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Thread: Costruction is under way on the GNRR Pitch Fork Pass!

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    Icon10 Costruction is under way on the GNR Pitch Fork Pass!

    The final pieces of the benchwork are going into place, and minor adjustments are being made to ensure an absolutely level framework for the road bed stanchions to rest on will exist. An absolute must if you want your grades to be accurate. Many don't take into consideration that if your benchwork is a quarter bubble off (sits to one side of the center line or the other, but still within the "level" markers), on a 4' level, that can translate to 0.5% grade inaccuracy very easily in N-Scale. A half percent, that can become incredibly annoying when it causes your strongest and heaviest locos to stall out, half way up the grade.

    That's super important if you plan any long trains, as my experience has been, anything over 2-2.25% is just too steep for N-Scale, and is just asking for problems (JMO) and will make multiple loco lash-ups become mandatory, not optional. I'm passing this along, as I discovered it first hand on my last layout, and don't want anyone else to suffer the same headaches I had. "Nah... that's gonna be close enough!"... not in 1:160th scale it's not! Needless to say, that resulted in many unnecessary shims being used in multiple places on the layout, correcting grade problems.

    It is an open grid style benchwork frame, 10'x3' (one end has a short taper, down to 24"), with the "base level" roadbed being 2.5" above the grid. From that base level, there will be one 2% uphill climb, and one 2% downhill run. Both grades will be longer than 10' each, and 90+% straight, so the actual grade will be closer to 1.75% on both... quite easy for most locos to handle. One grade will rise to the "Pitch Fork Yard" and the other, descending to a lower level staging yard. Both yards will be "L-shaped" extensions on the 'north' end of the layout.

    The track plan is being very precisely designed on the sheet(s) the roadbed will be cut from, using an "evolving sketch" of my present mental game plan. Hopefully, this will result in a well working, rock solid roadbed design that will be tested before it is translated to a detailed visual "track plan". This is just the way I've always done it... it seems to help me avoid improper trackage alignment when the time comes. I'm not a big fan of any of the design software available, but I will be drawing the plan out on my PC and will post progressive images of the plan as they are completed. I took three years of "non-cad" drafting and architecture, and then was dumb enough to become a paramedic instead.

    Nice to have the smell of fresh cut lumber permeating my office again!! We're off to the races now, so pics will start chronicling the effort very soon!!

    Hope everyone's day is great so far!!

    Cheers my fellow RailRoaders!

    PS... I keep getting slower and more meticulous as I continue to age, so don't start looking for any pics of the "Golden Spike" being driven anytime real soon.
    Last edited by GNMatz; 18th Sep 2018 at 11:53 PM. Reason: Had "south" in place of "north"... that could be a problem!

    GNR Pitch Fork Pass






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    Golden spike?? We wanna see pics of the benchwork man!! Fork em over!

    Sounds like you have taken great care and time with your benchwork and we all look forward to your progress I am sure!

    Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are.



    Ron

    For now, innocent bystander and occasional commentator

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    Benchwork South, and benchwork North. There will be additional cross members, but they won't be placed until the design of all of the roadbed they will support is complete.

    South



    North



    The frame hanging below, is a desk drawer frame. I plan on using the drawers for locos and rollingstock when it's running!

    GNR Pitch Fork Pass






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    Very nice looking tables so far! Solid and clean. Keep us posted!

    Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are.



    Ron

    For now, innocent bystander and occasional commentator

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    Thanks Ron. Solid as a rock! it will easily handle 250+ lbs spanned over 4-6 feet. I plan on replacing the legs soon, and adding larger posts with height adjustable feet... just for leveling purposes of the "front side" should anything settle.

    GNR Pitch Fork Pass






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    Quote Originally Posted by GNMatz View Post
    Thanks Ron. Solid as a rock! it will easily handle 250+ lbs spanned over 4-6 feet. I plan on replacing the legs soon, and adding larger posts with height adjustable feet... just for leveling purposes of the "front side" should anything settle.
    Are you planning on taking naps on it?

    Seriously... nice looking benchwork. I wish mine looked that neat.

    We sometimes scoff at how "overbuilt" many layouts are - and to some extent it's probably true, given that we are usually using techniques developed for Lionel layouts and people walking on them - but I think maybe we shouldn't underestimate the need for a solidly built foundation to make sure things don't shift over time. O scale may be four times bigger (and 37 times more massive!) but consequently our stuff is much more sensitive to small shifts in alignment and such. A track joint 1/32 off in O scale might not be noticed, while that same joint could cause a derailment in N.

    More pictures, please!
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    I agree TD!! It is somewhat "overbuilt", but all my previous efforts caused me to cuss my shoddy benchwork. I would one day notice a car free wheel down a siding and say to myself "Wait!!! There's no grade there!?!?!?" only to find out that one created itself over tiime, and fixing the problem would entail serious, unnecessary work. I have promised myself that this time, all the steps are taken in the right order to maximize performance and appearance, and have a layout that I can actually operate trains on. Rock solid benchwork and bulletproof track and wiring should fill the order! The wiring is the other area that will come across looking "overbuilt" as well I hope !! Thanx for looking.

    hraka... the bulk of the plan is done, but I'm undecided on some of the sidings, industries etc. Once I get things closer to carved in stone, I'll draw it up!

    GNR Pitch Fork Pass






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    Great start, good solid benchwork is the foundation.
    My favorite computer game is "Stump The Spellchecker"...
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    Matt,

    How did you make the layout level? Did you put a "cleat" on the wall the legs in the front? I am thinking of doing this for mine, and was wonder what way I should go about it and the floor is not really level in the room I will be in.

