Author Topic: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project  (Read 6584 times)

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lashedup

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Re: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2018, 06:35:46 PM »
+1
Ever been really busy but feel like you aren't getting sh@t done?   :facepalm: :D

I'm farther along than this progress shows as I'm trying to pace things out a bit so I'm ahead of where I want to be with updates to the project (and so I can schedule them as editorial project on Model160). I'm moving along at a good enough clip that I can start getting updates moving.

So I started building out staging. First I busted out the "laser" (cue the Austin Powers) and set my marks:



The height of staging was dictated by the roll-around tool cart and the roll around Ikea storage units. I want to be able to move them underneath either for storage under or to get them to another part of the room. This put staging at a decent level to pull up a stool or chair to set up trains. I clamped some lumber pieces up to see where the mainline grade would fall relative to my end of grade height of around 54". Above staging will be the cascade tunnel section. The only consideration is that the Nason Creek trestle will require a dip down that will crunch vertical space in staging at one end, but it should be fine.



The poles are framed in with screws and can easily be disassembled. Likewise all of staging is in three sections, so I can still move it up or down, reconfigure it or remove it completely if I just pull the screws out. It is all very stout and no one is going to be standing on this layout anyway. :D

After drawing in spacing lines, compound ladders go in next:



I'm using Atlas code 55 with #7 turnouts. I have a bunch of these laying around and didn't see a point in buying other stuff or building my own at this stage. The track is attached with clear adhesive that stays firm but flexible and I've been able to get a razor under it in past projects if I need to rip something up, so I think I'll be alright with this setup. I decided to prewire some of the turnouts ahead of time but otherwise kept the soldiering iron going and went section by section with some tunes and a beer or two going.



I had run bus wires underneath first and decided to use suitcase connectors. This was remarkably easy and quick. So quick that I plugged the Digitrax system in and started testing track as I went along. Basically I was running trains across it before the glue even dried.  :lol:



Another view:



Called it quits at some insane hour and decided to let the glue dry for the rest of the night.

I have track that works and trains running in my basement. One small step and I'm happy.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 04:19:16 PM by lashedup »

Cajonpassfan

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Re: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2018, 09:28:06 PM »
0
Lol, looks to me like you're getting sh@t done!
Good progress and neat carpentry, I like it.
Me, I'm under the layout, working on wiring, and have zero visible progress... :facepalm:
Otto K.

Bendtracker1

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Re: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2018, 10:17:59 PM »
0
Suitcase connectors work great!
I had about 60+ pairs of feeders connected over the course of one Saturday.



lashedup

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Re: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2018, 12:33:35 PM »
+5
I really like the convenience and ease of the suitcase connectors. The downside is needing to pull a wire out or add one, but that won't happen very often and worst case I splice or add another connector.

I decided that I was going to ballast the staging yard. Seems useful to have another place to take photos and it looks better to me. Plus I'm thinking of have a couple different backdrops with flats and other things to give more scenery variation to take photos. We'll see how that plays out, but the next step is ballast. But first I need to get some weeds down so I busted out the Noch static machine, some silflor grass and a shop vac with a paper towel over the end to vacuum up the static grass that doesn't stick (a lot in this case) so I can reuse it. I dabbed Matte Mod Podge down in areas where I wanted to weeds and applied the static grass. This is what it looks like after vacuuming but before the glue dries:



Not so impressive from that angle, but better from trackside:



For ballast I had some Arizona Rock "yard mix" which I've always thought looked too grey. I mixed it with a cinders mix and things got better. I didn't want to use a ton of this stuff if I didn't need to though and I was lucky that a sprinkling from above gave a nice thin coverage that worked well. I went over the track with an edge brush which works great:



I also decided to add a few drops of dark grey and black umber to the glue/water mix I use to seal the ballast. I always use a mist bottle with 70% alcohol over the area that I'm going to glue first and that makes things much easier with the glue soaking right in. Once it was set up the yard started to look more like this:



Next up is to add some weeds. I used this process:


Which resulted in this:



With some overall views:






Lastly I started noodling the tunnel areas. I'm a visual person and analysis paralysis can set in easily. To help ease that (and to see if the computer drawings translate well) I took a google earth overlay with the track plan and printed out full size to see:



In the end I'm changing the curve to ease it in better into the tunnel and I'm moving Nason Creek a bit farther from the tunnel more like the prototype. This was the first of many stages of me trying to make sure things "look" right when compressed. More on that in upcoming updates.

