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Thread: What Passes for Progress? A WP&P build thread.

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    Default What Passes for Progress? A WP&P build thread.

    Okay, so maybe there are some of you out there, wondering just what might be going on in the vicinity of Winchester, Virginia, in September - of 1971. I was curious, at least, so I took my camera out railfanning. Here is what I discovered.

    The west end of Winchester yard has, for a long time, come to a sudden termination, as it appeared that Christopher Columbus was wrong and the world actually did come to an end right there. But there are places to go, such as the rest of the layout, and so I found WP&P construction crews hard at work, fabricating the infrastructure of what will ultimately become a one-turn loop of track up to reach the border town of Oxmore, VA.

    layout5540.JPGlayout5541.jpg

    I am using my system of "box benchwork" here. It's basically like cabinets that sit on top of each other. The base is a set of shelves formed from 1x2's, 1x4's, and 1/8" tempered hardboard. This just sits loose, actually. Then, the piece that sits on top of this gets bolted to the adjacent section. It might sound flimsy, but in truth it ends up being rather sturdy, and the whole layout thus can break down into discrete segments that can be moved or replaced when such becomes necessary. The key design concept in the benchwork is that the thin hardboard is exceptionally strong within its plane, and can work like a gusset plate to hold elements at right angles; the wood is just there to reinforce it in its weak direction and provide an anchoring point for the other sides of the box.

    Now, I noticed while the crew was working that the sky was rather overcast. I wondered if the sun would ever come out. As it turns out, I didn't have long to wait!

    layout5543.JPGlayout5545.JPG

    I found these recently while shopping at Meijer; I imagine similar things can be found in other brand names. I have a critical dearth of electrical outlets in my basement, but since these are battery operated it's not an issue. They swivel in all directions so you can aim them as you please, and they're really tiny. Plus, they have two brightness settings; I think I'm going to prefer the low setting most of the time.

    I came back the next weekend to check on the progress, and here is what I found. The upper strata of bedrock/benchwork was starting to be laid. Due to scenic intentions, the main joists were being held down low. This will allow for a hill slope that will dip well below the track level, when done.

    layout5546.jpglayout5547.JPG

    You can also where the overcast grey sky will someday soon be replaced by brilliant blue! The overhanging valance is anchored to the rear of the top box benchwork section, using stiff 2x3's. The hardboard backdrop will take its coved shape due to the angled brackets and the cross bar, and the valance itself is a 2x6 which will hide a 2-foot fluorescent fixture at some time in the future. A hardboard shelf will sit on top of all this, to maximize storage space. You can see how much lower I set the joist tops in this section relative to the adjacent section. If you're wondering what this is gonna look like in terms of a track plan, go read about it on my web site. It's not much, just a loop of track that serves to place some distance between Winchester and Oxmore, but its location right at the "front door" into my layout means that I need to do something dramatic with its scenery, to serve as a teaser or enticement. Operations-wise, though, because this loop is "outside" of the Capon Bridge gate, I didn't want to place any actual operational features that would require an engineer to duckunder and deal with throwing switches, etc. In other words, pure scenery, plain operations.

    A fan of subjoists will allow the deep cantilever that carries the 15" radius mainline turn. The box benchwork is only 18" deep, but the visible benchwork will thrust out to 33"! This is well beyond what I would recommend for a cantilever, ordinarily, but in this case the weight of the backdrop on the back side acts as a counterbalance. Plus, Capon Bridge itself has been built, in terms of raw benchwork at least, and acts as a front-end buttress. In other words, as I am an architectural designer by profession, I can say like they do on TV that "what you are seeing is being done by a professional; do not try this at home!" If you're contemplating a deep overhang or cantilever, the better rule of thumb is to only extend 1/3rd of the total joist length. In other words, to achieve 33" on a cantilever, it should be supported at 0" (the back) and 22" (or more).

    layout5549.jpg

    Here you can see the effect that the LED spotlights have - they are very blue in tone, so I'm gonna need to mix in some other sources. Plus, I don't yet have the light behind the valance; the spots are just out around the perimeter. You can start to get a sense for the lay of the land in this shot, though the plywood is just loose laid for this photo. Right in the front, the plywood will actually be held as low as you see it. The higher plywood on the right side is at the approximate track height, meaning that yes, there will be a very tall bridge on display right here! I haven't completely figured out what this bridge will look like, but I am thinking that I might make it a steel trestle that has replaced a former wooden one. I'll model the footings for the old wood trestle in the ground. There will be steeply sloping hillside right behind this, such that you really won't see much of the sky backdrop beyond. In other words, it'll culminate in a tall view block, so that trains disappear around the bend before they arrive at the next station.

