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The Great Plywood Glacier 2.0 is s-l-o-w-l-y taking shape.  For the past three months I've been poking at assembling my benchwork kit, in-between other activities.  At 6'x12' it's smaller than my old railroad's 12'x18'.

99% of the new benchwork is up.  I'm leaving out the last 2'x2' section for for now for access to inside of the doughnut.  After all, it's easier to walk in than to crawl in...

Bench 112821 [1)

The plywood's not attached yet, I'm debating if I want to attach it from the top or the underside.  However, in true model railroader type fashion, one can't leave plywood bare.  It's the law.    So, I put down some of my S-Trax to reacquaint myself with track planning.  Right now curves are R24 and the S-Trax turnouts are the newer versions with the moving frog rail.  (The compressor is an attempt to straighten out a warp in the corner sheet.)

Bench 112921 [1)

I tested some of my scale equipment and they don't seem to like the point rails for the diverging route, so it looks like I'll be HiRailing it for the time being.  I've got a fair amount of HiRail stuff gathering dust needing exercise anyway.  I'll also have to excavate my TMCC/DCS contraption.

Bench 112921 [3)

The long term plan is to kick around some track ideas until Fox Valley restocks.  Then, of course I have to deal with changes in geometry...  I remember reading somewhere that model railroading is fun.  Isn't it though?



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Here's a little update.  I secure the plywood, cleaned things up and have a temporary loop down:

GPG 120421 [2)GPG 120421 [3)

Curves are presently R24.  My R29's just arrived today from Portlines, so things will change a bit.  Of course, whenever Fox Valley restocks, everything changes again.

I found out why my scale stuff doesn't like the diverging route of the turnouts.  The gauge is narrow on the diverging point rails.  I'll have to check out FasTrack turnouts.



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Rebuild 2.0.

Another adventure...  The MTH R29's (excuse me R30's...) fit together very poorly.  These must have been some of the last to leave the MTH factory, I never had trouble with my earlier MTH straights or any of my SHS track.

Closer examination revealed the rails were on average 1-2mm too long for the molded roadbed on all 12 sections preventing the track from locking together.  I chucked my Dremel in a vice and ground down the ends and they fit together much better now.

Anyhow, moving up from R24 to R30 required some track reconfiguration.  I didn't want to hack up a bunch for custom lengths in case I ever want to resell the track once Fox Valley track becomes available again.

So, my passing siding got a little convoluted, but it'll do for now.  I may throw in another siding on the open end, just for grins:

GPG 120921 [1)GPG 120921 [3)

I can successfully run scale stuff as long as I don't go down the diverging routes.  But, R30 is 3" less radius than I had on the old railroad, so that eliminates some of my scale equipment from running here.

I'll probably dig out some of my old buildings over the next few weeks for the lived in look.  Right now I can run DC and DCC.  I also have to dig out myZ1000 and TMCC/DCS rig so I can exercise some of my long ignored stuff.



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Thanks, I'm aware that the Lionel FasTrack turnouts will handle scale wheeled equipment.  I have the reconfigured SHS turnouts that Lionel based their design on. These are supposed to handle scale wheels.

Scale wheels will go through my SHS turnouts main route no problem, but the track gauge is narrow (per the NASG track gauge) on the point rails for the diverging routes.  That's what's causing the derailments and there is no easy fix.

As the S-Trax is only a temporary solution until Fox Valley track is available again, I made an executive decision today to live with it for now.

Besides, I have a bunch of HiRail stuff that needs exercise.

BTW, I did a little re-configuring today by flipping one turnout around to make a sorta yard on the passing track, pluss added a storage siding on the open end.

GPG 121021 [2)GPG 121021 [3)



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Last edited by Rusty Traque

Rusty, Nice work so far!  Thank you for sharing your progress.  The pictures and explanation are great and I think everyone benefits from seeing what you are doing.

If you don't mind, can you add a few more details about your layout's overall concept, like what you are planning for a track plan, the area or time period, planned scenery, etc.?  Also, it looks like you are using modular benchwork - what sizes are the modules and what height is the layout?  If necessary, will the layout be easily moved in the future?


