Apr 29, 2007

Progress report...

I have been slowly working on completing the upper-level roadbed thru the laundry room and behind the furnace. That area is now nearly complete, and the cork sheeting was installed this weekend over the entire Ridgway yard and staging areas. The upper level around Rico is also complete now, and cork sheeting is being installed there. So - track laying in both Ridgway and Rico can begin next! With only a little more benchwork to be completed near Vance Jct, another huge section of the mainline has been readied for laying track.

Currently, the mainline is operating from the Durango cutoff (approx) to just below Rico. There's no sidings yet, so I just have a test train that runs forwards and backwards over the line. This section includes nearly all of the hidden track, and I've wanted to make sure that was operating well before covering it. I had a little trouble over the winter with wood contracting, and despite my expansion joints the track did pop out in a couple of areas. Those were reworked (more gaps were cut), and they seem to be ok now.

Here's a few pictures of the real use of the Durango yard area (the upper level is raised while I complete work on the lower level). Sometimes I think the layout just provides a roof for all the forts and tunnels being created below it!

Apr 2, 2007

Turntable at Ridgway

I'm still working on the Ridgway yard area, and realized that before I add the cork sheeting I really need to complete the roadbed all the way thru the laundry room (the lumber sizes and tight clearances mean I need to install the benchwork behind the furnance first, then work back thru the bathroom to Ridgway. This weekend I was able to start prepping that behind-the-furnance benchwork piece. I also built another small section of benchwork to cover the Ridgway turntable. I decided on a 105' CMR turntable and cut the appropriate 15" circle. Of course 105' is far larger than Ridgway's actual 50' turntable, but my focus is operation, and since this is both std-gauge and an alternate-history version of the RGS, I selected a turntable large enough to handle any type of power I might someday want to use, or that guests might want to run. There's no space here for a track running straight over the turntable to the roundhouse, so the turntable needs to handle anything that wants to get into the roundhouse.

I used 3/4" plywood here, instead of the usual 1/2", to ensure everything is solid. I don't know how long it'll be until I actually purchase and build the turntable, but I needed to cut the opening now, which forced the decision. I plan an identical 105' table at Durango (also very different than the prototype 65' table that's really there, but oh well).

The benchwork for the roundhouse itself should prove very, er, interesting. It's going to have to a hinged section of benchwork that can swing into place over the basement sink. My wife is VERY gracious with the basement, but she rightly insisted that the sink be fully accessible, and actually I agree. The benchwork will sit about 2' above the sink, but when you have to wash paint brushes or fill large 5 gal buckets, we'll need more than 2' of space. So - the plan is to hinge the roundhouse section itself and let it swing off the sink area, folding back along the Ridgway yard's edge when not in use. This is going to be rather trick, what w/all the alignment issues and mechanical stuff. But - I don't need to build that until I actually want a roundhouse, probably a year or two into the future, at least.