Time for a Bridge

With the card stock fascia in place, I saw that working on the bridge in the corner would be easier to do before the fascia was installed. The bridge is in a horizontal and vertical curve, with the track to the right dropping down the hill and the track to the left being level. I decided to leave the Homasote roadbed in place to minimize kinks and bumps.


Handlaid code 70 track comes up to the bridge from either direction. A short section of ME code 70 HO scale flex track makes the connection over the bridge site.


In preparation for doing track work, I traced the railhead location across the bridge site and removed the HO flex track.


Since the Homasote was going to stay, it had to be trimmed to the approximate final width of the bridge. Since the track curves here, the bridge would have to be wider than it would be if the track going across were straight. Thinking about how wide to make the bridge, I used a section of O standard gauge flex track to determine how wide the bridge would be if it had originally been a short standard gauge bridge that had been moved here by the soapstone company to use on their 30 inch gauge line. A saber saw was used to trim the Homasote down to the revised width.

Fascia Mockup

Eventually blocks were added to all the joists to support the fascia. Along the front of the Ariel Church and Horse Mountain sections of the layout, I approximated the height of the fascia at each joist and cut posts for each location.


I attached the posts to the joists temporarily, and tiled together a large piece of cardstock to create a pattern for the fascia.


Everything was taped and thumb tacked together in a flimsy fashion.


I sketched a profile line along the cardstock and trimmed it out. Then left it like that for a while to look at it over time.


The more I looked at the fascia mockup, the less I liked the places where it rose up high.


Over time I trimmed the peaks down lower and lower until I was happy with the profile.

Thinking about the Fascia

The 18 inch gauge tram for the talc dump crosses over the 30 inch gauge line. I felt like the time had come to get serious about the fascia.

My plan for the fascia is for it to be constantly curving, with the top edge constantly rising or dropping with the profile of the foreground scenery.

Way back when I built the benchwork for the layout, I cut the joists to the length I estimated necessary to support the fascia, at an angle approximating the angle of the fascia at that point.


A butt joint connection to the end of a 1 by 4 joist was not going to provide adequate support for the fascia, but that was not a problem I had to deal with back then. Now the time had come to deal with it. I decided to add small blocks to the top and bottom of each joist to turn them into I-beams with more surface area for making a connection.


Adding blocks to each joist was a severe test for my clamp inventory. But now the joists provide better connection points for firring strip posts that will in turn support the fascia.

precut blocks wait for clamps to be freed up so they can be attached to joists

Planning for Talc - 2

One thing is leading to another around the talc dump. I felt like I needed to have a better idea of the arrangement of the buildings before proceeding with the scenery.


Since many of the talc dump buildings were to be connected by the On18 tram, I built a section of right of way. Since the tram will not actually run, all track components including the roadbed itself are styrene. I used Grandt Line 18 inch sectional mining track as a guide for gauge, crosstie placement and length.


Using sheet styrene for roadbed will allow the tram tracks to undulate along the uneven surface of the ground at the dump site.


I mocked up a suitable arrangement of buildings for the scene.


With the arrangement of the buildings determined, I was comfortable with the idea of continuing with base scenery to the left of the talc dump.


Rather than use Gypsolite to cover the plaster cloth on this hill, I tried Fusion Fiber. I found it to be very easy to use with easy cleanup. The ground surface is not as brittle or prone to cracking.

Troublesome Trucks

I cleaned all the rolling stock off my layout to work on scenery. Once I had made a little headway on scenery, I was ready to run trains again.

I matched up some car cards with some waybills, and started pulling the corresponding cars in preparation for staging the layout.


Looking at the cars laying on their sides like this made it apparent how many different styles and sizes of trucks I have on my rolling stock. The variety of trucks is far less apparent when the cars are sitting on the track, with low, wide side sills normally blocking the view of the trucks in the dark shadows under the car.

Still, I need to give thought to standardizing on some style of truck. I have enough rolling stock kits in inventory to completely restock my layout. Many of these kits do not have trucks. The time had come to do some research and decide what trucks and wheel sets to use for upgrading the fleet.


As an example, here is a pile of Foothill Model Works gondola kits that I am looking forward to getting on the layout. The natural choice for trucks on FMW kits would be MacLeod Western. There is no denying that MacLeod trucks are excellent, but they are far larger than any that I am currently using. I wanted to find a style of truck that would work with FMW kits, but looked more typical for my fleet.

As is usually the case, my narrow gauge modeling friends came through with some great suggestions. Their recommendation was that I take a serious look at Grandt Line On30 trucks.


Jeff Patelski gave me a pair of Grandt Line SR&RL On2 trucks that are On30 gauge. To go with the trucks, he also gave me some Reboxx HO wheel sets and Mount Blue Models brake beams. The trucks in the photo above are upside down show the MBM brake beams.


The combination of the Grandt Line On2 trucks and the Reboxx HO wheel sets put this Boulder Valley Models boxcar at just about the correct height.

Tom Sullivan gave me a pair of Grandt Line SR&RL On30 trucks, with the recommended NWSL wheel sets to go with them.


The combination of the Grandt Line On30 trucks and the NWSL wheel sets put this Foothill Model Works flatcar at just about the correct height.

The only difference between the Grandt Line On2 30 inch gauge truck and the On30 truck is the bolster height. So, using various combinations of wheel diameters and bolster heights, the Grandt Line trucks offer a range of possible car heights that in turn allow them to be used on a range of car kits. As an added bonus, the appearance of the Grandt Line side frame is generally similar to the
Bachmann On30 "low rider" truck, as well as the truck Bachmann uses on their 18 foot industrial rolling stock.

I was thinking I had discovered the perfect solution to my truck problem, until I actually tried to order Grandt Line trucks. They did not appear to be available from any of my usual sources. Eventually I called Coronado Scale Models in Phoenix. They said they had months-old backorders for Grandt Line trucks waiting for another run. I decided to get in the queue and placed an order anyway, not knowing when or if Grandt Line would manufacture On30 trucks again.

In the meantime, I searched the Internet for Grandt Line trucks. I found small quantities of them available from random sources. As time passed, I called Coronado to ask if they thought I should cancel my order with them and go scrounging. Sheldon said not to cancel the Coronado order. He was sure Grandt Line was going to make another batch of On30 trucks … sometime. He was confident it would happen, but had no idea when.

Sheldon was right. Grandt Line did indeed produce more On30 trucks, and a box containing my Coronado order showed up on my doorstep a few weeks later.