Layout Extension In Work


Hello All,
I decided to extend one of the legs of my layout. This is according to one of the main corollaries of model railroading which says that "all model railroads will expand to fill the available space". Any way, I have a layout room which is 25 x 25 and this will fill the space. This extension is about 20 feet long. It will contain some of more photogenic areas of Cascade Crossing, including a long passing siding at Cruzatte.

I'll add to this thread as I make progress. These first two photos show the extension benchwork completed after about 5 hours of work.

Access to Water Softner

This is by far the most complicated part of the extension. I have a water softner and air tank for my well, which I need access to occasionally. I built a section of the benchwork with hinges that would allow it to be raised. I don't think I'd want to carry 50 lb. salt blocks under my layout. Here is a detail of the hinges.
Backdrop Completed

The backdrop went up today. It is 1/8 inch masonite attached to 1x2 frames. It goes up quickly. It is painted before anything else. I still need to put some mountains in the background. Maybe tomorrow after a trip to the craft store for some paint.

Bill it is looking good. My train room is 10.5' X 15' and it cannot be expanded without taking more garage(wife won;'t let her car sit outside and will not give up my woodworking shop space). I like your Avatar.
Very nice Bill, looking real good. I'm curious though so couple of questions :D I notice you don't have any cross members on the legs, especially at the gate. Do you plan on adding any or bolting the legs to the floor? Second question, When the gate is in the raised position, how will you secure it from crushing the scenery on the module it is hinged too?

Having a blizzard up here, had this post done before, when I was about to click on POST, we had a power bump and that was it " Shutdown"

Cheers Willis
The layout doesn't wobble too much Willis. I guess because it's got so darn many legs. I have added a couple cross braces to the ends of the peninsulas. I'm not sure it helps too much.

You're way ahead of me on holding the gate open. I'll have to get some sort of catch. I was thinking of some kind of latch like they use on folding tables to hold the wings out. Not sure yet. Maybe a spring, like on a screen door?

The reason I asked was I started out with a similar idea. However the gate became very heavy to lift before the scenery and track went on. It also twisted a bit ( could be a reflection of my carpentry :D) and alignment became a problem with changing humidity. Finaly I was stumped on how to secure it when open, the best idea I could come up with was a spring assist or better still a counter weight.

Cheers Willis
The wheels are still spinning on this end. I'll show you what I come up with once I think of it myself.

Backdrop and Roadbed in Place

Here's a couple more photos of progress to date. I have the backdrop fully in place and painted, except for the clouds. I also finished with the roadbed and cork. A detail of the gate is also in here, showing the hinges. It works great. I have a couple wooden dowel rods protruding from one side and holes in the other side where it lines up. It is snugged into place with a luggage catch that I got at the hardware store. Unfortunately that is off the photo.

Happy New Year All!

Looks great Bill, I can't find any fault with it :D nice looking bench work, keep us posted as you continue.
Cheers Willis
Update on January 13th

I got the track all laid out and connected to the power bus over the last few days. I used 12 gauge solid conductor wire for my DCC bus and lamp cord for the track feeders. I brought the track feeders up at every other flextrack junction, so they are roughly at 6 foot intervals. The turnouts are Peco #6 insulfrog, so I had to provide power to all sides of each turnout.

One of the pictures shows a detail of the catch I used to snug the two sides of the lift gate together. It works really well. There are a couple alignment dowel rods I have sticking out of one side of the gate and a couple mating holes on the other side. Makes for a solid alignment. I installed a string with a small hook to the ceiling joist to hold the gate up.

One of the photos has arrows pointing to the DCC bus, which I had to run up and across the ceiling to allow passage through the gate when it is open. I had considered using some kind of quick-disconnect connector, but I want to make it as easy as possible to open the gate and eliminated the need for this extra action. With the bus wires being monster 12 gauge wires, I have not found there ia appreciable speed loss at the far end of the layout. My whole layout is driven by one 5 Amp booster.

Looking very good Bill, nice shot of the catch, I didn't think about that type at all. In the locked position I doubt there would be any movement between the gate and the mating module even if there were no dowels. Does the gate frame twist any when you are raising it? And for some reason I'm not quite sure yet, I'd add a stiff spring to that string from the ceiling. Should the gate get bumped while open, the spring woould take a lot of the shock. Just an idea. :D Keep posting your progress this is a interesting project.Cheers Willis
Your benchwork skills are great! I can only wish for something that looks so professionally assembled when/if I get a basement for myself!!! Please keep posting!!

Tunnel Portals

I have some of the scenery completed, but I first need to make a couple tunnel portals before I start plastering the mountains. This is a prototype tunnel portal from the Cascade Subdivision. There are 21 tunnels on the line which were all build about 1938.

Plaster Molds

I made my tunnel portals tonight. You can see the mold I made using scrap lumber and the cap from a can of spray paint. I had to make three portals to get two that I thought were acceptable. The last picture shows the first portal fresh out of the mold. After cleaning up the flash, it looks a lot better. If you look at the prototype, you will see a lot of horizontal lines from the cement forms. I need to figure out how to make those lines. I might just draw those on with a fine point marker before painting the plaster. Also note that I made an indentation for the date centered above the portal opening.

Scenery Work 1/22/05

OK, well now I have the scenery in work. I used two whole Sunday newspapers in here. You can see the tunnel portals in place. I'll be doing the plaster shell over the next few days.

Plaster Shell

I had a nice mess going over the weekend. It's cleaned up pretty good now. I used paper towels dipped in plaster of paris for my hard shell landscape. I brushed on a couple extra coats of plaster after the initial paper towels had dried, especially in areas that I might bump into like along the front edge of the layout. Looks like a snow storm hit ;)


Today I painted the plaster with watered down craft paint. I chose a rusty brown color similar to the dirt seen out in Oregon. It looks a lot nicer already. It just occured to me how many trees are going to be required for this thing. :(