Mike A.

Last edited by Mikeaa


A lot of it's up in the air right now.  I'm still wrestling with the limitations of having about 1/4 less space than my old railroad.  It will be a primarily scale railroad, but I want to have is the ability to also run my HiRail/Flyer stuff when the mood strikes.

Right now I'm leaning towards updating from the 50's/60's to 60's/70's.  I've been studying on adapting Tony Koester's  O Scale Wingate modules to my space.  It's my current thinking, subject to change.

The track will most likely remain at ground level, with some small undulations here and there.  And trees, as many as I can fit logically.  Basically, typical Midwestern scenery.

The overall railroad is 6'x12'.  Total there's six 2'x4' modules and two 2'x2' modules.  Top of the plywood is 42".


Rebuild 2.1

Got some more ambition and reconfigured the track again.  I wanted to get rid of the goofy R24 s-curve and make the track arrangement less clumsy.

GPG 121021 [1)

Now, the arrangement looks more like the previously mentioned Wingate plan, adapted to my available space.

GPG 121621 [3)

As the narrow track gauge on the diverging point rails prevents me from running scale at the moment, I dug out by two early version (non-toggle points) SHS turnouts to make a small yard.

GPG 121621 [4)

This helps me get a better feel for what my final vision is tuning out to be.  Of course, assuming I can get Fox Valley track in the future, all the track geometry goes out the window, but I'll be able to get a more prototypical look.

I also plan on digging out some of my structures to get better feel for how thing will work out scenery-wise.

But for now, it's time to run some trains.

GPG 121621 [6)



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Hey Rusty,

Was curious how you did the legs on your "modules".   Is it just 3/4" ply screwed through the 3/4" fascia?   Any reenforcement?

I've been digging for ideas - planning to build modules - especially after the build-in-place layout I attempted previously ended in full tear out and destruction.  

I like this overall plan from this video - but wish the legs were more moveable.

@Jacobpaul81 posted:

Hey Rusty,

Was curious how you did the legs on your "modules".   Is it just 3/4" ply screwed through the 3/4" fascia?   Any reenforcement?

I've been digging for ideas - planning to build modules - especially after the build-in-place layout I attempted previously ended in full tear out and destruction.

The modules are from Model Railroad Benchwork.   Everything is pre-drilled and secured together with the supplied pocket screws.  I then pre-assembled the legs using the framework as a guide. I was able to put everything together on my bench in the vise.

The only part not pre-drilled is where the legs fit into the frame, I had to lay out the location for mounting the screws.  A light penciled in square may be seen in some of the photos:

Bench 100121 [3)Bench 100121 [4)

The "pads" are post caps I got from Menards to better protect the carpeting in the room.

I had everything pre-assembled, stained and ready to go...

Bench 100521 [2)Bench 100621 [2)

The nice thing is it's sort of self supporting so one man can get everything lined up, clamped and verified with a speed square.  Then the legs are screwed with four screws on from the inside, again with the supplied screws.  Not shown is a fifth screw I decided to add just as I was adding the plywood:

Bench 111221 [1)Bench 111221 [3)

Then it was a matter of bolting everything together.  MRB supplied carriage bolts, I decided to use hex bolts and washers instead so I could have a socket wrench on both sides to tighten things together:

Bench 111221 [7)Bench 112721 [3)Bench 112821 [4)

The legs are only on the corner 2'x4' modules.  The whole thing is pretty solid without any additional bracing.



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@Juniatabilt posted:

Rusty--I've been to the Model Railroad Benchwork website a few times and wondered if perhaps you were a customer; thank you for confirming that.  Seems as though you are pleased with MRB's product?

Yes, I am.  He even caught a mistake I made on my order form and called to correct it.

It's really a personal preference as to which benchwork company to go with, I felt MRB suited my needs the best.

***Additional info***  The modules normaly have bolt and wiring holes on all four sides.  I was able to request that the outside perimeter pieces not be drilled out so I could have a more finished look on the outside.


Last edited by Rusty Traque

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