    One thing I really do need to figure out, though, is a place name. You know, sort of how Tehachapi and Georgetown loops are so well known, I'd like to have an identity for this little section. I'm open to suggestion, as long as you're open to me not taking any of those suggestions!

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    Quote Originally Posted by WP&P View Post
    One thing I really do need to figure out, though, is a place name. You know, sort of how Tehachapi and Georgetown loops are so well known, I'd like to have an identity for this little section. I'm open to suggestion, as long as you're open to me not taking any of those suggestions!
    Given the witty name you coined for the thread (took me awhile, but I got it) I doubt I could come up with anything you haven't already rejected yourself, but given the precarious cantilever what immediately sprang to mind was "Hangover Loop". And no, I won't feel bad if you don't use it

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    2 cents. Whispering Pines Pass might fit.
    Do not go gentle into that good night - Thomas
    Dana
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    Land of the Beard ?

    I'm just saying it has a nice ring to it.
    ~Sean


    I HEART KATO!
    Good look with your project and remember most here saying they'll buy are blogging from daddy's basement
    - Signed, an idiot

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    Quote Originally Posted by WP&P View Post
    One thing I really do need to figure out, though, is a place name. You know, sort of how Tehachapi and Georgetown loops are so well known, I'd like to have an identity for this little section. I'm open to suggestion, as long as you're open to me not taking any of those suggestions!
    What about "Suggestion Point"?


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    My first visit to your WP&P site. Very nice.

    I know the area a little bit. After visiting Northern VA a few years back, I too fell for the N&W's lines through the area. Taking some of the smaller highways you can follow the lines making their way across steel viaduct after steel viaduct crossing small hollows and streams. Jaw dropping scenery with rails running through! Winchester is a great sized city to model.

    I too drew up an independant fictitious railroad that took over the line up to Gore (sand industry) and then worked its way down the western slopes to Capon and followed the (Capacon?) River valley up to Paw Paw to intersect with the B&O. A bridge line between N&W and B&O. Also, in my scenario, transition era B&O rail traffic is re-routed up my line and over to Winchester due to flood damage on the B&O main route. Ultamately, my vision of the line would extend North to Hagerstown, South to Front Royal and I really wanted to manage a port location to the East but have not figured the logistics of that yet.

    I have USGS maps of the area and a couple Trains magazines that show all the rail connections and lines that served the Northern VA, PA, MA area. My initial enthusiasm has waned a bit because this was going to be a longer term, larger project. I am focused more on modelling smaller ideas with my limited time. But what a nice surprise to see someone with a similar RR prototype interest.

    I will follow along more closely.

    As for place names. I like the names of the area down there. Capon, Forks of the Capon, Gore, Winchester. How about Winchester Loop, Gore Loop, Winchester Turn, GoreTown Loop..... Oxmore Loop?

    Good luck.

    -Steve

    Incidentally, I was born in Hamilton, lived in Colrain Twnsp for first 10 years. Have a few relatives back there and a good friend I grew up with lives in Hamilton. Cincy is a great town.
    Last edited by Jugtown Modeler; 12th Sep 2012 at 11:34 AM. Reason: added thought
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    Cadama-

    You're cheating! Copying off me!