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    I'm looking forward to this build. Subscribed!
    Check out my blog - Hill Valley Lines

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chisanga View Post
    I'm looking forward to this build. Subscribed!
    Responding to the thread subscribes you automatically!

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    Matt, that is a well built frame. Excellent!

    Btw ... your location says "DFW". For those of us unfamiliar, where is that?
    - - There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I like to use that line as a jump rope. ... (unknown)

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    Quote Originally Posted by StrasburgNut View Post
    Matt,

    How did you make the layout level? Did you put a "cleat" on the wall the legs in the front? I am thinking of doing this for mine, and was wonder what way I should go about it and the floor is not really level in the room I will be in.
    Exactly. Start at one corner at whatever desired height, and level everything off of that one single point. Use at least a 4' level (6 foot preferred) or a good cheap rotating laser, and as you work away from that corner, it should all be affixed when it is level. Measuring from the ceiling down, or the floor up simply matches that surface, which may, or may not, be level.

    I started with an 8'x3' frame, joists glued and screwed in place, and then mounted it as close to perfectly level as possible. Then I filled in the angular corner section, leveling it to match the rest. If you nail it on the head, you should be able to put a level in the back center, and start making a half circle with it across the joists and the front stringer. If it's not level, adjust as needed, and then secure all points on the walls in place. The front can be easily adjusted by the legs if needed.

    *One other very, very important point I forgot to mention. Be sure you "crown" your lumber. What that means is, hold all your boards, especially the long spans, on edge with you at one end. Look for any up or down curve in the lumber, and always place the lumber curved side up. As it gains weight, that "crown" will straighten out. However... if you place it "crown side down", the curve will have no choice but to become more extreme.*

    Before I became a paramedic, I used to frame houses. We used so many tricks to get things square, level and plumb, it would be hard to list them all. Feel free to ask any questions you like, 'cause all you electronically savvy modelers are gonna get plenty from me!
    Last edited by GNMatz; 4th Aug 2011 at 06:15 PM. Reason: Short circuited brain

    GNR Pitch Fork Pass






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    Quote Originally Posted by musicman View Post
    Matt, that is a well built frame. Excellent!

    Btw ... your location says "DFW". For those of us unfamiliar, where is that?
    Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. Many of us use DFW because of the airport. It's rumored that when you die, regardless of where you go, you'll have a connecting flight outta DFW!

    GNR Pitch Fork Pass






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    Matt,

    Nice looking benchwork. Looking forward to seeing your track plan and continuing progress!

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    great start to what shoudl be a great railroad!!....keep us updated
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    Well... went through another wonderful experience with my health (I have MS, it hates me, I hate it, pretty simple) so progress has been slow the past month. This weekend, I felt much better and started some new work. I've found yet again,that plans and I don't mix well, even though I used to draw plans and build homes from them. So, I've decided the key elements that must exist, will build them in, and let everything evolve around them (like my last layout) lol. There will be ample room for industry, passenger and a modest switch yard.

    The layout is basically a "folded" point to point the lower point being a small staging storage yard on a lower level, and the other point being the yard at Pitch Fork which is up towards the pass. In between is the center level where the will be a semi-oval, and a reversing loop combination. I'll sketch out some ideas and post them real soon. Yesterday and today, I've been working on elevating to "base level, and creating the grades uphill and downhill to the two yards. With the first portion, being the line that ascends to/from Pitch Fork. The grade is at 2.25%, and I've laid some test track on it, and it seems it will work out well.

    First tests with an RS-1, a light switcher/booster will handle 8-10 cars uphill without any slippage. My heavier locos, GP7's, FT-5, E7A, SD7's etc, will all pull 12+ with no problems, so I comfortable enough with the grade to begin making the lines permanent. I'll get a picture or two up later this evening.

    The way I see it, any progress is good... means we're waking up on the top side of the grass!!

    GNR Pitch Fork Pass






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    Congratulations on beginning. Sorry to hear about your difficulties. I also was in the building business and drew a lot of plans, renovated a lot of old buildings, loved my work, retired too soon.

    I applaud you for taking the approach of building in essentials and then letting the rest evolve. I spent months on the plan and would not start building anything until the plan was complete, only to discover that, as I should have known, certain aspects of the plan needed to be changed as the layout evolved. Quite simply, had I started the way you are, it would have been easier to allow those things to evolve rather than ending up having to make changes.

    I guess what I am saying is that too much planning in this case may not be the best approach. Good luck with it. We are looking forward to your progress ... with lots of photos please.
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    GNRRPFP-8-29-1.jpg

    This is the uphill grade leading to Pitch Fork Pass. It has 1x2 stantions every 12", the grade here is right at 2.25-2.5 percent... depending on how picky ya get. Just this side of that inclining roadbed, the is a descending roadbed running parallel, except downhill. It will lead to a small staging/storage yard, directly below the Pitch Fork yard.

    GNRRPFP-8-29-2.jpg

    "A" in this shot is the "base level" of the town. "B" is the downhill grade to the staging yard (notice, there are no stantions in place supporting it yet... maybe tomorrow ; }-~ ) and "C" is the uphill grade to Pitch Fork Pass Yard, which after the above pictured track turns 90 degrees towards the front, will become an "L" shape at the far right end, extending 6'6" from the back wall.

    I'll get a sketch up soon... it'll make more sense then. LOL

    GNR Pitch Fork Pass






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