A Simple Tour of My Current Progress, January 2021

It has been over 12 months since I posted last but in that time I have managed to get quite a lot done and undone.  I decided to take a break from posting because I wanted to avoid sounding too instructive which was a comment I received.  This year has had its issues with Covid – 19 and I spent a lot of time during the summer at the cabin clearing out trees so a driveway could be put in. Before that, my wife and I had to hike our supplies in. That meant lugging things over a 100 metres long uneven path and at our ages was becoming a bit much.   I had to buy a new chainsaw because I burnt the old one out.  The new one is better and I am more afraid of it than any other power tool.

So here is a tour.  I started early last year (2020) putting in all the Styrofoam for the lower level which represents Owen Sound.  Then I proceeded to install the roadbed and track for everything up to the point where the mainline entered the main Owen Sound Yard, just behind the Roundhouse. I stopped there so I could access the upper level to start scenery.  I felt these steps were necessary so I could join the levels with the intended helix. This also meant clearing out part of the basement which is always good.

Going from right to left, the drawing shows the North Part of the Mainline with Passing Siding and Storage Track. The sidings and storage tracks are in magenta.  A Supertest Oil Facility was located there as well.  The Boarding Tracks were where they would hammer boards to the inside of the boxcars before they put the grain in them.  There was a spur to Harrison’s Lumber and finally the tracks to service the Grain Elevator.  People familiar with the prototype track setup will notice that there are two instead of three tracks at the Grain Elevator.  I used modeller’s license of selective compression but I can install a third if I need to.  All turnouts are powered with Tortoise and DPDT toggle switches.  The LEDs in the panels are 3mm.

Before I could start the scenery at Park Head on the upper level, I remembered that it was rule of thumb to put in a backdrop first.  I decided to make removable backdrops made of hard board cut into 16” strips 8 feet long. They have to be removeable for maintenance purposes.   I used 2” x 2” wood spacers to project them out from the wall.  They are mostly held in place with strips of Velcro.  Note, do not cheap out and use the clone brands, they don’t hold up as well as the real Velcro.  They were painted the same colour as a sky shot that I took at Park Head.  Next I started to put in lighting under the upper shelf to add illumination to the lower level.  These are inexpensive LED tubes.  I started to lay track on the lower level so I would get an idea of where the helix would go. (And yes, that is the Starship Voyager behind the trees.)

Lower Lighting and Backdrops

I installed the benchwork and track for the North Part of the Owen Sound Yard which has the north passing siding and storage tracks where Supertest Oil was located. This is also where the lower level will connect to the helix.

North End of Passing Siding/Storage Track Under the Wiarton Turntable.

Then the boarding tracks were put in where they put the boards on the inside of the boxcars before they filled them with grain. The control panels for the turnouts are placed as close a possible to where the turnouts are. The turnout control panel for the north end of the Passing Siding/Storage Track can be seen just behind the boxcars on the Boarding Tracks.

The Boarding Tracks with Passing Siding/Storage Tracks in the Background
Boarding Tracks and South End of Passing Siding/Storage Track Turnout Control Panel

Next, the spurs to Harrison’s Lumber and the Grain Elevator were put in.

Grain Elevator and Harrison’s Lumber Sidings
Grain Elevator Siding with a Mock Grain Elevator

The Pottawatami River rough in and its bridge were installed after the track was laid.  The Styrofoam and track were cut out. A piece of 0.060” plastic sheet was glued underneath the Styrofoam and sealed around the edges.  It was not too hard.  I used an Atlas HO bridge which I widened by splitting it down the middle and gluing a piece of brass sheet underneath.  The bridge needed to be shortened as can be seen in the photos. Micro Mark HO Rivet decals were used. The ends were carefully airbrushed black. Pieces of styrene sheet were used to simulate the shoes under the ends of the bridge.

Crossing the Mighty Pottawatami River
Bridge Widening
Bridge Shortening with New Ends
Finally the Two Sections of Owen Sound North are Joined Again

The helix is in. Yay!  It was built to adjust and take apart if necessary. Wood is in short supply these days because it seems everyone is renovating with the Covid thing happening. It is also a lot more expensive! Unfortunately, the only 1/2 inch plywood I could get was construction grade, warped. I had to add stiffeners along the edges to make it straight. The only 1″x 2″ pine I could get was finished in white. Some extra spacers were put in place between levels to ensure straightness as well. The grade is about 2 percent. Most of my Pacifics will need weight added. When I built them, I did not add weight due to the fact that they were only running on my level S Scale Workshop Modules. I should have planned ahead. CNR 5580 has been weighted and will now pull a 3 or 4 car passenger train up the grade well enough. This is about as long as the usual southbound prototype train was so I am in the clear there. Of course, the diesels have no problem with the grade! I may add another level and lessen the grade using shorter spacers but that is when I can go outside and use the chop saw. Then again, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Where the Lower Level Meets the Helix
Where the Upper Level Meets the Helix

I am getting used to the helix. It is kind of like watching a train go continuously around a Christmas Tree. Maybe next year I will put a tree in the middle during the holiday season.

The next instalment will be upper level scenery. Cheers, until next time and do stay safe. 


4 thoughts on “A Simple Tour of My Current Progress, January 2021

  1. “ I am getting used to the helix. It is kind of like watching a train go continuously around a Christmas Tree. Maybe next year I will put a tree in the middle during the holiday season. “

    Less than 8 weeks to go now – according to of the stores, the season began a while ago.

    How are the plans for a tree coming along?


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