The Design and the Numbers.
The under/over bridge in the original Gum Stump & Snowshoe was eliminated in favour of opening things up and allowing for “reasonable” grades, but otherwise the overall design is similar.
The logging camp is located on the upper left portion and will be heavily treed. The engine facilities are on the lower right side. The sawmill will be on the lower left/front to the left of the partial log pond located behind the front fascia. The lower-left track doubles as a switchback run-off and a siding to pick up cut lumber. I managed to squeeze in a short run-around at front-right. In the future I can also add an “L” shaped extension on the right hand side by extending the curved track at front-right ground level along its 15" radius.
There are three bridges. The largest is cut timber trestle over the gorge at the left rear. To the far right side will be a lower cribbed trestle that supports the run-off. A very small log bridge will be located over Caricature Creek that drains the beaver pond in the gorge and feeds the log pond.
Grades ended up being 5%. I may regret not limiting them to 4%, but testing proved my Shays and Porter could handle 5% with a couple of cars. I made sure the transitions are smooth.
Switchback extensions are all roughly 22” long which is long enough to handle my Shays and 2-3 skeleton log cars which is more than enough for this layout.
Minimum radius is 15” which my Shays and Porters can easily handle.
I used Peco ON30 track and turnouts on my Christmas layouts but I didn’t care for the tie thicknesses and the turnouts are too long for a small logging type layout. ME engineering ON30 stuff was a little expensive and turnouts are reputedly not quite as robust as Peco, so I went with standard Atlas HO code 100 flex with 25% of the ties removed. I didn’t bother trying to remove any ties from the turnouts and will try to bury those.
Turnouts are Peco Insulfrog Settrack code 100 #5’s short radius (17.5”) which is fine for geared steam and porters. Switches will be operated by hand. I soldered a jumper wire on each rail at the pivot of the points to ensure positive electrical contact.
There’s no sub-roadbed nor ballast – track is glued directly to the shell. Most logging RR’s didn’t use ballast and ties ended up being mostly buried which is what this should look like when finished (and is also the reason I went with code 100).
This shot gives you an idea of the grades.
Yes, I started the layout in January, but what you see in the last couple of photos represents where the layout is now. I just finished the bus wiring and will solder the feeders next but there'll be a delay while I wait for some IDC's (aka suitcase connectors) to show up that I bought from ebay. I have yet to run any trains on the layout. I have a few more photos to illustrate some scenery decisions I made and a scratch built loco shed, but most the future posts will coincide with the building progress.
Si, I may just be lucky but I did test my ON30 Shay on a 15" loop and it seemed to work...but I do have a box of Bachmann replacement parts including some different drive shafts so I'll figure something out if I run into problems. I also tested my partly built BVM Silver City Sidewinder that's based on an HO scale shay and it also seemed to run fine on 15" curves. But I fully expect once I start running trains some gremlins are going to pop out from somewhere!
Gary, glad to see I'm not the only one who uses turnouts, flex-track and pins to sort out track plans. I think it's referred to as organic planning! Especially useful for those of us who are less than competent with CAD and other mysteries of this universe!
Yes! Its the "keep it simple" principle!
So I decided not to wait for the IDC connectors to show up and just ended up soldering a dozen drops to the bus -- it only took a couple of hours...sometimes the simplest direct approach is the best. After giving the rails a good cleaning I started testing some locos. Remember those gremlins I mentioned? Turns out I was right to be worrying about the grades. I designed the layout for maximum 5% grades which the lower switchback meets and seems to work, but something got out of whack on the left portion of the top switchback which is closer to 6% over the canyon and some of my locos, especially the ON30 Shay, struggles when hauling a few cars. So I'm going to shave maybe 1/2" off the top left deck (logging camp area) and get the grade in that area down below 5%.
Had I used a CAD program and carefully laid things out maybe this wouldn't have happened. On the other hand I don't think even CAD can eliminate the gremlins completely. Case in point: I subscribe to Model Railroader Video Plus and was watching them build the benchwork on Canadian Canyons project layout. It's a very complex layout that obviously required the use of CAD to design. The interesting thing is that during construction they ended up having to expand the layout by adding an entire 1 foot right in the middle of the layout to gain some badly needed clearances for turnouts. So even using CAD technology will not necessarily eliminate red-do's.
The good news is that all of my locos run well in both directions/orientations on the 15" radii curves. Whew!
So, tonight I pull out the exacto blades and box cutters and have at-it! Did I mention that I just love foam construction!
Last edited on Tue Apr 4th, 2017 04:20 pm by Gary I