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Mark Boyce posted:

It looks great already, George!  I'm glad to see you getting started on something more than benchwork and backdrop board.

Me, too.  

In parallel with the backdrop, I am working to get all the components of the bridge (including the arch) aligned.  They will be installed as part of the benchwork (along with the piers).  And this time around, we are planning to do that early and make sure that the bridge is ruling item (with regards to track work) on the layout.


Updated 8/12/2018:

Backdrop installation continues. Steubenville (Panel 1) was installed last night. This afternoon, we have installed Panels 2A and 2B (Hills on the Ohio side of the river).



We forgot to apply Peel Stop to the area that will hold the river itself (Panel 3 Bottom).  We just did that and are now waiting for it to dry.

More when I know it.  



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Updated 8/13/2018:

We installed the final backdrops on the long wall of the train room.

For the Ohio River backdrop (2 pieces - 1 top & 1 bottom) we needed a level line higher than the 50" bench work height marker. That's why the laser level (on the tripod) is sitting on a table.


This photo show both the top and bottom of the Ohio River panel in place.


Here's the West Virginia side (panels 4A & 4B).


Finally, the troublesome panel 4C was installed and then trimmed to fit the space. That worked!


The divider between the Staging Area and remainder of the layout was spackled and sanded.  We will install those 2 backdrops tomorrow or after some bench work is completed.


More when I know it.  



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Dave NYC Hudson PRR K4 posted:

Hey George, what is the stone lining on the arch? Something you mold or something bought? Looks great either way.

It's Chooch #8264 Large Cut Stone Wall.  It is a peel-and-stick product that you can trim with a hobby knife or scissors.  It looks great, but has some sticking issues.  It's also pretty pricey.  But it is the right thing for the arch.


Updated 8/15/2018:

  • My wife did a little smoothing of seams and touch-up painting on the backdrop. It looks fabulous!!!
  • My friend Price is in town and has been a huge help building bench work.
  • Tables 7 & 17 were assembled and installed.
  • The ribbing for Table 19A was assembled.


Here is the underside of Table 7.  The diagonal braces will support a pop-up access hatch (yet to be cut).Benchwork_158_

Here is Table 7 installed on the layout.


A different look at Table 7.


Tables 7 and 17 have been installed.


The ribbing for Table 19A lies on the floor close to where it will be installed.


More when I know it!  



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Updated 8/16/2018:

Man, we were cranking it today.

First, I got my grandfather's 220V Sears Craftsman table saw operational and ripped a sheet of plywood for a table. The saw must be 75 years old - still cuts great!


Here's the ripped plywood sheet attached to its ribbing to form Table 19A.


Next, we attached the poplar support to the long wall.


After putting legs on Table 19A, it was attached to the wall.


Next, Table 19B was built and attached to the wall.


Here's a closer look at 19B. We are just setting up to determine the correct height of the bridge where it will join the Ohio abutments. Table 23 will support the abutment as well as the first pocket pier.


My friend Price Bradshaw, who has been invaluable to the build, tests the height adjustments and fit of the bridge to the abutment.


Finally, here is a shot of Table 23 installed on the layout.


That's it for now.  I am whipped.

More when I know it.  



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Updated 8/17/2018:

Got in about 4 hours of work on the layout today. Table 15 was completed and installed.


We also installed the wall supports - they completely span the long wall of the basement now. The framework for Table 16 was completed and is sitting on top of Table 15.


Frankly, I'm beat. Thursday was a 14 hour day; Wednesday was 12.



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Updated 8/21/2018:

The big accomplishment today was the use of the laser level and shims to adjust the height of the WV side of the bridge. Last week the effort to obtain the correct difference between the River Route and height of the bridge resulted in some adjustment of the main bench work.

First thing we did was to bolt together tables 7 & 17.

Then we detached the tables from the wall.

Next we shimmed the table to the correct height.

Finally, we checked the height with the laser.

More when I know it.  



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Updated 8/23/2018:

I ordered the 4100K dimmable BR30 LED bulbs for both the workshop and layout.   Including spares, that is a total of 34 bulbs.  It's time to get those installed before more tables make that difficult.

I am working on one of the areas (Table 16) where table height will determine the look of the terrain.  The RR-Track diagram below shows the parallel tracks that approach the bridge (out of sight to the left).  Those tracks reside on a Pennsy fill (3:2 ratio - width to height).  They will sit on a piece of cookie-cutter sub-roadbed 9.5” wide on risers.  Right now I am measuring and determining the exact dimensions and placement of the risers and cookie-cutter sub-roadbed.

