New Phases of Construction


The CSME average Covid distance ratio measured in feet ranges from 40’ down to 26.6 feet given the number of workers – 80 foot long room with either 2 or 3 workers. This is way more than the recommended 6 feet. On the one hand this is great since we can show CSME to be highly responsible but it also means that progress is slowed way down. This is not a political statement as we are an apolitical  group – just a statement of fact. On the other – other – other hand each worker has plenty of room and we are not falling over one another.

There are signs of other folks working in the layout room during off hours including an  individual planning out a paper mill and chip  yard . . . . hmmmm . . . . might these marks be  Lonnie tracks? (pun intended). 

Somebody is thinking and drawing plans for the mill area. Might these be  Lonnie tracks?? 

Work is moving into a new chapter as we close out the moving chapter, the paper on the floor chapter, and the hernia chapter (big  chunks going up on L girders). We are entering the hook it all together chapter, the new  construction chapter, and we see evidence that the wiring chapter may be about to open with Randy and Hop-a-long Gene.  

George is turning into the “go-to” framing and destruction guy. We give him an unusable chunk of the old layout and he delivers a neat pile of sticks and useable track board sections made up of plywood subroadbed, cork,  and flextrack. He even takes out the screws and  nails so we use far fewer band aids and saw blades. Thank you George. 

And then there’s Doug. Sometimes we wonder if it’s wise to have a guy that routinely wrecks airplanes and helicopters working with power tools on the railroad. Not only does he provide great entertainment, but also gets a lot done. For example, whole new switching areas that comprise the mill,  chip yard and the Red Rock branch line have been built by Doug with close support from George. For reference, these combined switching areas — additions to  our layout — are equal to about a 50’ along the wall home layout.  

The aforementioned Doug Taylor working on the Red Rock Branch

We have built the existing Red Rock section into this area but the rest remains a blank slate for the switching gurus. We did frame in for a possible Walther’s 90’ turntable in the N/E corner of the building.  This can provide a means to turn steam engines on the stub ended Red Rock  Branch.  

The very tedious work of hooking up old track and new track sections, connecting cut points, and engineering new roadbed to bridge gaps has begun as well. This connection process is pretty straightforward but must be done very  carefully since any deviation in the subroadbed will be reflected in the track and subsequently in the trains. Imagine a  beautiful string of graceful 85’ pullmans gliding along immaculate track and then each car in turn does a big wobble as it negotiates a bad joint – not pretty. 

We can mitigate bad track joints by  using ¾” splice plates below the ¾” subroadbed. After fitting the actual roadbed together including any fill-in pieces, we clamp the splice plate in place. This clamped joint must be grade consistent and stable, that is, no change in grade at this point and plywood is rigid. Glue and screws are then added to the joint and after a few hours it becomes a rigid structure. This results in an even joint along the bottom  surface but there can be a variation along the top surface – right where we need a smooth joint for cork roadbed and track. Accommodation for this difference is made with .010, .015, .020  thick ¼” wide styrene added between plywood and cork to smooth out any difference.

These two galoots seem to want it right there. They want no argument. 

A good example of the new and the old. Here we are creating new roadbed for the yard lead while using an old crossover section that was behind Scott’s Mill

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