|Construction shots:||Benchwork | Scenery | Finished Scenes|
|Layout:||Trackplan & Specs|
Road to MMR | Articles
Durango & Silverton RR Shots |About Me
Construction of the new layout officially began with the building of the first L-girder on March 30, 2000. However, almost a month elapsed between that and the time I finally finished the train room.
|(03/00) I followed the great
advice I'd always read in the hobby magazines: finish the train room
before starting the layout.
So I ran ample electricity, then sheetrocked, taped, mudded and sanded. Finally, I installed a suspended ceiling, based on invaluable advice of Jim Hediger, Senior Editor of Model Railroader magazine.
|(03/00) In the meanwhile I'd built a modeling bench, and was able to use some of the cabinets from our former kitchen for storage.|
|(07/01) As a point of reference, here's the layout plan again. The "return loops" are at the top center and the "center peninsula" is the peninsula in the middle which starts at the right. Almost all of the full room shots are taken from a point beyond the left side of this layout plan.|
|On April 24, 2000, actual construction of the railroad began. I started with the lower return loop, first drawing it out on cardboard. (Yes, that's carpet on the floor. Some friends of ours fortuitously decided to get new living room carpet and donated their old stuff to me.)|
|I then transferred the cardboard template to plywood...|
|and built the benchwork for it. On May 1st I laid the first track. The vertical risers around the loop are supports for the upper loop, which would be added later.|
|(05/00) Benchwork progressed throughout the first weeks of May. The lower and upper return loops are at the left, and the benchwork had progressed beyond the center peninsula to the wall-mounted brackets on the right.|
|(05/00) This shot was taken in mid-May, after the main benchwork had just been completed. At this point only about 25% of the mainline track was laid -- almost all of it laid thus far will be hidden once the layout is scenicked. In this shot the subroadbed for the peninsula in the foreground is still under construction. After getting used to all that open space for 5 months, I was calling it "the railroad that ate the basement." [This is the same view that appears on the main BVrr page as "General overview of the train room.]|
|(05/00) By the end of May, this is how the layout looked. About 50% of the mainline was laid, and I was starting to get a feel for the main town (far right corner) [later to be named "Westcott"] using some of the buildings from my previous layout. [After the backdrop was installed, the town of LaPointe would be located on the left of the foreground loop, and the town of Froton on the right.]|
|By June 10, 2000 I had completed
all of the main benchwork and, more important, the mainline. I
could finally run the trains loop-to-loop!
The arrow shows the location of the Golden Spike.
|(06/00) Renay drives the Golden Spike (actually, it was just painted yellow) at the point where the mainline was completed. That's my scratchbuilt gas/electric doodlebug on the left, facing the then-new Bachmann 2-8-0 on the right.|
Just before I was about to install the backdrops, I started
contemplating the layout height. It was originally designed to be
43" from the floor at the lowest point, and 55" at the
highest. As I built the benchwork I began to think that was too
high, so I changed it to 41" and 53". Later, as I began
running trains and envisioning scenery, I realized that the benchwork
was really too low.
Knowing that there'd never be a better time to change things, on July 2, 2000, I took a 2-ton floor jack and spent the day raising the entire layout a total of 4". I liked the results immediately. Here's the floor jack lifting the center peninsula in the air.
|(07/00) The next step was installing the backdrop. I used 1/8" Masonite nailed to 2x2s along the wall and on the two peninsulas, putting a 24" radius curve in the corners. For the two "teardrop" 360-degree areas, I wrapped the Masonite around a 12" diameter concrete former (here, on the right). [Colfax, the classification yard, would later be located at the left.]|
|(07/00) Now it's
starting to look like something! (This is the same view as above.)
I bought a Wagner paint sprayer, primed all 100-feet of the backdrop, then painted it a sky blue color. After that dried, I mixed 1 part blue paint with 4 parts white paint, and sprayed the lower half of the the backdrops, to create a gentle haze in the sky near the horizon.
|(07/00) This is
the first part of the layout visitors see as they come into the train
room through the doorway in the middle of the picture.
This preliminary backdrop was finished on July 25, the day I consider to be the end of the "heavy construction" phase of the railroad. At this point, all the "must-do's" were done. Now I was free to do scenery, plan sidings, construct the towns... and just run the trains! [This would later become the location of the town of Froton.]
Main BVrr Page | About Me | Benchwork Construction | Scenery Construction
Finished Scenes | Trackplan & Specs | Articles, Photos & Published Stuff
Shots of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RR