The Parkville Pike -- An HO Gauge Model Railroad Layout: Project: Benchwork
THE PARKVILLE PIKE
A Hypothetical Branch of the Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad




PARKVILLE PIKE PROJECT:  BENCHWORK


Due to my limited experience/talents as a carpenter, I chose to build L-girder benchwork instead of using butt-joint construction. L-girder benchwork is stronger and more flexible while not requiring as precise cutting and fitting. My construction "bible" was How to Build Model Railroad Benchwork, 2nd ed. by Linn H. Westcott (Kalmbach Publishing, 1996). For ease of discussion, I will address the construction of the basic benchwork, the construction of the risers and subroadbed, the laying of roadbed and track, and construction of control panels in separate sections.

Basic Benchwork Risers and Subroadbed
Roadbed and Track Control Panels
Layout Lighting



BASIC BENCHWORK

General Design Considerations

Plan View

I designed the benchwork (as well as the overall track plan) using Cadrail software from Sandia Software. In addition to producing a clean diagram for use as a benchwork blueprint, Cadrail will produce a detailed material listing of all elements in the benchwork layer. From this it is straightforward to make a tailored list of each type of material (1 x 4s, 1 x 2s, etc.), how many, of what length. The basic benchwork consists of two benches: the Boreas Bench and the Parkville Bench. The gap between benches (access to undereave storage) will be spanned by four removable "bridges". For any subsequent discussion of dimension or position, the back left (top left on diagram, along main wall) corner of each bench will be x (left to right dimension) equal zero and y (front to rear dimension) equal zero. Thus all x dimensions are positive. On Boreas Bench, all y dimensions are negative. On Parkville Bench, y's are both positive and negative because part of the bench extends back into the alcove.

Complicating this benchwork is the fact that the front left-hand corner (2 foot by 3 foot) of the Boreas Bench is lowered 15 inches. That means that the front leg of the keeper joist at x = 3.5 feet must support two L-girders, and the short front leg at x = 0.5 feet is not part of a keeper joist.

Plan view of basic benchwork

General Benchwork Planning Considerations

Materials

Fasteners/Adhesives

Step-by-Step Construction of the L-Girder Benchwork

I initially built L-girder benchwork for a layout in my Frisco townhouse. After I moved to my present house, I built the benchwork reusing as much of the previous benchwork as possible. Those steps done for the Frisco townhouse and not repeated are so annotated.

  1. Cut the parts (done for Frisco layout).
    • Cut parts for girders, legs, braces, joists, and gussets.
    • Girders and joists were cut per the benchwork plan diagram.
    • I cut all joists at this time. Westcott recommends cutting only keeper joists now, but I cut all wood to be able to get it all indoors and up in the loft.
    • The legs should be cut long enough to reach the top of the keeper joists. For my layout, this meant 45 inches, which would be the lowest level of the bottom of subroadbed. I cut 10 legs.
    • Long braces were cut at 5 feet, which should put them at about a 45 degree angle. I cut 10 of them.
    • Cross braces were cut between 3.75 and 4.25 feet, working out dimensions from a right triangle formed by the keeper joists and legs. I cut 10 of them.

  2. Assembled the L-Girders (done for Frisco layout).
  3. Benchwork L-Girders
    • Selected the straightest pieces of wood for the girders.
      • I needed one 10 foot, three 9.5 foot, one 6.5 foot, one 5 foot, and one 3 foot girders. The 1 x 2 inch girder flanges came in 8 foot lengths, so the flanges of the longer girders had to be made of two pieces of wood.
      • The flange of the girders which butt up against the rear 10 foot girder were made 1 inch short of the end of the web to allow overlap of the flange of the rear girder.
    • Drilled pilot holes and inserted screws through flange into web at about 1 foot intervals.
    • Removed screws and spread a bead of carpenter's glue along length of web. Reinserted and tightened screws.
    • Wiped away any excess glue oozing out of the joint.
    • After allowing the glue to set overnight, removed the screws from the girders.

  4. Inventoried lumber remaining from Frisco layout for reuse and cut/spliced L-girders and joists as required.


    • L-GIRDERS
      HAVE ON HAND NEED
      10 ft 2 x 12 ft
      3 x 9.5 ft 10 ft
      6.5 ft 7 ft
      4.5 ft 3 x 3.5 ft
      3 ft 2 ft

      The following actions converted L-girders from what is on hand to what is required:

      • Cut one 9.5 ft girder to 7 ft; used excess to extend one 9.5 ft girder to 12 ft. Spliced using 8 in 1x4 block on the rear of the girder web attached with 6 screws.
      • Cut 6.5 ft girder to 3.5 ft; used part of the excess to extend (splice) one 9.5 ft girder to 12 ft.
      • Cut 4.5 ft girder to 3.5 ft.
      • Cut 3 ft girder to 2 ft.
      • Combined (spliced) pieces to build 3.5 ft.

    • JOISTS
      HAVE ON HAND NEED
      2 x 8 ft 6 x 5 ft
      5 ft 4 x 4.5 ft
      10 x 4 ft 4 x 3 ft
      4 x 3 ft 2 x 4 ft
      3 x 2.5 ft 3 x 2.5 ft and 1 x 2 ft

      The only critical joists are those needed for keeper joists: 3 x 5 ft, 2 x 3 ft, and a 2.5 ft attached to a single leg. These were cut from stock on hand. Other joists were spliced (as above) as required.

    • LEGS and BRACES

      Five keeper joist/leg sub-assemblies remained from the Frisco layout. There is also more than enough of this (2 x 2 in and 1 x 2 in) stock on hand.