- jamie

MVW

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Re: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2018, 01:22:32 PM »
0
Looking good! And thanks for the "weed" video. I'll be taking advantage of that.

(I'm also kicking myself for not picking up the COLA engine set when it came out.)

Jim

lashedup

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Re: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2018, 04:22:39 PM »
0
Don’t kick yourself too bad.  I have a love/hate relationship with the BLI locos. Some are good. Some are bad.  None are great. So far.   :D

Biggest issue is electrical drop outs.  I need to pull one apart and see what’s up. Drives me crazy to spend that much and have to do work on them.  Plus the ESU sounds and decoders are so good these days when used with proper speakers and enclosures that I’d rather do the install myself in a Kato unit. 

lashedup

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Re: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2018, 03:40:51 PM »
+2
Been a while. Needed to get caught up with updates elsewhere and now I think I finally have it covered and up to date.

Started benchwork on the Scenic Sub portion:



 

We are starting at the right where the eastern portal to the Cascade Tunnel is. I want the curve leading into the tunnel to ease in nicely as well as provide photo opportunities to capture trains entering and leaving the tunnel. I also want to be able to shoot trains leaving the tunnel headed east (to the left) and rounding the bend with a scenery divider.  So I started with a few pieces of lumber to see how the grades translate and if the heights look about right.



Trains will be at about 54″ give or take when they enter the tunnel. We have about a 2 inch drop every 72 inches so a little bit more than 2% grade. So I marked off the track height locations, get out the laser and start cutting lumber. The pillars in the basement create nature divisions in the benchwork that function largely as individual modules. Since most of the Scenic Sub is a straight section that isn’t particularly deep, I’m leaving the door open to be able to potentially divide it up if it ever needs to be moved. Likewise, if I want to change this up completely, I can reuse the benchwork and have the flexibility to raise or lower it. I’m also trying to be realistic that the likelihood of my next basement having dimensions and supports in similar locations is fairly slim. For me personally, I’m not sweating everything I can’t control and I’m having fun with this house as long as I’m here.  I just try to keep in mind what might happen and try and plan ahead where I can. We’ll see how that goes! Anyway…

So the main benchwork went up quickly. The curved section made of miscellaneous pieces can be removed as well and at this stage I wanted to see how this all looked first before committing fully:



I’m saving the Gaynor bridge section to the left above for later as I want to make sure of the exact bridge location based on how the approach after leaving Gaynor Tunnel.  I also started to tack up some masonite spline to help finalize the curves:



The track plan gives me rough ideas of where track will go, but I find that using masonite splines (about 2 inches high) are a great way to help me visualize things. Temporarily tacked/clamped in place, I can look at the shapes of curves and actually eyeball them a bit. The masonite spline also creates natural easements in and out of curves that make things flow really nicely. Likewise, with this in place I can rough-in some foam bits I have laying around to see how things might look. Here is a very rough look heading east out of the tunnel where the track will round the bend headed for Gaynor Tunnel. This will create a visual block that will make things seem a bit more spread out, plus it will give more photo locations and scenery variation.



Here is another look heading west towards the Cascade Tunnel from the other side:



With the backdrop in place and largely covered by mountain scenery, this section will have a nice canyon effect on the left side above and Nason Creek running next to it on the right side. This low to high viewpoint will also provide yet more photographic opportunities.

Just above the Cascade Tunnel eastern portal is US Route 2 which will be modeled as a curve disappearing around the bend:



In the photo above you can see the backside of the tunnel portal support buildings on the left. To the right the scenery goes straight up a large mountain side that includes trees and talus/rock slide. The backdrop will curve in a similar way to run parallel to the road and I clamped up some masonite to try and get an idea of how far out it would come and how it would mesh with this scene:



This will also provide a scenery block that hides other parts of the basement from this section of the layout.

There were a lot of discussions online about layout expansion and contract this past winter with some photos people posted showing some pretty drastically bent track. Plywood is usually constructed of layers of different pieces of wood that are glued together. These layers can expand and contract in differing amounts and because they are glued on only one or two top or bottom surface levels, they tend to shear as well. Now, people have been using plywood in model railroad layouts forever and have little to no problems. Some basic expansion or contraction can be controlled with small gaps left in tracks (right Chris?) The old house I live in gets very dry in the winter thanks to the radiator heat in the house. Yet in the summer, the humidity level can change more than 50% versus winter. So I wanted to explore different materials for the roadbed portion of the layout.