    Actually, you're right, it's really cool to come across someone else who has given serious consideration to your same prototype. My WP&P is modeled a few years post-merger with N&W, so technically I'm modeling the Winchester Division of N&W. It serves as a bridge route, letting N&W hand over traffic at Grafton rather than Hagerstown, as well as a coal-productive branch. In fact, the coal part of it is really the nugget of my whole fiction, since the two counties of West Virginia that I model are in fact the ONLY TWO COUNTIES in the whole state that have never had any coal mining! In my world, this is not so, and an enterprising surveyor for B&O in the 1890's saw what nobody else did: the potential for coal mining in the Paston Valley. The town had begged B&O to serve it with a branch line, coming south from Green Spring, and it was Mr. Campbell's job to lay out that route, but with his geological discovery and some shady dealings the route instead got built by the start-up Paston Valley Lines, at least as far as Trellisville where the B&O met up with it. Mr. Campbell's investments in PVL paid off, the line grew beyond its short line status, and they began to look for a way to move their coal toward Chesapeake ports without being so monopolized by B&O. The first stage was to get across the state line and into Winchester, and then down to a connection with N&W's Shenandoah line. This at least gave them a competitor. But in the 1920's things were going so swimmingly, they determined to reach their own port and found space in Portsmouth. Along the way, the line had significant connections in Culpeper and Richmond, and it caught the eye of the frugal N&W.

    So, as you can see, I've given a lot of thought towards coming up with a plausible scenario, that all really turns on the supposition that there was coal in them thar hills.

    I'm kinda leaning towards adopting a real place name in that stretch between Winchester and Gore / Oxmore, like I did for the drop-leaf bridge. That sets it a little more firmly in the real-world context, since I'm about 50% fictional in conception.

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    I am a bit envious that you are moving along on your project.
    With limited time to dedicate to model railroading, I have been focused on collecting, building structures, dioramas and have started a "micro" layout project to gain more experience. My version of Northern VA is admittedly a pipe dream layout that won't have a chance until my youngest child is in college.
    Good luck with yours. I can live vicariously through youe website.
    -Steve
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    An update for this weekend:

    I got all the risers in and the plywood fixed in place, and just this morning I wrapped the fascia around it. Now you can really start to see the shape of things to come! I'm realizing that I am going to have a lot of scenic space, even if almost all of it (within the loop) is forest-covered slopes. I hope to make the most of this, and really convey a massive but old Appalachian mountainside.

    The fascia itself serves a structural role, as it reinforces the cantilever. At this stage, it is all really solid. I started out with a strip of cork in back, recognizing that I'm gonna need to finish the track and scenery at the back first, since it will be hard to get to once the middle gets filled up. The track will be passing through a moderately deep cut back here, not a tunnel, so that I can reach any derailments readily. Of course, my hope is that an uninterrupted single track run will pose no derailment hazard, but I guess something could get in the way and dislodge a car. I used my iPod "iHandy Level" app to check the grades, and it fluctuates between 1.0 and 1.6% as I work my way around the loop; this is partly due to the difficulty of warping a plywood plane into a helical shape. I think I might just live with it, but if you all have advice to the contrary, I can try shimming in certain areas to get a more uniform grade.

    I still need to put drywall mud over the backdrop seam, then smooth and paint that, plus I need to purchase a light fixture to hang behind the valance. Then I'll need to get serious about the curved trestle, because I'll want to have that installed before laying track up to meet it. You can see in these shots, though, where the curved turnout is going to receive the end of the yard drill track; on my track plan I did not have such a turnout, just a parallel drill, but I think the added functionality is worth it, even though it's going to mean a slightly shorter drill. The trackage on the adjacent section has not been taken up yet, but I do need to do some slight reconfigurations there. That's actually what prompted this project, since I wanted to be able to re-lay the track and flow it properly onto this section, according to the revised track plan which added in that yard drill track.

    layout0001.jpglayout0005.jpglayout0006.jpg

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    So how about an update?

    This section features two major bridges, both of which must now be built in order to lay track. I prefer to build my bridges with a little bit of approach track connected, so that the track joint occurs back over the cork roadbed. But this means that the bridge must exist first, and then the flex can be run up to meet it.

    The first bridge to get built is the lesser of the two, a mere 6" girder that will span over the two tracks at the bottom of the loop (the main and the Winchester drill track). I scrounged up a used Kato girder bridge for this purpose, one that had been used on a previous layout and has just been in salvage, er, storage for perhaps 15 years. It was a little bit long, but I figured I could cut it down and kitbash just what I needed.