  5. Assembled the five leg, cross-brace, keeper joist sub-assemblies.
  6. Benchwork Leg Subassembly
    • Disassembled the sub-assemblies remaining from the Frisco layout.
    • Keeper joists are those attached to the leg pairs during the construction phase. Marked on the five keeper joists where each leg should be attached (see plan view of benchwork).
    • Attached each 45 inch leg to the keeper joist with one screw.
    • Added cross brace from 5 inches under joist on one leg (to allow L-girder to be attached to front of leg - Lesson Learned from Frisco layout) to 3 inches from bottom of other leg. Used a carpenter's square to ensure legs are perpendicular to joist. Attached brace with one screw on each end.
    • Turned sub-assembly over and attached the other brace in the same manner as above.
    • Added second screw to each joint.
    • Trimmed ends of cross braces to ensure they wouldn't interfere with subsequent steps.
    • Attached short (30 inch) leg to proper position on 2.5 foot joist. Ensured leg was perpendicular. Braces will be added later.
    • Trimmed 2 inches from the bottom of all 11 legs. This was done to lower track elevation (from floor) due to error in planning.

  7. Assembled the L-Girder Benchwork.
  8. Parkville Bench from front right Boreas Bench from front right
    • Built the Parkville Bench first as it was the more straightforward.
      • Clamped a leg sub-assembly to correct distance from each end of each L-girder. Note that the L-girder goes in the front of the legs so that the flange is forward.
      • Ensured flange of the each girder was snug against the bottom of the keeper joists. Used a single screw to attach the girder web into each leg sub-assembly. Removed clamps.
      • Clamped a girder brace with triangular gusset already attached to a leg so that one end (with gusset) was just above the floor and brace extended up at about a 45 degree angle. Clamped top of brace to inside of girder web. Trimmed off any excess
      • Screwed gusset into leg with two screws and removed clamps.
      • Used level to ensure leg sub-assembly was vertical, and screwed brace to girder web with two screws.
      • Attached brace to other leg sub-assembly in the same manner.
      • Attached the braces to the other L-girder in the same manner.
    • Built the Boreas Bench in a similar manner.
      • Attached the rear 12 foot L-girder to the end keep joist/leg sub-assemblies. Attached braces to rear L-girder.
      • Attached the front 7 foot L-girder to the right end and center (front leg) sub-assemblies. Attached braces to front L-girder. Screwed back end of the center keeper joist to the flange of the rear L-girder (with a screw up from the bottom of the flange) at the proper position (x = 3.5 ft).
      • Attached the two 3.5 foot L-girders to left and center (back leg) sub-assemblies. The lower L-girder top is at 24.5 inches. Attached braces to lower L-girder.
      • Attached the short leg to the front left of the bench. Screwed back end of joist to front leg of the left end sub-assembly. Attached low (24.5 in high) L-girder from the short leg to the center (front leg) sub-assembly. Attached brace from short leg to L-girder and cross brace from short leg to left end (front leg) sub-assembly.
    • Placed, but did not attach, the remaining joists in their approximate positions. They will be screwed to the L-girder flanges after ensuring compatiblility with the track plan.

  9. Preparation for Backdrop.
    • The backdrop should be attached and painted prior to additional work on subroadbed or track laying. Basic reason is that elevated roadbed will block the lower backdrop, especially near Boreas Pass.
    • Knowing the size of the pieces of masonite which will be used for the backdrop, positioned joists to be under where the joints will be. Checked these positions against the trackplan to ensure against interference with turnouts. Joists ended up in the following positions.
      • Boreas Bench:
        • Keeper joist at x = 5.5 inches (left edge). This was already in position.
        • Joist at x = 95.5 inches. This was new (added to benchwork) 60 inch joist.
      • Parkville Bench:
        • Joist at x = 0 inches.
        • Joist at x = 47.5 inches. This was new 36 inch joist.
        • Keeper joist at x = 125.5 inches. This was already in position.
    • Attached these joists with screws through the L-girder flanges from below.

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SUBROADBED and RISERS

General Subroadbed and Risers Planning Considerations

General Design Considerations

Materials

Fasteners/Adhesives

Step-by-Step Construction of the Subroadbed and Risers on the Parkville Bench

  1. Printed out full scale track plan on numerous sheets of paper. Scotch-taped these together for full sized track plan.


  2. Traced and Cut Ribbon Subroadbed
    • Still had five 2 x 8 foot sheets of 1/2 inch plywood left from Frisco layout for use as subroadbed.
    • Covered the sheet of plywood with the appropriate part of the full sized paper copy of the track plan. Tacked nails 3 to 6 inches apart on track centerlines. Noted where the points of turnouts were. Cut paper away from the nails and used a template to mark the plywood 1 and 1/2 inches either side of the centerline nails. Sketched subroadbed sides on the plywood with magic marker. Closely spaced parallel tracks (mainline and passing track, and yard tracks) are to be put on the same subroadbed (no edges between them). The size of the increments done depended on track shape and available space on each plywood sheet. Used three sheets of plywood for the Parkville Bench subroadbed.
    • Cut subroadbed along traced outlines using a power jigsaw. Cutting was done in the garage to minimize sawdust in the train room.
    • Positioned the pieces of subroadbed on the basic benchwork to ensure all fit and act as a sanity check. Used CadRail software to determine coordinates of key track positions.
      • Staging Yard: 1st Turnout -- x = 10 ft 5 in; y = 2.5 in
      • Staging Track: x(max) = 12 ft 2 in
      • Como Grade:
        • Back -- y = -3 in; x(max) = 11 ft 9.5 in
        • Front -- y (min) = -3 ft 5 in at x = 10 ft 3 in (at front turnout)
      • Boreas Grade: x = 0 ft; y = -1 ft 3 in
      • Breckenridge: 1st Turnout -- x = 2 ft 6 in; y = -9.6 in
      • Parkville:
        • 1st Turnout -- x = 5 ft 6.5 in; y = -1 ft 9 in
        • Turntable Center -- x = 10 ft; y = -2 ft

  3. Attached Joists.
    • Positioned remaining loose joists so that they were clear of planned turntable pit and switch machines. Attached joists with 1 1/4 inch wood screws through the girder flanges from below.
    • For subsequent steps, the following nomenclature for joists will be used:
      • Joist #1 at x = 0 inches (left edge of joist) (backdrop support).
      • Joist #2 at x = 18 inches (keeper joist).
      • Joist #3 at x = 34 inches.
      • Joist #4 at x = 47.5 inches (backdrop support).
      • Joist #5 at x = 65 inches.
      • Joist #6 at x = 77 inches.
      • Joist #7 at x = 90 inches.
      • Joist #8 at x = 105 inches.
      • Joist #9 at x = 125 inches (keeper joist)(backdrop support).
      • Joist #10 at x = 143 inches.

