L-Girder Thievery!


Progress on the CSME layout re-build is moving  right along. The planning phase is coming to a close and real construction has begun. This Monday and today the crew ran amuck with L girders as actual  cutting and assembly began.  

A small crew met at Gene’s shop and ripped and assembled new L girders to be used for the  critical perimeter locations. These perimeter L girders  were carefully placed along the walls and they became  the basis for all elevations on the finished layout. To accurately place these critical pieces,  Grinnel brought his laser level and led a crew who placed level reference marks around the  walls. Seems like they said total discrepancy from south wall to north wall, a distance of 80  feet, was less than ¼”. Pretty close for model railroad work. 

Using these reference marks, perimeter L girders have been fixed to the walls in the  north room. These are the new L girders assembled in Gene’s shop because they are all  reference points. These are nice to work with because they are not all hacked up with screw  holes and saw cuts everywhere. They have become a premium during this phase of  construction. In fact, L girder theft is becoming more and more commonplace as “good” girders are used up leaving only the leftovers. Crews have to guard their girders until installation.  Photo evidence of this pilferage exists!!

Photo evidence of L Girder thievery exists. George complained vehemently but to no avail.  The perpetrators continued on with their skullduggery.

As we set girders this morning an engineering problem became apparent. It had to  do with the north wall double deck portion of the layout. We have plans to create a lower level switching area and an upper level staging yard (Albany) along this wall. Simple oversight created this dilemma stemming from the floor level difference in the old layout room. This difference resulted in 7” of vertical clearance between the Toledo Yard and Eddyville instead of 12” which exists everywhere else. 7” is not enough vertical clearance to create an operational area below,  therefore, we called an immediate “engineering  meeting” with all hands on deck. Within a few  short minutes we had a number of options for  mitigation. After consideration of these changes,  it was decided to implement several of them including raising Eddyville taking care to not exceed 1.7% grades, creating tapered framing under the existing staging yard sections, hanging the yards using robust shelf hangers so no vertical supports are required and reducing the  width of Albany by 1 or 2 tracks. 

These changes will require additional work to create modifications, however the crew is up  to it. We feel confident that, even with the  required compromises, switching and staging  functions can be preserved along the north wall. This points out one of the beauties of ¾” plywood  construction – it can handle these additional  stresses.

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