Dragging myself away from the layout…

…but progress is being made. Unfortunately, stuff done over the New Year was largely confined to wiring which is about as interesting as watching someone wire up a model railroad layout. Oh well, at least the DCC power bus is in place on the second deck. Wiring for the Tortoise point machines operating the junction at West Missoula were also started, and a neat little local control panel under construction.

Whilst on the subject of joinery, the road bed on the second deck commenced, made from 3/4 inch ply and running from the helix, rising at 2.0% to a height of 2 inches over the joists. The section completed is the ‘hidden’ part of the line which runs along the back of the deck, to make a 180 degree turn at the end to enter the scenic side to run back east to west (left to right) along the scenic front. Actually, to help with access, the ‘hidden’ line will have scenery, hidden behind trees, rocks and ridges and only viewable for driving when the operator is standing on a low box.  I do not wish to have one train pass through the same scene twice, visually speaking. A siding (loop) will be included on this hidden section of line to represent Cyr MT as a holding point for trains entering or leaving the helix to clear the main for trains coming the other way.

To the front of the second deck will be Fish Creek trestle or bridge 165 of the 4th Sub which is 144 feet high above the creek, 576 feet in length and with a 3 degree right hand curve to the west on a falling grade of 0.2%. This makes it 10.5  inches, give or take, tall in N scale terms and it will fit perfectly above the turn back loop in the lower staging yard before the scenic break on that level. That will still leave room for operations on the lower level. At 576 feet long, the model should be 3.6 feet long over nine spans. I may have to compromise a bit there…

Anyway, my thanks to the members of the  MRL Yahoo Group  for help with the height of the deck of the trestle. When working on a model like this so far from the full-size railroad, help from those closer to the action than I is invaluable. It’s as good as a railroad historical society. You can find the group at http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/MRL/

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The picture above shows work on the back or hidden stretch of line. An Atlas N scale SD35 provides an idea of scale. The old but unused (!!) hospital drape is an ideal protective cover for the track on the lower deck.

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Working on the gradient from the helix – adjustments were being made to the risers to meet the 2% gradient line which was mathematically calculated rather than measured with an angle tool of some description. It was easy: 2 inches climb over 100 inches of track bed… The track bed is pushed as far back against the rear supports to provide as much room for the scenic line to the front as possible.

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The pitch of the track bed is also checked with a torpedo spirit level. This needs some levelling…
Note the red and black wires of the DCC power bus, pre installed.

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This technique keeps the ply track bed level whilst the joist positions are done. Any slight bowing of the ply is cancelled out making a level track bed or one with a consistent gradient easier to achieve. Sadly, obtaining cost effective but dead straight ply is not always possible and whilst the straightest sheets are chosen, long narrow sections of ply like this can take a slight bow after cutting.

Dapol’s newest 4mm scale wagon – the telescopic hood KIB:

Acquired for my British outline 4mm scale fleet, it’s a nicely finished model indeed. It seems to measure up quite well, although I still have some checks to do. It’s particularly interesting because I built three of these from scratch about 15 or more years’ ago. Phew! At the time, I did not have the correct bogies and they still run on stand-in O&K bogies which are a close but not exact match for the DB type used on the full-size wagons. I will switch in new ones and recover the O&K ones for some scratch building projects this year so both new ready to run and old scratch built models are a reasonable match.

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My scratch built effort (to the front) lacks some finer detail. It, together with its two other companions may hit the work bench for some extra detailing and new bogies. In the meantime, it’s not such a bad job when compared to the Dapol model. Here’s some more shots of the Dapol wagon:
crw_4882_jfr2crw_4885_jfrcrw_4887_jfrNice job by Dapol. The steel coils are a bit strange but the rest of it passes muster as far as I am concerned.

By the way…

That damn spider turned up again…

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I chased it into a corner with a piece of set track…don’t know where it’s lurking right now. Perhaps I should send one of the cats in to flush it out?

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