  4. Spliced the Subroadbed.
    • Laid the various pieces of subroadbed on the benchwork in their approximate positions.
    • Cut pieces of 1/2 inch plywood to serve as splices. Made them as wide as the subroadbed joint and at least 6 inches long.
    • Screwed splices into sections of subroadbed using #8 3/4 inch screws, screwed up from below.
    • Positioned assembled subroadbed correctly on benchwork.

  5. Elevated Subroadbed.
  6. Subroadbed on the Parkville Bench
    • Used Cadrail software to determine track elevation at the joists. At Breckenridge, z (elevation from top of joist to bottom of subroadbed) = 2 inches; at Parkville, z = 10 inches; and for the staging yard, z = 2 inches.
      • At Joist #1:
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 7.3 in at y = -2 ft 6 in
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 1.5 in at y = -1 ft 10.5 in
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 2.8 in at y = -1 ft 3 in
        • Como Grade -- z = 10.7 in at y = -3 in
      • Joist #2:
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 8.2 in at y = -1 ft 8 in
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 2 in at y = -1 ft 10.3 in
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 2.25 in at y = -7.7 in
        • Como Grade -- z = 10 in at y = -3 in
      • Joist #3:
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 9 in at y = -1 ft 6 in
        • Breckenridge (mainline) -- z = 2 in at y = -7.7 in
        • Como Grade -- z = 9.3 in at y = -3 in
        • Staging Yard -- z = 2 in at y = 6 in
      • Joist #4:
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 9.4 in at y = -1 ft 8 in
        • Breckenridge (mainline) -- z = 2 in at y = -7.7 in
        • Como Grade -- z = 8.75 in at y = -3 in
        • Staging Yard -- z = 2 in at y = 6 in
      • Joist #5:
        • Parkville -- z = 10 in at platform
        • Breckenridge (mainline) -- z = 2 in at y = -7.7 in
        • Como Grade -- z = 8.1 in at y = -3 in
        • Staging Yard -- z = 2 in at y = 6 in
      • Joist #6:
        • Parkville -- z = 10 in at platform
        • Breckenridge (mainline) -- z = 2 in at y = -7.7 in
        • Como Grade -- z = 7.6 in at y = -3 in
        • Staging Yard -- z = 2 in at y = 6 in
      • Joist #7:
        • Como Grade -- z = 2.5 in at y = -1 ft 2 in
        • Parkville -- z = 10 in at platform
        • Como Grade -- z = 7.1 in at y = -3 in
        • Staging Yard -- z = 2 in at y = 6 in
      • Joist #8:
        • Como Grade -- z = 3.2 in at y = -2 ft 6 in
        • Parkville -- z = 10 in at platform
        • Como Grade -- z = 6.5 in at y = -3 in
        • Staging Yard -- z = 2 in at y = 6 in
      • Joist #9:
        • Como Grade -- z = 4.1 in at y = -3 ft 3 in
        • Parkville -- z = 10 in at platform
        • Como Grade -- z = 5.7 in at y = -3 in
        • Staging Yard -- z = 2 in at y = 3 in
      • Joist #10:
        • Como Grade -- z = 4.9 in at y = -1 ft 9 in
        • Staging Track -- z = 3 in at y = -1 ft 9 in
    • Built 2-inch high "platform" for the Staging Yard using 10 inch wide 1 x 4 in risers screwed to Joists 5,6,7, and 8. Used level to ensure yard platform was level front to rear and left to right.
    • Starting with Joist 1, put 1 x 2 risers of proper height with cleats under the Como Grade subroadbed at all joists except Joist 10. The risers were screwed into the joists with two screws. After the Como Grade was completed, followed same procedure for the Staging Track at Joist 10.
    • Built 2-inch "platform" for Breckenridge using 1 x 4 risers at Joists 4, 5, and 6. Again ensured leveling. The risers were screwed solidly on to the joists.
    • The Boreas Grade and the Breckenridge end of the Parkville Spur subroadbed were then elevated using 1 x 2 risers and cleats attached to Joists 1, 2, and 3 as above.
    • Built a 10-inch "platform" for Parkville using 1 x 2 risers with 12 inch long cleats on Joists 5 and 7 and two 1 x 4 risers on Joist 9. Ensured the platform was level.
    • Elevated the Parkville end of the Parkville Spur using 1 x 2 risers with cleats attached to Joists 1, 2, 3, and 4 as above.
    • Repositioned subroadbed assembly on top of the risers using the key track positions above. Screwed subroadbed to cleats using #6 1 1/4 inch screws, screwing up through the cleat to the subroadbed. These screws were used on all cleats.
    • Added an 8 and 1/8 inch high 1 x 4 riser with cleat for the Como Grade subroadbed. Instead of using Joist 10, this riser was attached to the back of the front L-girder at x = 11 ft 6 in.

