SoCal Cajon Pass Layout

steveparkinson Oct 28, 2018

  1. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    Hello everyone, I've been meaning to get some photos of my new build up here on the site. I had a previous layout in California but moved this past summer to Maryland and had to start over on a new layout. My old layout was very old and pieced together over the years so I took advantage of an opportunity of a new build from scratch. I'm sure I'll have many questions along the way but I hope you follow along and feedback is always welcome.

    Benchwork construction on the new Southern California modern day Cajon Pass layout breaks ground....

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    Of course watching trains while building bench work is a must.
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    Lower level (yard) bench work continues....
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  2. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    Lower level reversing loop goes up (this section is about 4 feet across from the outside to the wall to give an idea on the size.
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  3. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    Opposite end of the yard construction begins and this will be what will be the three BNSF tracks that run parallel to the 215 coming out of San Bernardino yard headed up to the Cajon Pass... I had to work that circuit breaker into the layout so I can still access later on. I can open and access the breaker panel and eventually will hide it with fascia board or masonite to match the rest of the back drops...

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    Couple shots of the progress so far....

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    Attached Files:

  4. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    More bench work going up, this is the section that will contain a helix to help with the 2 percent grade up to Cajon (upper level).

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    Walls getting painted out blue for now.... Undecided on how we'll do the backgrounds at this point.

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  5. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    Reinforcing the upper level so I don't need legs coming off of it. Upper and lower levels were mounting directly into the studs. Upper level has the extra braces and lower level will have legs. Also built the upper level section for in front of the circuit breaker panel and dressed up the benchwork a bit on the lower level....

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    Starting mapping out bench work section that will support/contain the helix from the lower to upper level. I used extra blind slats to mock up the bench work and helix itself before ever cutting a piece of wood. This section will be about 60 inches across...

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    One more update coming later tonight after I clear a few things up but that's about a months worth of work so far. Thanks for checking it out and please feel free to leave comments and feedback.

    Steve
     
  6. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    Having once had a CAjon Pass layout myself, two level, which I considered the biggest mistake of my life after my ill fated marriage. I commend you on a great selection, but I'm concerned about one thing. It appears that the benchwork is all cantlevered off the wall. I would be concerned about sagging. I wish you well.

    Bill
     
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  7. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Bill and thanks for the feedback. I did drive multiple three inch screws in at each stud (every 16 inches or so). I also mounted some 90 degree brackets underneath about every third stud but will probably add more as needed. I guess if I ever run into sagging I could always mount some legs to the upper and lower level but for now I only want legs in the lower level.

    Do you have a link for your old layout or any pictures/videos of it? I’d love to see it.

    Thanks
    Steve


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  8. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    Finished Helix benchwork.....

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    Starting cutting sub roadbed for the Sullivans Curve part of the layout. This first loop will be a reversing loop hidden under Sullivan’s Curve that connects Main 1 and 2 after they run through the hidden loop.....

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    Always check that height.....

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    Here I cut out and built what will be the BNSF Main 1 and 2 section of Sullivan’s Curve (using my helix benchwork as a work bench).....

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    Test fitting above the reversing loop....

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    Here you can see where Main 3 takes the solo route....

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    Cajon (rough but not installed yet)

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  9. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    A bit more from what I worked on today....

    Risers going in under Main 1 / 2 and Main 3....

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    Main 1 -3 sections marked, removed to pull out reversing loop to pay sub roadbed, track and feeders prior to installing permanently on the layout....

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  10. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Dang, this is gonna be epic!! Keep the progress pics coming!!(y)
     
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  11. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    Kurt,

    Will do and thank you! I hope so, it will definitely be made to run some nice long trains through some beautiful scenery (that’s the vision at least).

    Steve


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  12. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nice looking benchwork! Solid. Can you share a track plan with us?
     
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  13. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    I can do that tonight when I get home, it’s a bunch of scribble on a notepad so I’ll see if I can clean it up a bit or put a new one together as I’d be embarrassed to upload the old one!

    Steve


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  14. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    I do not have any online presence, nor will I. I am short of photos of it as most were shot on film. But the good news is if you can get a copy of the 1999 issue of MRP, it is in there, along with a companion article on Otto Kroutil's Cajon layout.

    REgrettably, my layout no longer exists, as it was permanantly attached to the basement walls of the house I gave away.

    Bill
     
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  15. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    I am very interested in seeing your track plan.
     
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  16. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Member

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    Wow Steve, you are really moving on this bench work !

    As Bill pointed out, the cantilevered upper level needs plenty of support to avoid sagging. Most of my own layout is a shelf type as well and I can offer some insight to my experiences so far.

    • Used the same shelf brackets you are using at every stud, every 16 inches
    • My max bench work depth is 22 inches.
    • Eliminated need for legs on lower level by using large bracket with cross bracing at a few key spots.
    • At locations where they can be hidden by scenery such as a mountain or tunnel use these same type brackets on the top of the bench work.
    • The adding (with glue) of a hard board fasica along the front with seams offset from seams in bench work added a surprising amount of strength.
    So far, bench work stability has not been a problem over the past 4 years that I've been working on this layout. I am really enjoying following your progress.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
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  17. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    Bill, thanks anyway. I’ll try googling it or see if I can find a copy of it (Model Railroad Plans?? - correct me if I’m wrong).

    Sorry to hear you no longer have the layout. Its never easy having to tear one down or leave it.

    Track planning coming....

    Thanks again!
    Steve


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    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
  18. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you very much for the tips, I will definitively add some of them moving forward. Any pictures would be great if you don’t mind sharing a few of your top brackets and cross bracing mentioned.

    I did use wood glue on all my bench work and reinforced with 2 inch wood screws on all the ends and cross members. I also ran 3 inch wood screws into every stud and brackets about every other or third stud but I will probably change this to every stud with your tip.

    My max depth is 30 inches on the upper level sections. The only exception would be the upper level reversing loop at the right end of the layout but I plan to add legs at the end piece and could probably also run some legs down through the lower level and hide them in the scenery if needed.


    Thanks for the feedback
    Steve

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  19. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    Here is a very rough track plan of the upper and lower levels. The upper level has the dimensions and the lower level mirrors those dimensions.

    I haven’t fully decided how I’ll run the yard on the lower level so this is just penciled in roughly to give an idea on how much will be yard space.

    Please be gentle as I’m not an artist and I’ve yet to master any type of track planning software. This is a cleaned up version from my notepad of scribbled drafts and other ideas all compiled into one drawing.

    Thanks
    Steve

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  20. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    Found it Bill, once I saw the cover of that issue I knew I had it. Just had to find it in one of my many boxes storing the train items and supplies.

    Wow, that was an amazing layout along with Otto’s. I looked at those plans often but couldn’t make an 11x40 foot layout fit in my garage. I did try to make Otto’s trackplan work but was unable to just because of the layout of my garage and me wanting to keep some space for other things.

    One day I’ll have an entire basement dedicated to a layout that size.... one day!

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    Thanks again for sharing, I’m sorry you no longer have the layout.

    Steve


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