Red Rock Northern HO scale layout

jasonboche Mar 3, 2016

  1. jasonboche

    jasonboche TrainBoard Member

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    The N&W branch/Virginia Creeper 9 x 11 double-deck (Model Railroader September 2010). I've done a lot of studying and thinking. This will be a challenge compared to my last layout but where I once briefly thought constructing this layout was impossible and bent too many sound construction rules (such as placing turnouts on a grade - I won't do it), I think I can build what the author of this layout designed. I've looked at several hundred track plans and none really come close to utilizing the 11x10 spare bedroom space I have available to it's fullest potential like the N&W branch/Virginia Creeper track plan does. It has a modest continuous mainline for my kids and when I want trains to loop. It has staging. I'm a freight guy but this layout serves passengers as well which should satisfy visitors. Best of all it has a point to point branch line (and a cleverly placed wye) with more operations potential in half the space of my last layout with plenty of industries, team tracks, and opportunity for interchange. My last layout was built for ops and I implemented car cards and waybills so I'll be able to dig those out again.

    I've never built a helix or a multi deck layout before but it's time to tackle it like so many before me have and succeeded.

    I started the benchwork tonight. The corner for Damascus is done minus the legs.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. dalebaker

    dalebaker TrainBoard Member

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    It would be nice to see the track plan. It's always interesting to see someone layout progress.
    Thanks for posting.
     
  3. Jeepy84

    Jeepy84 TrainBoard Member

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    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  4. jasonboche

    jasonboche TrainBoard Member

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    I wanted to post the track plan from MR magazine but I wasn't sure if it would violate copyright or Trainboard terms of service. I'm relearning the ropes here. Thanks Jeepy84. Damascus is on the lower level which the guy drinking coffee is looking at in the diagram. His wrist is pointing directly at the corner section I just built. The module occupies a 2x2 area with a 45 degree wrap around.

    I struggled a lot with the benchwork design. This is an around-the-room/shelf layout plan so it made sense that I'd fabricate hangers coming out from the wall and I wanted to try L-girder for the first time. However, over the course of time I learned two things: 1) L-girder is not a good fit for multi-deck layouts - takes up too much space. 2) Hangers and bracket support coming out from the wall conflicts with the hidden staging grades that duck around the outside perimeter of the layout. So it will be a combination of butt-joint/open-grid tables attached to the wall with legs and risers for the lower decks. Probably the same for the upper deck except no legs, I'll use metal brackets or hangers and maybe thinner profile joists than the 1x4s I'm using for the lower deck which is actually supporting 2 decks when factoring in hidden staging.

    Joist spacing on the first corner module didn't leave me much room for drilling risers so I'll need to acquire a right angle drill. I plan on knocking out the opposite corner module tonight where trains exit Abingdon. One track ducks down to hidden staging. The other climbs to Damascus.
     
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Jason-

    You can link in from an outside source. It's just being used as an educational reference and people would need to argue about so-called "Fair Use"- Which is full of loopholes and catches. It's up to their web site management to allow or prevent hot linking. But downloading then uploading here or on our RailImages is not allowed. That gets into different areas of larger headache. :(
     
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  6. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Anytime I see a N&W layout my eyes get all big and my heart races. I can't wait to see more progress. Will this be a steam, diesel, or mixed?

    I have several good books on N&W. They are full of odd examples on the N&W. You should have fun with lots of things on this line. Even whistle stops for loading up milk cans could be fun. They used combines for that. I have one book that shows a N&W mallet pulling a four, or five car local. So if you want to be prototypical, you can even run the big steam as switchers.
     
  7. jasonboche

    jasonboche TrainBoard Member

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    I built my last layout without this tool. I don't know how other than it was slower.
    [​IMG]

    The second frame supporting Abingdon on the lower deck is built (right). I noticed the first frame I built last night (left) I goofed on two measurements so it needs about 15 minutes of rework. No big deal but glad I caught it early on.
    [​IMG]

    This weekend's goal, if time permits, is to finish the remaining lower deck framing and maybe start getting legs on and screwing into the perimeter wall. Then it's plywood time. I looked at 3/4" 5 ply birch last night. That's some serious plywood. I haven't decided yet on what I'm going to use other than I'm sure it'll be 5 ply.

    If you're following along using the September 2010 MR article, you may notice by now I've flipped the track plan on its horizontal edge. There were a few reasons for this, the main one being I have 1 extra foot in the room and I was going to stretch the track plan from 11 x 9 to 11 x 10 and I didn't want the helix in front of the closet. One compromise I would have to make is that the doorway entrance wouldn't have lift out sections, it would be a duck under/crawl under entrance. However I realized tonight I won't be able to use that extra 1 foot because the entrance door swing was broader than I expected so I think I'm going to flip my implementation of track plan back to how it's printed in the magazine article. I'm thin and I'll also be able to shimmy in that 1 foot aisle into the closet standing up behind the layout, as will the kids, making the closet more accessible for household storage. That will make my wife a little happier. We should still be able to crawl under the helix as well - it's over 3 feet off the floor. The closet may also give me an advantage of working on the helix from the rear.