Step-by-Step Construction of the Subroadbed and Risers on the Boreas Bench

  1. Printed out full scale track plan on numerous sheets of paper. Scotch-taped these together for full sized track plan.


  2. Traced and Cut Ribbon Subroadbed
    • Still had two 2 x 8 foot sheets of 1/2 inch plywood left from Frisco layout for use as subroadbed.
    • Covered the sheet of plywood with the appropriate part of the full sized paper copy of the track plan. Tacked nails 3 to 6 inches apart on track centerlines. Noted where the points of turnouts were. Cut paper away from the nails and used a template to mark the plywood 1 and 1/2 inches either side of the centerline nails. Sketched subroadbed sides on the plywood with magic marker. Closely spaced parallel tracks (mainline and passing track) are to be put on the same subroadbed (no edges between them). The size of the increments done depended on track shape and available space on each plywood sheet.
    • Had to use several large pieces of scrap plywood in addition to the two sheets to complete the Boreas Bench subroadbed.
    • Cut subroadbed along traced outlines using a power jigsaw. Cutting was done in the garage to minimize sawdust in the train room.
    • Positioned the pieces of subroadbed on the basic benchwork to ensure all fit and act as a sanity check.

  3. Used CadRail software to determine coordinates of key track positions.
    • Wye
      • Front spur -- x = 8 ft 5 in; y = -3 ft 6 in
      • Right end -- x = 10 ft 5 in; y = 2.5 in
    • Bakers Tank T/O #1 -- x = 2 ft 7 in; y = -6 in
    • Boreas Grade:
      • Right end -- x = 10 ft; y = -3 ft 4 in; z = 4.2 in
      • X(min) -- x = 3 in; y = -2 ft
      • Y(min) front -- x = 5 ft; y = -12 in
    • Parkville Spur
      • Front end -- x = 10 ft; y = -4 ft 6 in
      • Rear end -- x = 10 ft; y = -4 ft

  4. Attached Joists.
    • Positioned remaining loose joists so that they were clear of planned switch machines and allowed installation of Boreas Control Panel. Attached joists with 1 1/4 inch wood screws through the girder flanges from below.
    • For subsequent steps, the following nomenclature for joists will be used:
      • Joist #1 at x = 4 inches (left edge of joist) (keeper joist)(backdrop support).
      • Joist #1L at x = 5 inches (keeper joist on lower cutout corner).
      • Joists #2 and 2L at x = 16 inches.
      • Joists #3 and 3L at x = 28 inches.
      • Joist #4 at x = 41 inches (keeper joist).
      • Joist #5 at x = 52 inches (from rear of access hole to back of layout).
      • Joist #6 at x = 64 inches.
      • Joist #7 at x = 76.5 inches.
      • Joist #8 at x = 96 inches (backdrop support).
      • Joist #9 at x = 101 inches (keeper joist).
      • Joist #10 at x = 118 inches.

  5. Spliced the Subroadbed.
    • Laid the various pieces of subroadbed on the benchwork in their approximate positions.
    • Cut pieces of 1/2 inch plywood to serve as splices. Made them as wide as the subroadbed joint and at least 6 inches long.
    • Screwed splices into sections of subroadbed using #8 3/4 inch screws, screwed up from below.
    • Positioned assembled subroadbed correctly on benchwork.

  6. Elevated Subroadbed.
  7. Subroadbed on the Boreas Bench
    • Used Cadrail software to determine track elevation at the joists. At the Boreas Wye, z (elevation from top of joist to bottom of subroadbed) = 12 inches.
      • At Joist #1:
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 9.5 in at y = -2 ft
      • Joist #2:
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 10.2 in at y = -7 in
      • Joist #2L:
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 23.5 in at y = -3 ft 6 in
      • Joist #3:
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 10.6 in at y = -5.5 in
      • Joist #3L:
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 23 in at y = -3ft 5 in
      • Joist #4:
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 2.5 in at y = -3 ft 11 in
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 1.6 in at y = -2 ft 8 in
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 7.5 in at y = -2 ft 3 in
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 11 in at y = -5.5 in
      • Joist #5:
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 0.9 in at y = -1 ft 10 in
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 6.75 in at y = -1 ft 2 in
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 11.3 in at y = -5.5 in
      • Joist #6:
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 3.5 in at y = - 4 ft 10 in
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 0.3 in at y = -1 ft 11 in
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 6.5 in at y = -1 ft
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 11.75 in at y = -5.5 in
      • Joist #7:
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 3.75 in at y = -4 ft 10 in
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 0.1 in at -3 ft 6 in
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 5.9 in at y = -1 ft 10 in
        • Boreas Wye -- z = 12 in at platform
      • Joist #8:
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 4.5 at y = -4 ft 10 in
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 0.5 in at y = -4 ft 4 in
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 5 in at y = -3 ft 7 in
        • Boreas Wye -- z = 12 in at platform
      • Joist #9:
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 4.8 in at y = -4 ft 10 in
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 0.7 in at y = -4 ft 4 in
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 4.8 in at y = -3 ft 9 in
        • Boreas Wye -- z = 12 in at platform
      • Joist #10:
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 5.4 in at y = -4 ft 6 in
        • Parkville Spur -- z = 0.75 in at y = -4 ft
        • Boreas Grade -- z = 4.1 in at y = -3 ft 4 in
        • Boreas Wye -- z = 12 in at platform
    • Built 12-inch high "platform" for Boreas Wye using 6-inch long cleats on 1 x 2 in risers screwed to Joists 7, 8 (to support center of wye), 9 (to support front leg of wye), and 10. Used level to ensure yard platform was level front to rear and left to right.
    • Starting with the high end of the grade, put 1 x 2 risers of proper height with 3-inch cleats under the Boreas Grade subroadbed at Joists 5, 3, 1 (towards rear of curve), 1 (towards front of curve), 2L, 3L, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10.
    • Starting with the low end (rear) of the Parkville Spur, put 1 x 2 risers of proper height under the subroadbed at Joists 10, 8, 5, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 10.
    • Repositioned subroadbed assembly on top of the risers using the key track positions above. Screwed subroadbed to cleats using #6 1 1/4 inch screws, screwing up through the cleat to the subroadbed. These screws were used on all cleats.

