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Well-Known Member
Got a little work done this weekend.

Started on the ugly section:

Added a tunnel entrance and started on the terrain:

And with plaster at the ready, a couple of healthy coats were applied.

Ignore the paper towels. They were covering the tracks while the plaster was painted on.

Then I turned my attention to the other side of the mountain and put up a side wall - complete with access door... or.. at least an access doorway. Need to find some hinges and a way to secure the door.

And again the plaster came out and the walls started getting sealed up.

From this tunnel portal back, and along the wall, I need to do a little thinking. More to come on that. But more importantly, I'm getting closer to bridge building time. :D


Well-Known Member
Wow... I haven't updated this thread since July?!?!?

oh... right... I haven't updated my layout since July, either. :rolleyes:;)

Well, I did get that tunnel portal section finished up. Check my YouTube channel below in a little bit for the step by step... if you want to. But here is the end result:
Train_Moment by Robert Martin, on Flickr

Then I decided today was the day to start working on my bridge. I had the time, materials and it was a glorious Indian summer day... to... um.. be in the basement... Oh well. Here's what I got done:

My inspiration is the Portageville Bridge in New York:

I have an old aluminum C-Channel in the basement from broken window dressing. This will be the base for my bridge:

I cut it to length and then cut the ends so that I have roughly a 1 inch flap that will secure to the top of the plywood abutment:

This will need to be secure because occasionally there are giants...

With the C-Channel cut to length, I cut a couple of indents in my abutments and cut down the foam roadbed to accept C-Channel:

And with the C-Channel properly sunk into place, it looks like this:

Once I had it in place, and nicely leveled with the foam roadbed, I realized that I needed to sink it a little further down into the abutments since I plan on putting a wooden base down on the C-Channel to give my my final width. So, out came the wood chisel and I went to work. The end result looked a little better:

The work crew was pretty happy with today's progress.

Next step will be the wooden roadbed and starting in on the vertical supports and the arch.
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Active Member
These are the pictures I found in a search that pointed me towards this forum. I'm really impressed with this undertaking on rebuilding this layout. I've seen a lot of fine layouts go to the landfill over bored track plans or unwanted by family members. This project should be an inspiration for others to seek out those unwanted layouts and tailor them to their liking.

Keep up the great work!


Well-Known Member
Looking good!
Well ok, except that cascade green unit in the gully!
ACK! o_O
Yeah... Like I said, I've got to be careful about those "Giants..." 😁
Fortunately the BN unit is a cheap "toy" train so I don't mind him playing with it. I've got a couple of those lying around that I keep within his reach. It keeps his hands off of my better ones. ;)


Well-Known Member
Carved out some footings on the anchors. Or is it anchors on the footings? Holes on the big concrete things for the supports to go into.

To form the arches, the original plan was to steam bend a couple of 1/4" balsa sticks, but that plan failed miserably. I think the balsa actually became more brittle after steaming. The arch was just too big for it to bend on it's own. I then tried some 3/16" sticks and they actually bent into shape; but just barely. They were at their tensile limit and if I tried to adjust the arch one way or another, they would snap. I then had the idea of cutting the 3/16" stick in half and arching them over much in the same way a wooden Bow is formed.

This seemed to do the trick and once the arch pieces are glued together, they should form as stable an arch as balsa wood can provide.

The C-Channel is the actual structural element of this bridge and the arch and supports are just for looks, but still, once I get this all done, the balsa should be able to hold a train's weight all by itself.

With the first rights and roadbed in place to get the feel of how it is going to look:

Now I just need to wait for the glue between the balsa roadbed and the C-Channel to dry and I can keep moving.


BN Modeller
Wow what a neat idea for a bridge, can’t wait to see how it turns out!

So um, here’s a thought... why not put the pretty green locomotive back on the rails and replace it with that cute Chessie loco in the background?
Look, there’s even a little kitty on the nose, kids love kitties!
C'mon, you’re killing me here! ;)


Curse You, Red Baron!
Staff member
You came up with a great idea for the arch!
That really, really, really looks great!
Leave the ugly green where it is and get that bucket loader to start covering it (Frisco Fan). 😁


Well-Known Member
Had the day off from work today. Veterans Day - Thank You to all who have Served.

Spent the bulk of the day in the basement working on the bridge and made some pretty good progress.
After the first hour, thought, I only had this: Keen observers may notice a small change to the background as suggested by a certain forum member... 😊

Turns out my adhesive of choice was NOT working. I have built so many things glueing balsa wood together using simple Krazy glue, but for some reason, it was simply not working today. No matter what I tried, I could not get two pieces of balsa to stick together. Bad batch or glue perhaps? Worked great on my fingers, just not on the wood. So, I moved onto my back up of good old Elmer‘s white glue. Super long drying time (comparatively speaking), but it did the job.
The rest of the morning was spent completing the uprights and most of the angles supports.
The prototype bridge has some additional lateral supports on the longer legs, so I added those in with a small drill and some tooth picks: Well, I got one set done. Three more to go.
I decided to move on to some of the cross hatching on the underside of the bridge. I set up a small jig of sorts on the top of the bridge in which to assemble the crosses:
To get the pieces to sit flush, I marked the cross points and carved them out slightly. Very, very carefully, too. And then glued them together.

Getting these in place is evidence of two things: 1.) You CAN build a structure this IN PLACE. And 2.) building a drop in structure is SO MUCH EASIER!!
I ended up having to use a small shaving mirror just so I could see what I was doing as I tried to get them wrestled into place.

In the end I got two done and had simply had enough for one day. Time to take a break.

Well, for one day’s work, I figure I did pretty good.
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Well-Known Member
Got some work done over the weekend and tonight. I found a better way to align the lateral supports. I laid out the path with tape:

Starting drilling through, then pealed the tape away as I went (mainly so I could still grasp the drill):

The end result looks much straighter on the right hand side than it does on the left (not pictured...):

A visit by the little giant went well; nothing broken. :)

Next was onto all the cross bracing, which was quite the long process and and quite tiring. That took me the better part of two days - getting everything cut to length and glued in place. But in the end, I got it all done!

Then I starting in on the painting... and I thought the cross bracing was hard... Really makes me wish I had an airbrush. I got started, though, got this far, and decided to call it a night.

Weaseling in that newspaper was more of an adventure than I had planned.

Anyway, I'm curious what your opinions are with that last picture. There are several pictures of the prototype bridge prior to completion where the gusset plates were painted steel gray vs. the girders in the red. I really kind of liked the contrast. What do you all think?


Curse You, Red Baron!
Staff member
Kind of a shocking color to me, but if you have access to the real color then who am I to stand in your way. I know that I love your construction methods. I just have not seen a bridge that color before?


Active Member
Great information on the rehab / rebuild of your layout.

Getting back to the lift section, have you run trains across it yet? In the photo of the lift in the up section you stated i worked great, I was guessing that was the hinges allowing the track to not get smashed.

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