Benchwork

Track realignment

I have revised my trackplan to eliminate a track with bad access.


The track running along the wall between the two holes is the one that will be relocated. The hole through the wall closest to the camera is new.



On the other side of the wall is the shelf for the new Transfer Yard. I traced the revised trackplan full sized on kraft paper and laid it in position to check fit.



Planning how the revisions will tie into the existing construction.



The kraft paper pattern was used to cut Homasote roadbed.

Trackplan Revision



The new hole in the wall between the layout room and the shop area. The revised trackplan will mean the removal of the track shown in the upper left running along the wall. Instead, the track leading off the end of the wye will curve through the new hole and into the Transfer Yard.



Here is the new hole from the other side of the wall. I am using a folding carpenter's ruler to approximate the radius of the curved approach to the Transfer Yard.

New hole in wall




An exploratory hole punched through the wall to determine the exact location of the 2 studs I guessed were in this general area. There appears to be enough space between the studs to twist the roadbed through.

Main Line Grade

Once the position and roadbed of the two complex areas had been secured in place, the time came to connect them with a winding mainline.


The mainline is a simple single track that connects the yard at Shops with the yard at the Dust Mill. I waited until last to build the mainline so it could be adjusted to fit, both horizontally and vertically, since The Shops Yard is at the top of a grade.


The curves have been determined and the subroadbed cut out. Risers were cut to establish the grade up the hill from the Dust Mill to the Shops.

Setting track level

I want to use the same hole through the wall to access the staging area in the garage that I used previously with my HO scale layout. Now being in O scale, the height of the hole is somewhat restrictive, so I need to keep the track low through the hole.


Once the track height through the hole in the wall was determined, I used it as the height for all the track on this section of the layout. The height for all the roadbed risers was set using a string and line level.



Once the height of all the risers was determined, I used the subroadbed to locate them on each joist.



The location of the subroadbed was in turn checked by placing the roadbed on top of it to make sure everything was lined up from the track down.


Shops Yard in place

The height of the risers for Shops Yard put the rail height at the same level as Piedmont on the other side of the wall.



This same track level carries on through Ariel Church to make switching and spotting cars easier in this area.



Once the risers were all in, the subroadbed and roadbed were glued down in position.



Track 1 is the Scale Track. The scale will be in the short tangent between the long S curves.
Track 2 is the Yard Lead. This track eventually continues to Piedmont and the mill.
Track 3 is the Town Track. This track will be adjacent to the town site of Ariel Church. and will be the holding track for maintenance of way equipment, rail cars, or whatever the Shops Yard crew wants to keep out of the way. The Town Track will be hidden from view from the sharp curve to the left and on down the length of the wall, where it becomes the Back Lead for switching Piedmont Mill. When operating the layout "for keeps", the Back Lead and Town Track are considered to be two separate spurs. When running the layout for show, this hidden connecting track will allow continuous lap running.

In the Carport

I wanted to lay out my full sized prints of the Shops Yard trackplan flat. The only place big enough was the carport.



Once the tiles of the trackplan were taped together, I laid the sections of homasote roadbed on top of it to see if the butting edges needed to be trimmed.



The roadbed sections fit well on the trackplan. I used them as patterns to cut out the plywood roadbed. I took care to not have the joints in the subroadbed fall near the joints of the roadbed.



Once the subroadbed was cut out, it was in turn checked on the trackplan for fit.

Joists and Splines



Joists were going in on the benchwork stringers. The joists provide support for the risers that will determine the height and grade of the roadbed itself. Since there were places along the line where I did not want a riser to be interfering with the space under the roadbed, I had to plan the placement of the joists accordingly. Primarily I did not want a riser to occupy a space where I would eventually need to install a Tortoise switch machine. On the other hand, I never wanted the risers to be farther than 16 inches apart. Keeping both these placement priorities in mind required some joists to be closer together than others.

As for the length of the joists, I planned to cut them the correct length and angle across the end so that the fascia could be attached directly to them. The Masonite fascia will curve continuously along the benchwork. To help determine the position of the curved fascia, I used a spline that I clamped to the front of a pair of joists on either side of the curve.



The spline is a nylon rib used for making Roman shades. Steel pins can be inserted in holes drilled down the ends of the rib to extend the length. With the spline clamped to the end of two joists on either side of an area where the fascia would be curved, I could use it as a guide for cutting the length and angle of all the joists within that curve.


Here the spline is being used to determine a curve for the fascia that will just miss the benchwork behind it.

Placing the Peninsula

Much of the space in the train room will be occupied by the peninsula which carries the railroad on a long loop.




The peninsula is an odd shape, which complicated cutting the pieces and joints. AND I laid it out on the floor to assemble upside down, which really strained my spacial conception capabilities.



Once the peninsula was assembled, I propped it up in position. I carriage bolted it to the existing benchwork. Legs were clamped in position, and diagonal braces were cut, glued and screwed in position.


Junk immediately began to accumulate under the peninsula as soon as it was in place.

From Old to New

With the backdrop completely repainted, all that remains of my old HO scale layout is the brackets for the benchwork.

I am starting the New Year by modifying the brackets. My old benchwork was built in separate sections of box framing. The sections merely sat on the brackets along the wall, being connected to each other, but not connected to the support brackets or to the wall itself. I thought this might prevent stress and possible buckling on the layout by allowing it to "float" in the space. In practice this turned out to not be a good design. Sitting on widely spaced brackets did not provide enough support for the sectional benchwork, and the sections tended to warp or twist over time.



The first modification to the old brackets was to lengthen or shorten them as necessary to fit the depth of the new benchwork. I either cut the brackets, or added longer joists to the existing bracket depending on the situation.



I then added a stringer across the ends of all the brackets to tie them together on the front. The position of the front stringer reflects the eventual depth of the benchwork in that particular area.



Then I added another stringer connecting the backs of all the brackets, near the wall.



The addition of the two stringers to all the brackets increased the strength of each individual bracket, but more importantly increased the amount of bearing surface to support the new benchwork.