Step-by-Step Construction of the Removable "Bridges" over the Storage Access between the Boreas and Parkville Benches

  1. General -- Four bridges were required, from front to back, two for the Parkville Spur, one for the Boreas Grade, and one for the Como Grade. For simplicity, the bridges were numbered 1 to 4 from front to rear.

  2. Contructed the four bridges.
    • For each bridge, a piece of plywood subroadbed was cut to fit the span between the subroadbed on each bench.
    • For each bridge, a piece of 1 x 4 was cut approximately 6 inches shorter than the bridge subroadbed.
    • For each bridge, the 1 x 4 was screwed, edge on, into the bottom of the middle of the subroadbed with four screws to form a sort of T-Girder. This (hopefully) will provide rigidity to the bridge. The lower corners of the girder webs were cut off diagonally to make things look nice.
    • Two large screw eyes were screwed into each girder web, front and rear, near the Boreas Bench end of the bridge. These will be used to connect track bus power to the track on the bridges (see Wiring Project)

  3. Splice blocks were prepared and installed to act as the "bridge abutments" providing physical foundation for the bridge spans.
    • Eight 6-inch long pieces of 1 x 4 were cut to serve as splice blocks. Approximately 4 inches of each block were to be put under the subroadbed on the end of the benches, leaving about a 2 inch lip on each side for the bridge T-Girders to rest on.
    • The risers on J10 on the Boreas Bench and J1 on the Parkville Bench were unscrewed from the subroadbed and lowered 3/4 inch to allow room for the splice blocks between the subroadbed and riser cleats.
    • The splice blocks were glued to the bottom of the subroadbed with carpenters glue, clamped in position and allowed to dry overnight.
    • The riser cleats were screwed into the bottom of the splice blocks.

  4. The bridge T-Girders were fixed into position with small wood dowels.
    • 16 small 1 inch long 1/4 wood dowels were marked halfway down the lengths
    • Two 1/4 in holes were drilled through each end of the bridge subroadbed and supporting splice block lip. These holes were spaced wide enough apart to allow cork roadbed to be layed between them.
    • The bridge subroadbed was then temporarily removed and the dowels glued in the splice block holes with half the length protruding upwards. The dowels were allowed to dry overnight.
    • The bridge T-Girders were fit back over the dowel ends to ensure solid fit. The joints between the subroadbed on the benches and on the bridges were sanded to ensure there were no big bumps on grade changes on the tops. Later, cork roadbed will be cut over these joints and track will be cut about an inch onto the roadbed on the benches (see section on Roadbed and Track).

  5. Detemined the presence of Bridge 4 did not interfere with the access to storage access door below it. Fixed Bridge 4 in place by screwing both ends of the bridge T-Girder subroadbed to the applicable splice block.

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ROADBED and TRACK

General Roadbed and Track Planning Considerations

General Considerations

Materials Used

Step-by-Step Laying of Roadbed and Track

  1. Determined requirements and materials on hand salvaged from the Frisco layout. Procured shortfalls.
    Material Need Have
    Roadbed 170 ft 75 ft
    Right T/O Roadbed Pad 4 6
    LH T/O Roadbed Pad 12 1
    Wye Roadbed Pad 3 3
    Flextrack 170 ft 75 ft
    Righthand Turnout (#4) 4 6
    Lefthand Turnout (#4) 14 8
    Wye Turnout (#6) 3 3
    Tortoise Switch Machines 21 18
    NCE Switch-Its 11 8

  2. Made soldering jig to aid soldering sections of flextrack together (for use on curves) (done for Frisco layout).
    • Used an 8 x 8 inch piece of 1/4 inch plywood as base.
    • Glued two 1 x 8 inch plywood strips to the base using a piece of track to determine separation.
    • Ensured the factory cut edges of the strips were used along the track to ensure the edges were straight.

  3. Prepared each Tortoise Switch Machine for use.
    • Prepared an 8-position edge connector. The edge connector simply made wiring (soldering) the Tortoise easier. Glued small (1/4 inch long) strips of styrene (supplied with the edge connectors) on each end of the connector. After the glue dried, checked the edge connector for fit and connectivity.
    • Attached the Tortoise to a 2 inch by 4 inch piece of scrap 1/4 inch plywood with four #4 x 1/2 inch sheet metal screws.
    • Replaced stock fulcrum wire with 3 1/2 inch long piece of 0.039 in diameter piano wire bent as shown in Tortoise instructions. A larger hole had to be drilled in the Tortoise output arm with a small drill bit in a pin vise.

