on a tangent with the 1931 bridge and the western portal.

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While my lighting and photography need work, the entire approach as clearly worked – if you sight down the 1931 bridge in my model, you look not just into the HF portal, but through the tunnel and out the other end!  I am quite pleased with this – the whole things should look great once the bridge is complete, the Potomac river is modeled, and when Maryland Heights transitions from pink Styrofoam to something more realistic!

 

Wolf N Works

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Re: CSX Cumberland Division
« Reply #65 on: January 21, 2019, 08:12:27 AM »
0
Outstanding

Bob

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Bridge detailing
« Reply #66 on: February 03, 2019, 04:21:42 PM »
+6
I've begun to detail the 1931 bridge now that the plate girders, bridge shoes ad piers are largely done.  I intend to add five major elements:

1. Walkway that runs the length of the bridge on its north-facing side.  Parts are metal industrial walkway, and parts seem to be wooden planks.
2. Old passenger platforms on both the north and south sides of the bridge next to the HF station.
3. Safety platforms extending from the south facing side of the bridge
4. On the south facing side of the bridge starting from the tunnel portal and extending to the 4th pier, every 4th bridge tie projects outwards an additional 3-4 feet.  I suspect these use to support a walkway on the south side of the bridge that I can see in older photos, but that is not present today.
5. Center walkway between the two tracks: this is industrial walkway on either end projecting towards the opposite shore for perhaps 200 feet each side, and wooden planks the rest of the way.

I have started with #5. The top right photo shows the metal grid walkway close to the HF station - Gold Metal Model's industrial walkway is a god match for this - I spray painted these a light gray as the walkway on the east side of the bridge appears to be newer and of a gray color.  I then prepared support structures out of styrene (bottom left photo).  The portions painted black will be glued to the undersides of the bridge ties (next photo); the small gray strips are where the walkway will be attached (bottom photo).  The walkways come in 4-inch lengths, and in the bottom right photo you can see the 1931 bridge turned upside down, and to the left a walkway with its supports, also upside down.

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I put a drop of CA glue on each end of the four black support strips that were previously affixed to a length of walkway .  I then dropped this between the two main tracks on the upside-down bridge, and held the walkway in place until the CA set up.  Upon flipping the bridge over, the walkway is now correctly positioned.  I plan to complete the central walkway and weather it, and then probably start on the safety platforms.

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Bob

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Bridge walkways
« Reply #67 on: February 09, 2019, 06:03:28 PM »
+4
I have started installing walkways on the 1931 bridge.  In the center, between the two tracks, the walkway looks to be about 70% wooden planks - 3 adjoining each other, each about 15 feet long.  The remaining 30% is metal grating.  For the former, I use strip styrene, distressed one surface with a fine-tooth razor saw to give it some texture, painted with burnt umber, and cut to length.  For some strips I mixed in a touch of white paint so that I would have subtle color variation.  I then glued the planks in place, and every once in a while placed a thin shim so that the planks would sometimes stick up, giving me some vertical variation that is apparent when viewing the real bridge.  The metal grating was represented by Gold Metal Models industrial walkway, spray painted gray.  Once glued in place, I used weathering powders.

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On the east end of the bridge, south facing, and extending out to the second pier in the river, every 4th tie extends out an additional 3 feet or so.  I have started gluing extensions on the ends of every-4th tie, missing some now and again to reflect the prototype.  These ties support safety platforms, and I have modeled my first one. I'll need to finish this side of the bridge, and then construct the walkway on the north side of the bridge that extend across the full span.

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Cajonpassfan

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Re: CSX Cumberland Division
« Reply #68 on: February 09, 2019, 11:17:42 PM »
0
Awesome, loving it!
Otto K.

coldriver

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Re: CSX Cumberland Division
« Reply #69 on: February 10, 2019, 09:35:13 AM »
0
you really captured the look of walkway planks all warped and askew from years of being exposed to the elements.  Nicely done!

nthusiast

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Re: CSX Cumberland Division
« Reply #70 on: February 10, 2019, 10:08:54 AM »
+1
I came across this 1940s film on YouTube that I believe shows the scene you are creating. Go to the 6:45 mark of the video and you'll see the Harpers Ferry tunnel portal, followed by a wide shot of the bridges. The entire film is pretty fun to watch.

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Thanks for sharing your work, by the way. It's stunning.

Bob

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Re: CSX Cumberland Division
« Reply #71 on: February 10, 2019, 11:50:21 AM »
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What a great video! I had not seen this before.  I see that in years past the bridge I am working on had walkways on both sides - these days there is only one on the north side, and today I am trying to figure out how to attach this.  Right now, I am trying thin strips of styrene that I can slip under the tracks that are thin enough not to noticeably elevate the tracks, but also sturdy enough to support the walkway.  We'll see how this experiment goes.  Thanks for sharing the video!