Saturday, March 28, 2015

Aerial View and Expansion Progress: March 28, 2015

It's been nearly 5 months since the last aerial view update so it must be high time for another one! As of today, all of the basic benchwork for new sections of the layout have been completed and I'm ready to start laying down some 1/2" plywood sub-roadbed. Here's the before and after aerial views:

Almost 5 months ago, November 8, 2014: A new plan had just been decided on and the layout moved out from the wall. The change of plan necessitated dismantling of the previously built Calico benchwork.

Today, March 28, 2015: The layout has now grown too large to capture in one overhead photo. 1"x4" pine box-girder benchwork is now in place for three new sections of the layout. Note how the layout base drops down in stair-step fashion to accommodate deep canyons in the Hanging Rock and Coyote Canyon sections. The floor of Coyote Canyon will be 24" or 96 scale feet below track level.

The individual layout sections are joined together with 1/4" bolts and thumb-screws, allowing them to be separated should a move ever prove necessary. The lowered sections of Hanging Rock and Coyote Canyon are supported by sturdy metal shop shelves that also provide handy storage below the layout. The San Lorenzo section creates a literal bridge between the Thunder Mesa "island" and the new parts of the layout, allowing for maintenance access via a duck-under. Next steps include sheathing the walls with 1/8" Masonite for the backdrop, building risers and sub-roadbed, and creating the sturdy shelf structure to support the portable Calico On18 layout on the Coyote Canyon section.

The current plan for Thunder Mesa shows the new shape of the layout and illustrates the labeled areas in the photos above.

It's great to be moving ahead with the expansion and I'm really looking forward to seeing these new sections of the layout take shape. Right now trains can only shunt back and forth between Thunder Mesa and Rainbow Caverns so I'm determined to get some more track laid soon. The San Lorenzo section will probably be tackled first, along with the turntable and engine service area. Lots to do! Thanks for checking in. Adios for now, amigos!

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