Sunday, September 4, 2016

Construction Report: September 3, 2016, Coming Around the Corner

In Wordless Wednesday #91 I showed a bit of the west end of Adena as I tested my planned full train size (about 9 feet long, engine through caboose). Aside from laying down a temporary 25 foot mainline for testing and just to run some trains, most of my latest work actually involves the other end of Adena.

In order to fit the Adena yard into my space the east end of the yard ladder will curve the wrong way compared to the prototype. As you can see in the below photo the yard ladder practically starts at the bridge over the Short Creek and then curves right. My yard will unfortunately curve left here but that's just sometimes a fact of compromise when building a prototype based layout.

820 pulls a westbound coal drag over the Short Creek and into Adena yard.
This is one of only two photos I know of that show this end of the yard in action. The other is on the back cover of the April 1950 NKP Company Magazine showing a 2-6-6-2 in the same view but with much better detail. One of these days I'll get myself a copy.

To preserve the bridge being as straight as it's prototype I designed a section of benchwork that carries it above the dryer and water heater. This piece of benchwork had to be strong and removable to access the water heater if necessary, so I built it out of 3/4" plywood instead of my usual foam base.

At this point I'm sure some of you will be quick to point out I should not be building something that close to my Water Heater's exhaust flue, and you're right. In my quest to try and keep bridges and whatnot as prototypical as possible I felt building across the top of my Water Heater would be ok. Once I had this piece built and in place I immediately felt extremely uncomfortable about it and took it down.

For the last month I wrestled with how to re-approach this section, keep it and just remove it when the layout wasn't in use or do a full redesign? Knowing that my son would want to run trains when I wasn't around to help get this section back in place, I opted for the full redesign.

Compromise once again appeared and I decided to curve the bridge somewhat to get around the Water Heater. The plan here is after exiting Adena Yard and crossing the Short Creek the mainline will disappear into Long Run Tunnel and head into a staging yard representing all points east (Pine Valley Yard, Mingo Junction, and Martins Ferry). The small yard at Herrick in between Adena and Dillonvale is another victim of compromise, hence the run straight to Long Run Tunnel. As seen below, I used cardboard to mockup a new safer design.

Cardboard mockup with a slightly curved bridge.
Cardboard mockup in place.

The new design will allow me to sleep at night as it now swings around the Water Heater altogether and avoids the potentially hot areas of the Water Heater.

I still needed this section to be removable so I stuck with the same construction methods as before but this time I used some Birch plywood for added stability. The cardboard mockup ended up being sacrificed as a cutting template.

Much better, plenty of space and available airflow.
I'm real happy with how the construction turned out and it's a redesign I can totally live with. This was a good lesson to learn and I feel sharing a mistake in planning is a huge part in sharing my overall progress on this blog. Even though this won't be a perfect representation of the scene I wanted to recreate in the photo, I still can't wait to see it come to life.


  1. Greetings Chris. I compliment you on your ability to see a "compromise" and then not let that situation deter you from still achieving a remarkable prototypical result. It is one thing to find a compromise solution but an entirely different thing to be able to accept it and actually institute it and not negate the prototype fidelity. You are able to "think" but not "overthink" a potential problem. This is one of the many reasons you will end up with a Class A railroad. Continued best wishes!
    Jim Talbott
    Canton, MI

    1. Thanks again Jim! The balance between prototype reality and compromise due to space is a never ending battle. One day I'll hit the lotto and get myself a 1 million square foot warehouse.

  2. Once again a great job making use of your available space. That water heater looks fairly new, or else I'd say now would be a great time to switch to an electric one...

    1. Thanks Jeff. The water heater is about 3-4 years old now and hopefully we won't be replacing that for a while.

  3. There is nothing wrong with having to make the compromise. It is a necessity in this case. Don't let it deter you from what is a great project. My hat comes off to you and I hope that you manage to keep up the enthusiasm and spirit which come across so well in your blogs. That was a clever workaround to let you still access the water heater! Keep up the good work and good luck.