    I needed to fabricate new abutments to replace the cast-in-place ones of the Kato, and I scratched these up just from some "For Sale" signage sheet styrene (hence the red printing that looks kinda random here).



    I just cut out the ledge first, then the three tall sides were measured to fit under the ledge, and finally a back was added above the ledge. Then, using some 0.015" x 0.060" Evergreen styrene strips, I trimmed the cornice lines (the tops of the sides) and then capped the very top with a 0.015" x 0.100" Evergreen strip. This just gives it a little bit of detail to make it feel "to scale", plus it dresses up the cut edges of the sheet styrene.

    The bridge itself had the track removed, and about ten scale feet was removed from each end. I didn't measure, I just cut back to the structural cross member, which happily lines up with a rivet plate on the girder face. I didn't like how thin the structure was, though, under where the ties would sit, so I added a strip of 0.060" x 0.060" on top of the lengthwise element that sits right under the rail. The weight of the train gets transferred to the big plate girder via this lattice, so adding a bit of depth here will help it to feel more solid. If I wasn't so dang lazy, I'd have also heightened the cross members, or perhaps even sliced the girders entirely off and fabricated a whole new bed. But I think this will be fine.



    I'm working in subassemblies, to facilitate painting; they won't be CA'ed together until all the painting is done. The abutments got a spray can coating of flat tan as a base. This will get painted over with my hallmark acrylic wash with joint compound blended in, to produce a gritty concrete texture, as well as to fill in all those noticeable cracks and gaps.



    The track is Micro-Engineering Code 55, both their bridge flex and some short sections of regular flex. I had removed ties from the ends to slip on rail joiners and then soldered the rails together, then CA'ed ties back on afterwards. Plus, the Bridge Flex comes with some Code 40 rail for the guardrails, and I glued those down. This photo is prior to painting it all with a flat brown (wiping off the railhead immediately after spraying).



    The girder itself just got a blast of flat black, including the shoes. I cut the shoes out from the solid abutment casting that I had cut off the Kato original. They are somewhat big, especailly compared to the metal shoe castings that I have from Micro-Engineering, but longer spans do tend to have larger shoes, I think they'll look fine.



    Tonight, just for grins, I went ahead and set up all the pieces just to get a feel for what it's gonna look like when done. Each of these pieces still needs a bit of painting and weathering. I don't like black to be true black; I'll overpaint this with black lightened with some tan. And the brown of the track will get some weathering washes applied. Still, it does look pretty good already!



    All of these shots have been taken with my new iPhone, which I'm still just coming to terms with. No, it's not the "new" one; we got these at work, a good deal on iPhone 4 (not 4S). Still, I'm impressed with the photo quality, and I like how I can get the lens right down there.





    That's it for now! Gonna keep painting these parts, then it'll finally come time to begin the big curved trestle.

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    Great looking bridge! Looking forward to seeing it in place with scenery around it.


    Marc
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    Dude.
    Those are almost exactly the right abutments I need to make for the Shoofly Free-moN "build-a-bridge" scene.
    Well, one (the other will be in process of being built).
    I was thinking of carving mine from some balsafoam that Paul Ingram gave me many moons ago, but your styrene looks pretty good.
    Perhaps a light smoothing of lightweight spackle to fill the cracks and give more of a concrete texture (can be sanded down if too spackly).

    Cheers for the inspiration to get off my a-butt-ment and build an abuttment!

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    I should note that for the wing walls, since the back sides of these might be partially visible, I did double up the styrene thickness. M.C. if you do a similar project now, just be mindful of how thick your butt is.

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    Thanks for the butt-heads up.
    Don't worry: no matter how thick my butt is, it will never be as thick as my head.

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    The work on Bridge #1 continues.



    I have now applied a bit of weathering, and the abutments have been painted with their concrete "skim coat". I mix up black, white, and tan paints to get the warm gray color, thin it with water, and blend in some joint compound to give it a gritty texture. I paint this on a little bit thinner than pancake batter, maybe tomato soup thickness. I dab it on a bit thicker where I need it to fill in a crack, and I apply it in multiple coats. When done, it has an ultra-flat finish that takes chalk weathering awesomely, and I used a light flesh-tone chalk overall, plus some darker browns for rust streaks.



