Jan 16, 2006

Keystone hill's subroadbed and benchwork is complete, and the grade is in place all the way through the wye and up to the edge of Telluride proper. Roadbed has been progressing up the lower portion of Ophir loop, about a 1/4 of the way to Ophir so far. And - the first three bridges have been roughed in - two on the Telluride branch (39-A and 42-A) and one at the base of Ophir loop (44-A, the Butterfly trestle). These are really just framed openings in the roadbed, with support below for eventual trestle bents, but it's a tremendous boost to me to be able to see them. For now, I've got very narrow sections of plywood tack-glued over the openings, wide enough to just support the flex track that'll be laid there initially. Later, I'll pop the plywood and flex track tie sections out and build real bridges under the rails. But that's probably a long way off. At least the narrow plywood kinda looks like a bridge, and it makes imagining the final scene much easier.

All sections in this area have been immediately covered with wooden track and Thomas trains, and that's ok with me. In fact, sometimes they get covered before I've even anchored the new roadbed to the risers! This is all Eli's work (he's 7). The opening for bridge 39-A had a beautiful plastic suspension bridge running across it before I had a chance to add my temporary plywood support. My 10-year-old, Josh, has also been 'testing' the roadbed by manually running one of my old Lionel O-27 steam engines over the roadbed, around the entire layout. It's surprising that this locomotive actually fits through most of the HO-gauge-sized openings in the walls and hidden trackage. So - no 'real' track yet but at least something's moving on the layout! I love having the kids involved like this; it's great to see them interested in it.

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