  4. Laid roadbed, track and turnouts for hidden staging. Due to potential clearance issues, this was done before the hidden staging subroadbed was attached to the Parkville Bench in the room alcove (see section on Basic Benchwork).
    • Laid cork roadbed.
      • From box, roadbed had to be split along bevel.
      • Pinned down cork turnout shapes for turnouts S41 and S42 (see Control Panel faceplate for numbering scheme) using 1 inch brads. Pinned down remainder of roadbed for the three yard tracks and staging access track to about the middle of the curve (y = -2 ft), cutting the roadbed to fit.
      • Removed the brads from the roadbed. Glued roadbed to subroadbed with caulk. Used 1/8 inch bead on each half of the roadbed. Spread bead with 1 1/2 inch putty knife or fingers. Worked on one side of the roadbed in one area, worked on another area, and then came back to do the other side of the first area. Retacked the roadbed as needed.
    • Prepared Turnouts S41 and S42.
      • Positioned the turnouts and marked position of fulcrum. Drilled 3/8 holes in roadbed and subroadbed in proper position for the Tortoise fulcrum wires. Positioned the Tortoise under subroadbed with the fulcrum wire extending through the hole in the turnout ties at the point such that the points were in the middle of the turnout track and the Tortoise output arm in the middle of its range of travel. The Tortoise assembly was then screwed to the subroadbed with #6 x 3/4 inch screws from below.
      • On S41, soldered a 3 foot length of flextrack to the points end due to the immediate curve of the access track. Insulated rail joiners were put on the rail ends at the frog end of the turnout.
      • On S42, soldered a 2.25 inch piece of flextrack to the points end of the turnout to provide spacing between turnouts. Insulated rail joiners were put on the rail ends at the frog end of the turnout.
    • Laid turnouts and flextrack
      • Repositioned turnouts pinning them down with map pins. Pinned down remainder of flextrack for the three yard tracks and staging access track, cutting the cutting to fit. Glued track and turnouts to roadbed with caulk. Used 1/8 inch bead spread with 1 1/2 inch putty knife and fingers. Repinned as needed. Ensured caulk did not interfere with operation of the turnouts.
      • Glued Tortoise fulcrum in place with Elmers white glue and cut off excess fulcrum spring wire from top of turnouts with a Dremel cutting disk.
      • Removed pins. Added 1 1/2 inch nails at the end of the yard track for emergency train stops. Cut red, black, and green wires to 2 foot lengths (to be trimmed later). Soldered wires to track. Slipped excess ties under rails where ties had been removed to join sections of track.

  5. Laid roadbed and turnout pads for remainder of pike.
    • Positioned and attached with caulk all turnout pads.
    • Caulked roadbed between pads as above.
    • Sanded roadbed.
    • Cut roadbed at the end of the bridges between benches.

  6. Laid staging track and Turnout S10.
    • Laid staging track (flextrack) from staging yard (Turnout S41) to Turnout S10 position as above. Inserted Atlas rerailer (#519) at curve midpoint.
    • Prepared and laid Turnout S10 as above, trimming the end of the staging track as needed.
    • Filed S10 frog and flextrack joints to smooth operations through the turnout.
    • The rerailer seemed to cause derailments. Removed rerailer by cutting flextrack 1 inch from each rerailer end. Replaced it with a short length of flextrack cut to fit.

  7. Laid track up Como Grade from Turnout S10 to middle of Bridge 4.
    • Laid two sections of flextrack from diverging end of S10 up Como Grade. These were soldered together using track jig due to joint on the curve.
      • The joint apparently kinked, causing derailing problems. Fixed problem by removing the flextrack from 15 inches above S10. Sanded roadbed to remove excess caulk. Using jig, soldered new section of flextrack. Laid new section through curve.
      • Cut ends of flextrack to even them up.
    • Laid four sections of flextrack up remainder of Como Grade to middle of Bridge 4. Cut track at end of bridge using Dremel Tool.

  8. Laid track and turnouts up Boreas Grade from Turnout S10 to middle of Bridges 2 and 3.
    • Laid flextrack between frog end of S10 and Breckenridge (position of Turnout S01). Used two sections with joint soldered due to curve.
    • Prepared and laid Turnout S01. Due to immediate curve, the points end of S01 was soldered to the flextrack.
    • Tracking problems again. Removed and replaced Turnout S01 and about 2.5 feet of flextrack. This put joint in short straight intended to prevent S-curve issues.
    • Cut and laid flextrack for mainline through Breckenridge, Breckenridge Passing Track, and Breckenridge siding.
    • Positioned and prepared Turnouts S02, S03, and S04.
      • Prepared Tortoises for all three turnouts.
      • Soldered short (about 2 inches) piece of flextrack to points end of S02.
      • Laid Turnout S02.
      • Separated point ends of Turnouts S03 and S04 with short (about 2 inches) piece of flextrack soldered to S04.
      • Laid Turnouts S03 and S04.
    • Cut track at ends of Bridges 2 and 3 with Dremel tool. Both cuts were on diagonal and this proved more difficult than the straight cut on Bridge 4. LESSON LEARNED: Track and roadbed at the ends of the bridges needs to be firmed glued in place to handle the stresses of being moved and removed. Caulk won't cut it. reglued track on both sides of these cuts with Carpenter's Glue. Still had problems with the Parkville Bench end of Bridge 3. Had to relay approximately 18 inches of roadbed and flextrack to get good operation.
    • Glued down track on both sides of the joints between Bridges 2 and 3, and the Parkville Bench with Carpenter's Glue.

  9. Laid track and turnouts in and around Boreas Wye.
    • Glued flextrack from middle of Bridge 4 to position of Turnout S09. Cut the flextrack at the end of Bridge 4 and glued down each side with Carpenter's Glue.
    • Positioned Turnout S08 and soldered length of flextrack to point end to serve as front leg of the wye. Did not lay this assembly at this time.
    • Prepared and laid Turnout S09. Positioned and laid flextrack on rear and right side of wye from the diverging ends of Turnout S09. Trimmed flextrack at positions of Turnouts S07 and S08.
    • Prepared and laid Turnout S07. Positioned and laid flextrack on left side of wye between Turnouts S07 and S08.
    • Positioned and laid Turnout S08 with front stub end of track.
    • LESSON LEARNED: Radius of curvature on both right and left sides of the wye was critical. Both sides had usability problems with the leading truck of the Consolidation not tracking through in one direction or the other. Both sides of the wye had to be pulled up and relaid with less curvature (curve starting closer to the turnouts).
    • Laid a short, about 10 inch, piece of flextrack from Turnout S07 to the position of Turnout S06 on the Boreas Grade. Soldered this piece to the points end of S07.