    While working on final bridge assembly, the crew down at the shop finished up their work on CH&FR #2, and somehow managed to move it into position on top. Never mind that this bridge is unconnected to any other track, and isn't even at this point in the basement, where the rest of the layout resides!



    So long, boys! Maybe when you return, you'll be able to roll across this bridge in its proper place.

    ---------- Post added 27th Sep 2012 at 11:59 PM ----------

    "It sure does take a long time," noted Jerry, "for things to get done around here!"

    "I wouldn't say that." Dave was more forgiving. "We've only been here two weeks, and none of this track was here when we arrived."



    "But can't you see?" Jerry gestured towards the track beside them. "This is temporary, at best. They're just putting on a good show to make us think that things are moving forward."

    "How can you tell?"



    "Simple," Jerry said. "First, there's no roadbed, it's just laying right on the plywood bedrock. Second, it's being held in place by a giant 160:1 scale screwdriver."



    "I see that now. Still," Dave held forth, "having this track in place does help us to visualize the bridge that will one day be."



    "Gotta admit, it's gonna be a pretty sweet bridge!"



    "Yeah, I suppose." Jerry looked down at his watch. "C'mon Dave, time to get back to the depot. Our train will leave soon - next stop Tennessee!"

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    Just a brief update (no pictures to post yet): I have begun building steel trestle bents and girder sections for bridge #2. However, I had to place an order for more Micro-Engineering kits because I don't quite have enough, nor did my local hobby shop have the right kits in stock. I have enough for 3 of 7 spans, and 2 of 3 towers.

    I'm gonna be scratching the abutments again, though perhaps with a slightly different design. For the trestle towers, I am modifying the kits to make them only 30' wide; the kits are based on a standard 40' length. This produces a tower that looks more in proportion, to my eye, plus it just happens to work out that 3 towers at 30' plus 4 spans at 40' fits my gap pretty exactly. However, it also means a lot more work - the kits are well designed and go together fairly easily, if you don't insist on such bashing! For my purposes, though, I had to cut out all the side panel pieces, shorten the horizontals, replace the diagonals, and try to get it all back together while staying square and flush.

    I've got some ideas for how to set the footings for the bents, in such a way that I can lift the bridge off and be able to do scenery around them. I promise, I'll start taking photos again soon!

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  30. #17
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    I got a package in the mail today! It contains the remaining steel girder sections that I need to finish, so I now have a project for the weekend. I'll have some pics to post soon!

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    u-oh, Looks like I am going to have to get a move on to keep ahead of you now.

    I am looking forward to the build of your steel trestle. Please post pictures as you progress!

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    So thanks to a day off of work and a timely package arrival, I have been able to complete the fabrication of my girders and towers. Here are some photos of the elements coming together. I drew up a quick CAD plan that just barely fits onto an 11x17 sheet of paper, which will guide the assembly of all these components. And, the package that I got yesterday included additional girders... but they were just the girders, not the whole sprue that otherwise includes the diagonal cross bracing. I had to scratchbuild some latticework, and I used the 0.060 x 0.060 styrene stock that I have on hand, though size-wise I should have used 0.040 x 0.040 instead. For the gusset plates the 0.015 x 0.060 was just about perfect. I will place the thick members right under the ties, leaving the properly scaled webbing visible on bottom; since it all gets painted black, I'm betting that nobody will ever notice the difference.

    As mentioned before, the towers are only 30' in length rather than the default 40', so for these I had to shorten the horizontal latticework sections, and I provided new I-beam sections for the diagonals. If I had my druthers, I think I'd like 25' even better, but the kit components are built around a 10' module and it would be much more tricky to achieve that size. As mentioned before, the spacing works out just right using 30', so I'll claim victory there.

    Next up are two things: paint these parts, and fabricate the abutments. Actually, I do have one other minor thing to do to these towers prior to painting... more on that later.








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    < munches popcorn excitedly > Mmm! This is getting good... which will win? The steel or the wood trestle??

    Nice work modifying the girders, too.
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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