Picking up from my last post:

This was the original benchwork and location of my layout. It was 8' across the back and 5' down the sides. Since my wife and I rent I wanted to make sure that if we ever move I could take the set apart and reassemble it so each of the 4 sections you see are connected with bolts and wing nuts. Notice the drain pipes overhead. I am 5'10" and we have low wood beams in the basement which I have to duck under as I cross from one end to the other. I have hit my head on that pipe MANY times.

I used Woodland Scenics as my inspiration for building my layout. I used their risers and foam stock to build the "ground" which is 3" above the plywood table. I then built and attached the fascia along the back and sides to create the contour for my mountains and glued in foam portals for the tunnels. I then used crumpled paper and masking tape to make the base for the mts which I would then cover with Woodland Scenics plaster cloth.

The next 4 pics show the layout ready for the plaster cloth.

A quick sidebar: The original layout I planned 24 yrs ago was supposed to be an L-shape as it fit nicely into my little apt at the time. With the bigger space at my disposal I expanded it slightly and created the U-shape you see now (but it expanded from there so stay tuned). What must be understood is when I began planning this new version I kind of had the original layout stuck in my mind so I began with that concept then grew from there. This would prove to be both a blessing and a curse as you will see in future blogs.

Now for more pics!

The following two photos show the layout as it was a couple of years ago after I had finished applying the plaster cloth. I enjoyed using the cloth as it was easy to create the various contours and it dried pretty fast. Since I would eventually have a lot of track running through mountains, I needed big hollow spaces I could access for building inside the tunnels and eventually for trouble shooting.

Given the relatively small size of my benchwork, you can see how much you can do with such a small scale.

Not long after I finished this plaster work, I was able to clear out the room next to this one (the basement is divided in two by basically a small brick wall with openings on both sides). This allowed me to get away from that drainage pipe and gave me a little more room to work with which would again come in very handy as you will see. Also, this gave me a chance to see just how portable this whole thing can potentially be as I had to disconnect the four sections to move them and put them back together in the adjacent room.

The next few pics are of the layout in it's new location. You'll also see the beginnings of cork roadbed and track glued down which I did with white glue. The first two pics show my not-at-all-prototypical rail yard. The cutouts are for a turntable (steam/diesel) and a transfer table (elec) which are Marklin products.



You can see the beginnings of a river and three bridges. The two overhead girder bridges are for the catenary line and the bridge in the foreground is for the steam/diesel branch. The roadbed in the background is for the catenary line which stays on one level.

This original version of this mountain shows my steam/diesel line diverge on the left but they come back together inside the tunnels to the right. This is one of two passing sidings for lack of a better word. The idea is the freight trains can stop at that small dead end siding where I will have a lumber mill and the track in the foreground will be for passenger trains which will stop at a station right there. The track between these two and the one higher up is actually part of a 1 and 1/2 turn helix I was trying to get the locos up hill by 4 inches. The track actually starts to climb just after the bridges. This would prove to be an experiment gone wrong as I will explain later. The track at the top of the mountain is for a small coal train (DC) which would just run in a small loop for added interest.

This the second "passing siding" where the trains diverge inside the tunnel to the right and merge just off camera to the left. Again this is for a freight train to stop at a coal mine and a passenger train to visit another station. At this point the steam/diesel line is 4 inches above the main platform where it started. Basically the steam/diesel line and the elec line were all going to run counterclockwise.

You can also see in the pic above the line to the right. That is one junction between two of the original 4 tables.

In my next installment, this little world grows bigger as the solution to a major problem adds a whole new dimension.

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