Monday, January 16, 2017

Construction Report: January 16, 2017

Progress continues under the stairs and around the corner on the benchwork for my version of Pine Valley Yard in Dillonvale, Ohio. Pine Valley will act as a open staging yard for two of the four timetable freights and as it did in real life the starting point for many of the mine runs in the area.

I plan to make a stand alone blog post about the role that Pine Valley Yard will have in layout operations and how it will be modeled. On to the benchwork photos.

Having the benchwork go under the stairs was not the most ideal situation but it gets me the room to hold at least three or four 9-10 foot long trains. There's no way I could have switches starting the yard behind the furnace for access reasons so the run had to be extended.



This was one of of those building phases I probably spent too much time thinking about the best way to proceed. I originally wanted the benchwork to fully attach to the wall but the stairwell framing and stack pipe made that difficult without designing an overly complex 1x4 box frame. Before becoming overwhelmed with decision paralysis I went with the simplest solution, another simple rectangular 20" wide 1x4 box but with one end a little longer to attach to the rest of the benchwork with a cleat. A  small 1x2 block that can be seen below the phone and to the left, keeps things square to the attachment point under the stairs.

Speaking of which there are only three attachment points for this section as seen below. I was originally concerned but the section turned out to be very strong. I'm sure the large metal shelf bracket helps a lot.



I still need to cut a nice piece of birch plywood for the end plate and a matching piece for the future expansion  As I mentioned in my previous Construction Report, I would still like to expand this area with a removable engine terminal module for operating sessions (or until my wife says "Get that thing out of my path to the laundry"). Part of me feels like I might just build the module now while I'm on a roll.

Here's another look at a quick mock up, this time on the completed benchwork.


I think I'll angle the scene out of the curve (somewhat like seen above) so the yard ladder closes along the layout edge (bottom right and probably on the removable section). This will open up more space for the engine terminal. Thanks to Mark Flood for the idea, he drew his track layout for Minster, Ohio at an angle to include more buildings while designing a modular NKP Minster Branch.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Construction Report: January 8, 2017

After my December update the work on remodeling the bathroom was pushed back until after the holidays. In the meantime however I'm warming up my construction skills by building more benchwork for the layout.

I knew the difficult parts of the layout to build would be the sections that run over the laundry area and another part that will run behind the furnace. Each section needed a part or all of it to be removed for maintenance reasons. The washing machine/water heater section that represents east of Adena to Long Run Tunnel was completed in Construction Report: September 3, 2016.

The west portal of the Long Run Tunnel will be a bit left of the various vent ducts as seen below. Everything beyond begins the next section of benchwork. This area will be "hidden" as it goes behind the furnace.


This section from Long Run Tunnel runs to a "open" staging yard which will also double as a very abbreviated representation of Pine Valley Yard at Dillonvale. Due to a combination of the narrow space and the overhead duct work I switched to a traditional 1x4 open grid style construction instead of my wall studs and shelf brackets benchwork method. I feel by the time I'm done I will have used just about every possible construction method on this layout!

The furnace section will have the mainline running downgrade so the Pine Valley Yard/staging can clear the framework of the basement stairs. Coming off the mainline after the tunnel portal will be a diverging route that will run upgrade to meet with the far other end of the mainline as a continuous run track. To achieve both I needed to use risers hence the open grid benchwork.

I made the section directly behind the furnace in two pieces so one section can be removed to perform maintenance on the humidifier. The removable section is bolted to a bracket on one side and the rest of the benchwork on the other. We only run it in the winter so it will be a few years before I have to access the humidifier.

Here's the completed section before installation.



Here is is installed and connected to the benchwork along the back wall. As you can see the Humidifier creates a brief narrow 7 inch space between it and the wall, plenty of room for 2 tracks.


Along the back wall is where Pine Valley Yard/Staging will begin. Here I continued the open grid benchwork due the need for another removable section, this time for fuse box access.

The dark colored wood to the left is not support for the benchwork but just a headboard for a bed in storage.
On the other side the benchwork continues through an odd shelf built into the stairs. The fuse box gap will be filled with an easily removable plywood section.

Under the stairs and around the corner. SPAX screws are awesome by the way.


Before I could build the the final section the weather turned bitterly cold making it no fun to cut wood in the garage, but here's an idea of what I hope to accomplish.

A crude mock up of the engine staging scene with the Pine Valley Yard Office. The little wood shelf still needs to be removed.
The end of the staging yard will also function as the starting point for all of the mine runs. Just like at the real Pine Valley, each mine job will be staged at the Yard Office waiting for their turn to head out. I don't need a whole lot of staging tracks as research has shown the mine runs didn't return with much, leaving a vast majority of the coal in Adena.

I'll build this last part with the thought to expand in the future by adding a proper engine facility. For now this arrangement will serve the immediate needs of the layout.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017