  10. Laid track and turnouts up remainder of Boreas Grade from Bridge 3 to Boreas Wye.
    • Glued flextrack from middle of Bridge 3 extending on to Boreas Bench. Cut the flextrack at the end of Bridge 3 and glued down each side with Carpenter's Glue.
    • Laid five 3-foot sections of flextrack up Boreas Grade. Soldered track joiners between sections when on a curve i.e. between sections two and three and sections four and five.
    • Positioned Turnout S05 and cut proper length of flextrack to extend from points end of turnout to previously laid flextrack. Soldered this to Turnout S05.
    • Prepared and laid Turnouts S05 and S06. Used small nail at points end of Turnout S06 to maintain position.
    • Cut and laid flextrack between Turnouts S05 and S06 for final portion of Boreas Grade and Bakers Tank Passing Track.

  11. Reworked track over and near Bridge 4.
    • Running locos around and over Bridge 4 revealed derailing issues at the Boreas Bench end of the bridge. Examination of the bridge showed that it did not really need to be removed for access to the storage access door below.
    • After subroadbed over the bridge was fixed in place (see above), five feet of track was stripped from the points end of Turnout S09, over Bridge 4, down a portion of Como Grade.
    • Sanded roadbed to remove remaining adhesive caulk and smooth top.
    • Laid two sections of flextrack to fill the gap.
    • Cut flextrack in middle of Bridge 4 to separate power blocks 1 and 3.

  12. Laid track and turnouts up Parkville Spur from Bridge 2.
    • Glued flextrack from middle of Bridge 2 extending on to Boreas Bench. Cut the flextrack at the end of Bridge 2 and glued down each side with Carpenter's Glue.
    • Laid section of flextrack up Parkville Spur, soldering track joiner to butt end of track extending from Bridge 2.
    • Laid three additional sections of flextrack up Parkville Spur, around the large horseshoe curve, to the position of the points end of Turnout S21. These sections were laid one at a time with the track joiners between them soldered, before shaping the new section to the curve.
    • Prepared and laid Turnout S21. Cut and laid flextrack for Parkville Spur and Passing Track between S21 and position for Turnout S22.
    • Prepared and laid Turnout S22. Laid section of flextrack from S22 to middle of Bridge 1. Soldered joint to S22.

  13. Laid track and turnouts up Parkville Spur from Bridge 1 through Parkville.
    • Laid 1 and a half sections of flextrack from middle of Bridge 1 toward Parkville on the Parkville Bench. These were soldered together prior to laying. Track joint in middle of Bridge 1 was also soldered.
    • Track was cut with Dremel Tool on both ends of Bridge 1. Each side of each end was glued down with Carpenter's Glue.
    • Laid two foot piece of flextrack from that previously laid to position of Turnout S23. Prepared and laid Turnout S23.
    • It will take a 7.5 inch piece of track to fit between Turnouts S23 and S24. Cut this and soldered to the points end of Turnout S24. Prepared and laid Turnout S24 assembly.
    • It will take a full 3 foot section of flextrack to extend between Turnouts S24 and S25. Laid this section.
    • Cut 11 inch piece of track to extend between Turnouts S24 and S29. Laid this piece of flextrack.
    • Soldered points end of Turnout S29 to this piece of flextrack. Laid S29.
    • Laid 16- and 20-inch long stub sidings from the diverging ends of Turnout S29.
    • Soldered 12 inch piece of flextrack to points end of Turnout S25. Laid S25 and flextrack stub. Trimmed stub to end of roadbed.
    • Laid section of flextrack for runaround track from Turnout S25 to about halfway to S26.
    • Soldered 1 inch piece of track to points end of Turnout S26. Positioned and laid Turnouts S26, S27, and S28.
    • Laid sections (3 foot) of flextrack from Turnout S28 for a temporary turntable siding (programming track) and Yard Track 1. Laid section of flextrack from Turnout S27 for Yard Track 2.
    • Cut and laid final piece of flextrack for runaround from Turnout S26 to that previously laid. Soldered track joint in middle of runaround track.

  14. Sanded spare ties and slipped them under track joiners to approximate spacing of the ties under the flextrack sections.

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CONTROL PANELS

General Control Panel Considerations

General Considerations

Materials Used

Step-by-Step Construction of the Control Panels

Parkville Bench Control Panel

  1. Designed the control panel face.
    • Used CadRail to draw track/switch schematic for track on the Parkville Bench. Main control panel on old Frisco layout was 14 in x 11 in, so this size is what was used. Added toggle switch for programming track and numbered the turnouts.
    • Exported the file and converted it to a JPG file to allow printing at local Copy Copy on oversized paper.
    • Found oak document frame of correct size at Walmart and ordered sheet of 1/16 inch acetate cut to proper size.
    • Determined hole size needed for each of the components to be put on the face.
      • Toggle Switch -- Need 1/2 inch hole.
      • Black Pushbutton -- Need 1/4 inch hole.
      • 5mm Bi-Color LED with holder -- Need 1/4 inch hole.
    • Used extra acetate sheet to practice drilling holes. Used track schematic developed for control panel face. Initially tried the same technique used for 1/8 inch acetate on the Frisco layout -- gradually Increasing bit sizes in increments: 1/8 inch, 5/32 inch, 7/32 inch, 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, and 1/2 inch; until final hole size was reached. Did not work well. Finally, used the 1/8 in and 5/32 in bits and then filed out holes to required size.
    • LESSON LEARNED: The 1/16 in acetate was very flexible and easily cracked. Had to prevent flexing and tried to minimize drilling. Once started, the holes in the acetate were easily enlarged using the rotary file attachment.

  2. Designed and constructed a "cabinet" out of 1/2 inch plywood.
    • The face was framed by an oak 11 inch x 14 inch certificate frame inclined from vertical. It was designed to be hinged at the bottom to pull forward and down.
    • The botttom was 11 inch x 24 inch to allow plenty of room (shelf space) for a power supply and NCE command/power station next to the face cabinet, and terminal strips behind the face.
    • The sides were basically 13 inch x 12 1/2 inch x 10 inch x 12 inch trapazoids with cut outs to fit the benchwork. The sides and bottom were braced with 1 inch x 2 inch cleats. The top of the sides were attached to joists #6 and #7.
    • The top was a 13 1/2 inch x 3 inch rectangle.