    I'll recall my earlier comment about no turnouts on grades. It appears to be unavoidable in White Top. In doing some reading, it looks like turnouts on grades are actually not as bad as I thought, as long as the turnout is not mounted on a grade transition itself along with a few other things to watch out for regarding superelevation and the divirging route.

    traingeekboy, I may have mislead you with my opening thread statement. It's the track plan that attracted me, not the N&W specifically. I'm going to follow the article as closely as I can but I may make substitutions here and there if needed. I'm more of a diesel guy but for instance I'm not sure that means I have absolutely have to remove the water tank in Creek Junction or West Jefferson. They'd stay if I was modeling the steam/diesel transition era but I'll be running more modern trains than that so hopefully they don't look bad. Besides, we'll need them there when we do run steam on the layout. I'm a big fan of operations and so I'm counting on the industries to yield a large variety of movements. As such, the author made no provision for interchange but that's one thing I'll be adding because it adds another exciting dimension for operations. I'm thrilled to get going on that branch line but a majority of the excitement I think is going to be on the upper deck. One more frame tomorrow night and probably back to the lumber store.
     
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    A few years ago, I bought one of those clamps. So glad to have it in my tool box!
     
  9. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    look forward to watching your progress
     
  10. jasonboche

    jasonboche TrainBoard Member

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    More Abingdon benchwork completed tonight. For the longer sections like this one, joists are 16" to 18" centers. Next up will be finishing Damascus and Creek Junction. I also installed a Digitrax DH126D decoder tonight in my 8 year old son's first locomotive he purchased last week from the club. It's a Athearn blue box Conrail GP35. I had to dig out the soldering iron, solder, and flux for this project. My son will be running his loco at the club tomorrow during our ops session. Twin Cities railfans reported there were a couple of traveling Trainboard cars that are set out on the interchange tracks. We'll get that GP dispatched to go pick them up and bring them into the branchline yard for blocking, then we'll bring them out onto the main to show off to visitors.
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Fun! Great to read your son has an interest. Feed that fire and hopefully he'll be a life long member of this hobby community.
     
  12. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    look forward to seeing our Trainboard cars in action
     
  13. jasonboche

    jasonboche TrainBoard Member

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    Joshua and I stopped at a few big box home stores on the way home from the club tonight. They had fresh bundles of 1x4s instead of the picked over stuff I have to wade through for an hour so I used this opportunity load up. Another piece of benchwork fabricated in the garage and has made its way to the basement. This one went fast. If only they were all simple rectangles. This connects Abingdon on the left to a work in progress Damascus on the right. North, South, East, and West, the benchwork is measuring 11x9 thus far so my measuring has been good. Creek Junction will be the last module I tackle and it's going to be somewhat of a bear. Lots of cuts and angles, and it buts up against the helix so I have to get that done right. Tomorrow: gym, church, club, and finish Damascus. Maybe start getting 1x4s up on the walls of the train room tied into the studs which I've already located and marked last week. I probably won't get to legs and plywood until early next week. I haven't purchased plywood yet. Still trying to decide on 5 ply (pine?) or 5 ply birch.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Fast progress. Maybe another week until you mount those frame on the wall?
     
  15. jasonboche

    jasonboche TrainBoard Member

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    Sooner than that. Probably tomorrow or Tuesday. I need to settle on plywood so I can determine proper height.
     
  16. jasonboche

    jasonboche TrainBoard Member

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    The module supporting hidden staging and Damascus on the lower deck is done. I think I'm calling it quits for the night. I'm spent. All that's left for the lower deck is Creek Junction.

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. jasonboche

    jasonboche TrainBoard Member

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    Creek Junction, aka "the 2 hour module" (2 guesses as to how it got that name), enters the train room in the lower right. That wraps up the open-grid framing for hidden staging and the lower deck. To boot, I managed to not lose a finger in the table saw - that thing scares the bejesus out of me. Butted together, all corners still measure 11 x 9 which is fantastic.

    Edit: Looking at the picture, I can see an area in the new module I don't like. I'll rework it tomorrow to provide better structural support instead of symmetry.

    Living in the midwest, a few things I learned on my first layout:
    1) Paint the benchwork to minimize shifting during large swings in humidity
    2) Painting is a pain when done after everything is assembled

    Although I already purchased some "oops" earth tone paint last week (save a bundle on oops paint), once again the benchwork is somewhat assembled with nothing painted. Now that I have children, and the children are supposed to be helping me on this project, I've got a job for them... If the weather cooperates, we might be able to still knock this out by taking the modules outside or into the garage and getting the painting done still before the legs are on and the modules are screwed into the wall. That would still make painting quite a bit easier. We'll see. Either way, it's time for these modules to levitate and move on to plywood.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  18. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    1) Definitely. A smart idea.

    2) Yup. But not always possible to paint first. Perhaps better to first have everything all tightly together. And in case of deciding to make any changes.

    If weather cooperates, I'd opt for outdoors with the youngsters. Even though assembled, a good lesson on patience and persistence.
     
  19. jasonboche

    jasonboche TrainBoard Member

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    Creek Junction rework completed. Painting went surprisingly fast tonight. I had good helpers. I can't remember if I did a second coat last time or not. It certainly wouldn't hurt. I'll have to see how it dries. I like this dark brown a lot better than the pukey earth tone color I chose for my last layout. I guess it worked; I just got to hating it. The name of this oops color was coffee something or other. Suits me very well in a few ways.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    That looks like the same color I use. Essentially what they call an 'Oxford Brown'.
     

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