Eastern Approach

In front, from right to left:

  • The black / dark gray area is Standard Slag, a large pit lined with rusty steel reinforced walls.
  • As we move left (west) towards the river, the terrain will have 1-2 drainage culverts running perpendicular to the track.
  • Farther right (above the #16), the track will move onto the stone arch and then onto the bridge itself.

At the back of the layout against the backdrop from right to left:

  • Right above the two circles on the track (RR-Track block separators), I will place a culvert parallel to the tracks.
  • A drainage ditch will occupy the center of that narrow area between the track and backdrop; it will run all the way to the river.
  • Line poles (Panhandle line poles typically had 5 cross-arms) will populate the upper slope of the ditch.

See the diagram below (VERY PRELIMINARY) for a cross-section of the area. 

Table 21 - Pennsy Roadbed Cross-section

Thoughts on construction:

  • A length of 1/8” masonite on either side of the riser will be used to create the base of the fill.
  • Ballast (not shown) will cover the tracks and Vinylbed roadbed. It will be Pennsy mainline limestone (white / gray).
  • Weaver / Atlas line poles will march towards the bridge; I expect to need 3 or 4.
  • I may be looking for a much smaller culvert as it seems a bit oversized for the area.

More when I know it.  



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Steamfan77 posted:

Hi George, 

I’m enjoying the build. Great work, keep it up!


Thanks Andy!  I am glad to hear that.  

This time around, the build doesn't seem to have attracted the following or viewership of the five previous Panhandle 1.0 threads for some reason.  Which is odd because to me (hardly an unbiased observer ) we are moving at a much faster clip and making serious advances almost every week.  But then, it's hard to watch the football game from inside the ball.  

Thanks again!


Last edited by G3750

Things are slowly coming together there George, looking great. About that saw, my grandfather used to say, "if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it". He had tools from I don't even know when. We had been working outside and I asked him what something was, he explained what it was and that he'd been using it for a great number of years. He had a bunch of things like that, though some in disrepair. If it works, awesome, if not, well what can you do.

Dave NYC Hudson PRR K4 posted:

Things are slowly coming together there George, looking great. About that saw, my grandfather used to say, "if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it". He had tools from I don't even know when. We had been working outside and I asked him what something was, he explained what it was and that he'd been using it for a great number of years. He had a bunch of things like that, though some in disrepair. If it works, awesome, if not, well what can you do.

Thanks Dave.  We're trying to push forward methodically.

I was having a discussion of old tools with a friend just a few weeks ago.  I inherited my grandfather's tools and my father's tools.  Four years ago, when we moved my parents household goods to my sister's house in Erie, I went through a bunch of those tools.  Some of those tools, particularly my grandfather's, I simply couldn't identify or figure out what they did.  Wish I had asked him about them.


Writing of tools, we went through my grandfather’s tools this summer.  He passed on 6 months before I was born. Dad took over the homestead, and we used many over the years.  Some I never saw Dad use because grandpa was a plumber and had some tools for monstrous pipes and fixtures that haven’t been in use for many decades.  I have the better tools Dad had, but grandpa’s went to a dealer.  Hard to know what they were worth not knowing what they really are.

Updated 8/25/2018:

I decided it was a good time to try test fitting the bridge onto the layout. 



 The bridge sections are held together with screws whose head accommodate 3/32” hex keys.  I have an entire storage bin full of old allen wrenches.  Do you think I had one that fit?  So it was time for a detour to Harbor Freight for that and for an LED headlamp (my old battery one corroded).

To support the bridge on the piers, I realized that I needed all my bridge shoes. For Panhandle 1.0 (when the bridge was smaller), I only needed 4 bridge shoes. But with the prototypical approaches in place, that number became 18. That turns out to be 2 at the western abutment, 4 at the pocket-pier, 2 at the mid-river span, 2 at the other mid-river span, 4 at the pocket pier, 2 at the “shorty” pier, and finally 2 at the eastern abutment (stone arch). I had the parts cut awhile ago, but never put them together. Here are some of them in the paint booth.


And here they all are after getting a coat of flat black.


More when I know it.  



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Updated 8/28/2018:

Haven't gotten a ton done over the past couple of days. Yesterday I managed to get through a retina exam without any laser surgery repairs!   

I spent some time gluing the Chooch Large Cut Stone segments (allegedly peel-n-stick   back onto the stone arch.


I also reworked the RR-Track plan of the river area to show the bridge piers and widen the river. For Panhandle 1.0, I used a rippled (tempered) glass sheet (approximately 6' wide) for the river surface. The new, more prototypical and more accurate size of the river (8') means this is isn't going to fit. I am likely to try selling it. I expect it will make a good river or lake for some layout somewhere.

Bridge Area

More when I know it.  



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Last edited by G3750

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