January 20, 2013

First Run on the Road Show

Fueled by another of Gerry's chocolate cakes and a great dinner by Alicia,  Chief Vivandière, the USMRR work crews made a lot of progress today. Gerry arrived early and after a brief discussion proceeded to widen the gap over Muddy Creek by removing some of the embankment fill.

This made the scene work better with the planned Howe truss bridge. During the ACW railroad engineers would opt for trestle work or longer wooden bridges instead of earthen fill embankments. Moving earth was expensive in this era. Wooden structures were cheaper. The through truss represents a pre-fab bridge installed by the USMRR after the original was burned.

Bridge mock up over the widened Muddy Creek

Gluing in the first ties
When that was complete, we proceeded to glue the ties in for the track. We started with the right hand turnout at the start of the passing siding. That is the most important siding as the mainline begins a curve as it exits that siding. Using some pre-cut turnout templates and rough ties, all cut on the laser, the tie installation went smoothly and quickly. We had all the ties except for the turntable lead installed before dinner.

View down the track

After a delicious chicken dinner we sanded the ties and Gerry stained them while I started the artwork for the laser cutting of the Howe bridge truss. With all the ties stained, we quickly spiked in some rail and ran the first train on the road show.

I was hoping to have trains running by Christmas, so we are about 25 days late. But progress is now going rapidly and we should be ready for the summer NMRA show in Atlanta. 

Using laser cut jigs to hold the rail while spiking

The first cut of the Howe truss was helpful to check the design even though it ended up being about a half inch too squat. I need to redraw it with an additional half inch added between the chords to allow clearance for the locomotives in the through truss.


  1. Dang, I was there last Saturday, and I didn't see Dan's book in the bookstore! Is it that new that it wasn't out yet? Shame I wasn't there when you gave those to Dan.I'd like to meet such a talented modeler as yourself!

  2. Hi Bernie, what white material is used in the first picture?

    1. DAP Fast and Final Lightweight Spackle. It works well with foam scenery.