Dec 27, 2005

A bit more completed - upper decks are done now for both Rico and Ridgway. The upper-deck supports for Ridgway required some extra work, since it's got to be strong enough to lay on should I ever need to work on the plumbing, which is directly over it. This is one of the few spots in the basement w/a drop ceiling, and the yard completely blocks access to it w/a ladder. So - the yard'll have to be designed so I can lay a board over it, then lay on the board to work on the plumbing. Hopefully that'll never be needed, but it's better to plan now for it.

Dec 5, 2005

It's been busy around our house lately, so again not much progress. The lower return loop under Ophir is done now (sub-roadbed only), and joists are added from Ophir to Vance Jct. I've also been working on the upper deck for Rico, which is now complete (but not anchored until the track below is installed and tested). And, I've also been installing fabric skirting with clothespin anchors (glued to the benchwork) and landscape fabric - an idea mentioned by David Zuhn and published in Oct 05 Model Railroader (I think it was the Oct issue). The fabric I used was 4' x 80', cost about $9 at Home Depot, and came in a cellophane-wrapped roll. It's black, somewhat feathery in appearance and about 90% opaque, and melts rather than burns if tested w/flames. It works great, and is fast and cheap, and really dresses up the area by hiding all the junk under the layout.

Oct 31, 2005

Pretty good progress this past couple of weeks - the grade for the switch lead out of Durango is done to a point above Wildcat Canyon, and the hidden grade diretly under it is done to that point as well. Work is progressing on the townsite for Hesperus and the curvy roadbed in Wildcat Canyon. This has been a slow area to get thru, because I've been building lots of 1x2 u-shaped supports, to hold the switch lead above while making a bit of a tunnel for the hidden track below. The benchwork is quite narrow at this point, and there's not much room for the upper track supports.

Oct 10, 2005

Good progress this weekend - subroad thru Durango is finished! Working on the area around Hesperus and Wildcat canyon now. This shot shows the lower line at Mancos, and then the line coming into the cutoff for Durango (Durango is beyond the upper line on the left). This is another complicated area... basically the main line goes thru Mancos (below Durango), then drops into a tunnel until Hesperus. After that, it's hidden again as it loops under Ophir and climbs up toward Durango's level.

Here's another show, showing more of the line coming into Mancos on the lower level, and the climb to the Durango cutoff above and behind it. It'll be a bit challenging to make this work scenery-wise, but I think it's very doable.

Access into Durango proper is (as w/the real RGS) via a backing move thru a junction switch. The main here comes up out a tunnel (the middle roadbed here), goes to the switch (beyond the photo on the left), then rises backward from the switch into Durango itself (the upper-most roadbed here). The lowest line in this shot is the main coming into Mancos.

Sep 26, 2005

Work continues, a little slow this month; focus is the grading below Durango. The grades from the junction near Mancos are complete, and grading under Durango is mostly done up to Hesperus.

Sep 12, 2005

I built the subroadbed under Ridgway, twisting from the edge of the benchwork (for easier access) back to the hole for sneaking thru the closet / bathroom / laundry area. You can also see the hole for the staging access from the yard level (above this hidden track).

Here's the framing for the roundhouse area in Durango; Mancos will be below and in front of this area.

Aug 29, 2005

The Enterprise subroadbed is DONE, at long last! Here's the branch; Eli is standing in the 'access pit' in the center of the branch.

Aug 8, 2005

Working on the grade for the Enterprise branch - the supports from Rico to the Blackhawk mine area, or the first leg of the switchback, are complete. With Blackhawk's track near by chin, the twisting, turning route from there up to the Enterprise should be pretty neat, and should 'feel' pretty high, about eye level.

Aug 2, 2005

The sub-roadbed for the return loop under the Enterprise branch is complete now, and I'm working on the branch itself. And I've got the pics to prove it! :-)

Notice the 'access pit' in this photo; since this is too far to reach from the aisle, I've built an area to stand it for working on the branch itself. I don't intend to cover this, but rather have the scenery high enough around it to hide it, while leaving it open. Or at least that's the plan.

Jul 18, 2005

Tough to be inside when the weather is so nice, but it was hot lately and the basement was the coolest room... Built a number of shelves under the layout for storage, rebuilt some cabinets for household storage, and then went back to working on roadbed for the return loop under the Enterprise branch.

Jun 27, 2005

Great progress this weekend! Grading (subroadbed, risers) are complete from Lizard Head all the way into Rico, and from Dolores (under Lizard Head) all the way thru (under) Rico and nearly to the return loop under the Enterprise branch. I'm using 1x3 or 1x4 risers, screwed and glued for stiffness, and 1/2" subroad bed about 4" wide in most places. The templates for 30" curves w/easements are working well - I use them to trace single pieces of subroadbed as needed, combining curves easements and straights into as few pieces as I can, which really helps to create a smooth route.

The picture here is the grade from Lizard Head descending into Rico, with the line from Dolores appraching the grade under Rico.