  3. Prepared the final Parkville Control Panel faceplate. Face of the Parkville Control Panel
    • Had quality 11 inch x 14 inch schematics printed out at local CopyCopy. Taped switch schematic behind 11 inch x 14 inch acetate sheet.
    • Using the drill sequence above, drilled the following:
      • 1 -- 1/2 inch hole for operations/programming toggle switch.
      • 14 -- 1/4 inch holes for pushbuttons.
      • 28 -- 1/4 inch holes for LEDs.
      Each was enlarged with a rotary file to ensure proper fit. The acetate was then washed and dried.
    • Put acetate and switch schematic into document frame. Put in the poster board document frame behind the switch schematic.
    • Inserted the toggle switch, 14 pushbuttons, and 28 LEDs with mounts. Glued LED mounts to acetate with Elmers glue.
    • Mounted the face to the cabinet with two hinges on bottom, magnetic latch on top left side, and friction lid support on right side. The face could now be unlatched and swung open from top with a limited range of motion.

Boreas Control Panel

  1. Designed the control panel face.
    • Used CadRail to draw track/switch schematic for track on the Boreas Bench. Leadville control panel on old Frisco layout was 10 in x 8 in, so this size is what was used.
    • Found oak picture frame of correct size at Walmart and ordered sheet of 1/8 inch acetate cut to proper size.

  2. Designed and constructed a "cabinet" out of 1/2 inch plywood.
    • The face was framed by an oak 8 inch x 10 inch oak picture frame inclined from vertical. It was designed to be hinged at the bottom to pull forward and down.
    • The botttom was 4 inch x 11 inch.
    • The sides were 8 inch x 2 inch x 4 inch x 8 3/16 inch trapazoids. The sides and bottom were braced with 1 inch x 2 inch cleats. The top of the sides were attached to Joists #6 and #7 on the right side of the layout.

  3. Prepared the final Boreas Control Panel faceplate. Face of the Boreas Control Panel
    • Using the drill sequence above, drilled the following:
      • 7 -- 1/4 inch holes for pushbuttons.
      • 14 -- 1/4 inch holes for LEDs.
      Each was enlarged with a rotary file to ensure proper fit.
    • Put acetate and switch schematic into picture frame.
    • Inserted the 7 pushbuttons and 14 LEDs with mounts. Glued LED mounts to acetate with Elmers glue.
    • Mounted the face to the cabinet with two hinges on bottom and magnetic latch on top right side.Used spare 22 gauge wire to limit face travel when opened. The face could now be unlatched and swung open from top with a limited range of motion.

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Layout Lighting

General Lighting Considerations

General Considerations

Materials Used

Step-by-Step Construction of Layout Lighting

Boreas Bench Lighting

  1. Built left vertical support.
    • Screwed in 1 x 4 inch board between the J-Girders at the left end of the girders to be used to attach the support.
    • Cut 4 foot length of 1 x 4 for vertical support. Cut v-shaped notch (1 1/2 inch wide and 1 inch deep) in top end.
    • Attached vertical support to board attached above and to edge of subroadbed. Support was attached so that the top was an elevation of 40 inches and center of the support was 24 inches in front of the back of the bench.

  2. Built right vertical support.
    • Cut 44 inch length of 1 x 4 for vertical support. Cut v-shaped notch (1 1/2 inch wide and 1 inch deep) in top end.
    • Attached vertical support to right side of Joist #10. Support was attached so that the top was an elevation of 40 inches and center of the support was 24 inches in front of the back of the bench.

  3. Centered 11 foot length of pipe on top of the vertical supports.


  4. Installed lighting.
    • Hung fluorescent fixture from pipe using enclosed chains and eyehooks.
    • Wrapped cord around pipe down outside of right vertical support.
    • Plugged cord into surge protector. Used large cable ties to secure cord and surge protector to right vertical support so that On/Off switch was readily accessible. Used extension cord to plug assembly into wall socket.
    • Installed bulbs.

Parkville Bench Lighting

  1. Built left vertical support.
    • Cut 44 inch length of 1 x 4 for vertical support. Cut v-shaped notch (1 1/2 inch wide and 1 inch deep) in top end. Cut 1 inch off each side of the lower 7 inches of the board to allow fit between subroadbeds.
    • Attached vertical support to to the left side of Joist #1. Support was attached so that the top was an elevation of 40 inches and center of the support was 18 inches in front of the back of the bench.

  2. Built right vertical support.
    • Cut 41 inch length of 1 x 4 for vertical support. Cut v-shaped notch (1 1/2 inch wide and 1 inch deep) in top end.
    • Attached vertical support to top of Joist #10. A piece of scrap 1 x 4 was used to secure the inside of the vertical support to the left side of the joist. Support was attached so that the top was an elevation of 40 inches and center of the support was 18 inches in front of the back of the bench.

  3. Centered 13 foot length of pipe on top of the vertical supports.


  4. Installed lighting.
    • Hung a fluorescent fixture 11 inches from the left vertical support from pipe using enclosed chains and eyehooks.
    • Wrapped cord around pipe down outside of left vertical support.
    • Plugged cord into surge protector. Used large cable ties to secure cord and surge protector to left vertical support and Joist #1 so that On/Off switch was readily accessible. Used extension cord to plug assembly into wall socket.
    • Hung a fluorescent fixture 11 inches from the right vertical support from pipe using enclosed chains and eyehooks.
    • Wrapped cord around pipe down outside of right vertical support.
    • Plugged cord into surge protector. Used large cable ties to secure cord and surge protector to right vertical support and Joist #10 so that On/Off switch was readily accessible. Used extension cord to plug assembly into wall socket.
    • Installed all bulbs.

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