For this section, I’m using the 250 grade of pink foam which is a denser version of the poly foam that is quite a bit more rigid than the typical 150 version.  I’ve used Liquid Nails For Projects in a clear form on N scale portable modules for more than 10 years and it holds great. It also stays slightly flexible, so on the rare occasion some track had to be repaired or pulled up, a razor blade can easily cut through the adhesive.   I’m using Atlas Code 55 flex track and turnouts for this layout as I already had a large stash of it from previous projects (case and half of flex actually!). The foam roadbed sections are supported by cabinet grade plywood platforms and I’ll shore it up further with foam base underneath. This setup is different and a little bit of an experiment. Worst case, if I drop a hammer on the foam sections then I may be looking at patching some foam whereas a plywood underlayer wouldn’t deform. On the flip side I can carve the edges of the roadbed to my hearts content once cork and track are down. We’ll see how it goes.

I laid a piece of foam over my masonite spline and traced the curve once I was happy with it. This created my center line and a basis to cut the foam sections using the Festool jig saw blade.  So I set up the laser for the grade level and started getting the platforms in place:



Then I glued the foam in place careful to make adjustments to the platforms to make sure things were nice and level:



Then out came the heavier train library books collected over the years to weigh everything down to dry overnight:


 

While thats going on it is time to start building the Gaynor Trestle bridge (Joel Hawthorn Photo):






In the next installment I'll go through the history of this bridge, the story behind the Great Northern Nason Creek Realignment Project that created it (black and white photo above) and how I plan to go about building it using Micro Engineering viaduct kits and some bashing. In N scale this will be about 30″ long, so it should make a nice signature piece on the layout. Here is part of the pile of parts I’m looking at…



Till next time, thanks for reading!

- Jamie
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 04:18:42 PM by lashedup »

lashedup

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Re: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2018, 04:17:10 PM »
+2
Started drawing buildings for the cascade tunnel complex including the portal. Took some measurements on the layout and worked off of the wrong measurement "thought" which carried over into the drawings and thus the first test portal being oversized.  :facepalm:

Also sorting out the best engraving settings to get the inset concrete with the inset tunnel numbers. I need to flip the apparently grain on the 1/16 MDF I used in the laser cutter. Anyway, couple quick pics:








Already resized, just need to restock on material to print. I'll do another mock up later... :)

Philip H

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Re: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2018, 04:37:07 PM »
0
I don't see any need to reprint that portal!
Philip H.
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Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

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nkalanaga

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Re: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2018, 01:49:14 AM »
0
Looks good to me as well.
N Kalanaga
Be well

lashedup

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Re: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2018, 01:10:57 PM »
0
Thanks guys, but I'd like to get it dialed in right. Here is a comparison (sorry for the crappy quality of the screen cap):



versus:



The overall size is too big as I realized I was off on the scale by an 1/8 of an inch anyway. Plus I have the drawings done, so resizing them takes seconds and printing them is just a few minutes.

Just want to get it right as the rest of the structures scale around it and my reference points for measurements are things relative to the structures themselves other than what measurements I can get from Google Earth.

- jamie


nkalanaga

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Re: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project
« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2018, 01:51:44 AM »
0
OK, I can see the size issue.  I was reading your post as the grain was going the wrong way, so it had to be flipped.  That part looked fine to me.

Incidentally, a double stack will just barely fit through Cascade Tunnel.  They had to notch the concrete in a few places when they first started running them, as the corner castings were being damaged.
N Kalanaga
Be well

lashedup

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Re: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project
« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2018, 05:19:20 PM »
+2
So I’m now juggling a number of different things for this project at once which gives me a break from doing just one particular thing and allows me some workbench time as well.  Currently construction of the Gaynor Trestle bridge over Nason Creek is on the priority list as we’ll need final model dimensions to plan the benchwork in that area. Gaynor trestle (sometimes called Nason Creek Trestle as well) is located below just eastbound of the Gaynor Tunnel:



This 546-foot steel viaduct bridge was constructed in 1949 as part of the Great Northern’s Nason Creek Line Relocation. The relocation was necessary as erosion and rock slides were increasingly becoming an issue. Plus this realignment would help take over 300 feet of mainline out of the existing curved mainline and more importantly provide a straighter run through this area. So to complete the realignment of the mainline, Great Northern needed to build a bridge and a 675 foot long tunnel as well.  Here is a photo looking southeast that shows a train headed east just leaving the Gaynor Tunnel (not visible to the right) and about to cross the new Gaynor Trestle. The old mainline curves in the foreground crossing a curved viaduct:



The project went to the Board of Directors at Great Northern in 1947 and was estimated to cost $896,000 to complete.  The proposal included this paragraph describing why it was necessary to complete this project:

“This location is the weakest link in the main line and should a serious slide occur there is the possibility of a disastrous accident, and the minimum effect would be the taking of the line out of service a long time, assuming the slide occurred when no trains were passing. All precautions have been taken to minimize the danger from falling rocks, including placing steel pins in the rocks. Track watchman is maintained during the night hours when passenger trains are in this section. Nevertheless, frequent rock-falls occur, the most recent one on October 3, when the Seattle fast freight, with three electric locomotives made an emergency stop to avoid striking rock, jack-knifing two empty gondolas and tieing up the line for over 5 hours.”

The bridge used over 630 tons of structural steel built by American Bridge Company. The viaduct  has nine deck girders and spans and three support towers on concrete piers. Construction on the substructure elements of the bridge were complete in fall of 1948, but winter weather meant erection of steel couldn’t take place till April of 1949. A derrick car with 65-foot booms was used to place the beams and girders (seen below):



115 lbs. continuous rail was used for the project back then (since replaced with concrete ties and heavier rail). Great Northern’s own crews did the electrification install in conjunction with the ongoing steel construction. Here is a final photo shortly before the bridge was opened to service in 1949:



Once the new line was opened, heavy fright now had a straight shot through this area and there was a savings of about 5 minutes of time on the 7 mile run from Berne to Merritt.


To build this bridge in N scale, I decide that I’d use Micro Engineering viaduct bridge kits as a base for the pieces. From there I would bash it together a bit mating two of the spans together where it crosses over the creek to make the model a little closer to the prototype. So after emptying the boxes of bridge parts on to the desk the first task is cutting all the individual parts off of the sprues using sprue cutters or a razor blade:



This isn’t a difficult process, but it is tedious and you need to sand individual pieces to clean up edges and remove extra plastic flash here and there. So the next step was to tackle the towers that hold the whole thing up. As you can see in this outstanding photo from Matt Donnelly, the towers are built into the side of a mountain and the bottom piers are at multiple different levels:




After looking all over the web for different views I was able to trim the bottom of the towers appropriately and then started to lay the pieces out on the desk to get an idea of overall length and how things will look:



Next I went to work on the girders that make up the spans and needed to start gluing all the individual cross members and pieces:



Once completed I sanded the tops and bottoms to reduce the mold lines and they look like this:



Next step is to glue all of the bottom cross bracing as well:



The prototype has cross ties running across the length of the bridge. I've hand cut these individually before on a different bridge project and it is a ton of work. The handrails uprights will be bad enough to deal with:



This time I decided to draw it out and use the laser cutter to make the cross tie pieces as two sections. My first attempt had the tie spacing too far apart:



So I adjusted it and printed a new one. I painted it Roof Brown and laid it on top of the girders and put a piece of bridge track across the top to see how it looks:



And an overall shot:




So the next step is to paint the individual bridge pieces, start gluing them up and weather them to match the prototype. I also need to start adding all the handrail uprights on virtually every single cross tie (sigh). But, good news is that I’ve got enough built to be able to get measurements to build the benchwork this bridge will sit on as it will need to dip down to creek level and support the bridge.

I also started drawing out all the support buildings for the Cascade Tunnel and laser cut the base walls. More on that in a little bit...

- jamie

pedro

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Re: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project
« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2018, 06:05:28 PM »
0
Really nice work. Do you have your own laser, or using a service? It would be really cool to see an article on the laser process, artwork, materials, equipment etc.

I also spy an ESU throttle on the bench. Any thoughts on that system yet? It’s on my short list of things I want to try.

Brian M

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Re: A Tension Dephasit Layout Project
« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2018, 06:13:33 PM »
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Jamie,
Looking good.  Really enjoying reading about the build and seeing your results.

-Brian.