Jun 20, 2005

Some decent progress over the last couple of weekends - the grade from behind Butterfly, thru Lizard Head, and all the way down to nearly Rico is complete, and most of the subroadbed installed. I ran into a little suprise as I worked down toward to Rico - the 2.5% grade calculations on the drawings were a little off, and I had to steepen about half of the grade to 3%. Oh well - it's even more prototypical now! Here's a shot looking from Rico, behind Dolores, and on up to Lizard Head.

Jun 6, 2005

Just a little further progress, still working thru the area under Lizard Head, trying to get the subroadbed below routed thru the supports for the track overhead. Only a couple hours this weekend. Here's a shot of the area - Lizard Head above, Vance Jct line in the middle, and Dolores / McPhee line on the lowest level.

May 31, 2005

Some decent progress this weekend; I figured out the easement issues and created a couple of reversible plywood templates to use in laying out curves - easements included, each 1/8 of a circle. By flipping and / or combining these, I can trace any curve I need in a 30" radius (my minimum). I laid out the curves on either side of Lizard Head, and completed grades and subroadbed for the McPhee staging and most of the Lizard Hd main above it. Here's a shot, w/the Lizard Head grade above, dropping toward the Ophir loop area.

May 23, 2005

Well, this makes 3 weeks in a row w/o much railroad work. Just a busy period I guess. I did get a couple of hours in this weekend, making a template for curve spiral easements and working a little on the grade behind Vance Jct, near Lizard Head.

May 10, 2005

Another VERY busy week, and weekend. No layout progress at all.

May 2, 2005

The weekend ended up being very busy, so not much done on the layout. With basic framing done for everything except Telluride (and that'll wait until, since I need the space to cut plywood), I thought I'd start on joists and sub-roadbed support. I got a little of that done in the Lizard Head corner, adding some support for the holes coming thru from the laundry room, and starting to think about the complex 3-level trackage in that area. No photos this time. The crazy link behind the furnance is going to wait until I get more experience with the simpler roadbed. Another milestone... actual track-layout supplies are in the basement! I had to spend some time at Mom's this weekend, and while there I dug around the old layout and found a couple cases of cork I'd forgotten about, and a few lengths of leftover code 100 flex, and other tracklaying supplies, and brought all those home.

Apr 25, 2005

Lots of wall-cutting this past weekend. I've now cut holes thru the closet, bathroom, and laundry room. It's kinda scary cutting walls in otherwise nicely-complete rooms, but it was the plan from the beginning of this layout project. Here's the exit from Ridgway yard - both levels.

Here's the same hole, looking out from bathroom closet into the Ridgway yard. The upper level will have 5 tracks, while the lower level is the main sneaking under the yard.

With another helper in hiding here, this is looking toward Ridgway and the bathroom closet from inside the bathroom - looking thru both walls.

Another helper shot of the opening!

Here's a shot looking thru all 3 openings, from inside the laundry room, into the bathroom, then the closet, and finally into Ridgway.

And a closeup from the laundry room into the bathroom.

Getting the line behind the water-heater and the furnance is going to be quite a trick... I'm still not sure how to do it. That section will need tracks on two levels, and slight curves in the most inaccesible spots (see the track plan). Luckily my kids are still small enough to fit back there - just gotta teach them some additional construction skills. Perhaps I can build the unit as a couple a bridges, and just slide them in there.

Apr 19, 2005

Benchwork in Ridgway is going up. I've had to cancel the artist's work on the backdrop behind Durango - funds are just too tight right now. Blue sky all the way! (for now anyway).

Apr 11, 2005

Well, construction in Ridgway is beginning. I worked on the hole thru the stairs this weekend. Here's an overall shot of the stairs; there will be two levels of mainline running along this wall and thru the stairs.

The hole thru the wood stair risers was there already, from when the stairs were rebuilt last year, but the drywall on the backside needed cutting, as well as some cleaning out of the extra wood inside the opening.

It's done now, and I've started framing the benchwork for that area. The hole is 8" high and 2.5" wide, which should be just enough to squeeze thru the two single-track lines, stacked one above the other.

It should be, er, interesting figuring out how to actually get the subroadbed thru there. Perhaps that blue ghost in the first photo can help?

Apr 4, 2005

I invited an artist friend over this weekend, to exploring commisioning her to paint some of the backdrops for the layout. We agreed, tentatively, to have her paint the mountains behind Durango and (perhaps) some of the area behind the Durango yards. Should be interesting.... Lights are now working over the Ridgway area, so I should be able to continue with benchwork in that area soon.

Mar 28, 2005

The plumbing and I got better acquainted this weekend, when I discovered a supply hose for the dishwasher leaking onto the area above the future Ridgway. A simple loose connection, but I have to think about how I'd get to that area once the relatively-high benchwork is in. Good progress this weekend, still preparing for benchwork in Ridgway area, then thru the closet, bathroom, and laundry room.

Here's a shot of the area before benchwork began (but after cleaning!).