To spite my lack of updates here, a great deal has been going on with the layout and with other projects, so I’m going to try and capture sort of an “update’ or “catch-up” here, and work at getting back to sharing projects and things regularly.
When I left off with the ACP Branch progress, everything had achieved a “standing” position. Since then, I’ve spent many afternoons working on projects that need to be handled before track laying can commence. First, I glued down the 2” pink insulation foam for a sub bed over the whole of the layout. The foam will allow me to cut out for rivers and depressions wile giving me a nice base to support structures and other layout scenery elements. I used a hot wire cutter and a thin-bladed carving knife to shape one river after having decided that the small Monroe Models bridge I built a few months ago would fit nicely on this layout section. I also carved a depression near the front edge of the layout near the mine to be able to add a cribbing wall as was seen in some of the mine photos I shared when discussing this layout section’s prototype inspiration.
With foam in, I set about adding fascia constructed of 1/8” hardboard sheet. The sheets were cut into 6” wide by 4’ long sections, and then screwed in place on the layout with blocking added behind them for attachment points as necessary.
With all that done, I began installing the backdrop for this section. Using 1/8” masonite panels and plywood supports, I erected a structure on the back of the layout that will soon be covered by .020 styrene sheet. The masonite was used to provide a flat surface to adhere the styrene to, and also to provide some support along the run.
Once the main portion of the backdrop was in place, I added a valence to the front edge, closely following the front edge of the fascia. The valence is 3” strips of the same 1/8” masonite.
The ‘left’ end of the layout section, where it will eventually join to more layout, has given me some fits with how to treat it. I originally had left it open, but that didn’t look right, and the valence was sagging. I then added a panel to that end to support the valence with a square hole cut in to allow eventual track to pass through, but that didn’t look or feel right either. My third attempt at solving that end involved cutting the plywood and masonite sandwich I had made there into a large “C” shape. This appears to have solved the issues. To straighten out all the cuts and issues I caused by doing all this work, I added .060 styrene sheet to the corners and along that end. This will all be painted the same color as the fascia and valence. After I install the styrene backdrop, I’ll putty the seams in the styrene on the end and sand those out as well, creating a seamless appearance.
The underside of the layout received some attention as well, with the addition of 4 more braces to create triangle supports for places that were not spanned by legs. I’m happy with those results as the layout feels much more solid when having to be moved around.
The next step is the installation of the styrene backdrop, painting that blue, and then I’ll be installing LED strip lighting before laying roadbed and track. I’m happy with the progress I’ve made, and with several more months ahead of ‘working weather’ I should have trains running on this section soon.
On another front, after reviewing the layout and how I had been referring to the town on this section as Auburn, I’ve decided that doesn’t make sense. As this is the last modeled town, I’ve decided this is the town of Pineville, the end of the branch.
Finally, with regard to the layout, I’ve been looking at space in the garage for storing the whole thing, and decided that come next year when it’s time to send up another section, that the monster “phase 2” will be cut down and a real “phase 2” will be built out of that section. The town of Auburn (named properly with respect to it’s location) will be built with the main yard and other associated facilities. This section will not include the intermediate town of Cowen, as I have to sort out storage for that piece. Having the yard come next makes sense as it will allow me a location to start making and breaking trains coming out of Pineville as well as the add-on of some other industries to switch. Making this change will be something to tackle next year.
I did sit down one weekend recently and make some progress on freight cars. I built several more Accurail 36’ cars, that as they make it to decals and other processes, I’ll detail out for you. The “Suggestion Of A Car” model update will be coming to you shortly, as that car has made it into paint.
As you can see from the photos, the W2 2-8-0 has received it’s “proper” tender. That comes courtesy of a N&W G-1 by Alco models that I recently acquired. A courteous member of an online group pointed out a few detail changes for the locomotive that will also backdate it when paint work gets done. As for the G1, either a smaller brass tender or a tender from a Bachmann 4-4-0 will be added. The locomotive will most likely only see service when I have more than 2 crews operating, so it may be some time before it needs to be pressed into service.
I also learned from another commenter online that the Z1 / Z1a class of 2-6-6-2 mallet might be something to explore adding. I started looking at these smaller (is anything really small when it comes to a mallet locomotive?) power locos, and discovered several have been imported through the years. Several books I received on the N&W for Father’s Day this year also illustrate the Z class locomotives, and I think that I will wind up adding one, even if it just comes to Auburn and picks up cars. The 32” radius curves I’m currently building with would be easily negotiated by this bigger power, and it’s time-frame appropriate as well. The hunt continues!
I was happy to spend several days recently at the Illinois Railway Museum. Several pieces of equipment that I had not seen before in the collection were accessible, and I was also please to find some Norfolk & Western items in the collection.
With that, we’re up to date. It’s definitely time to get back to the workbench!