A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

April 7, 2020

Demolition Man - A Catharsis

Nothing like demolition!

After months (years?) of thinking about it,  I started construction on the Aquia Line expansion.  Gosh, did it feel good to be back building a layout!

My original intent was to start building the benchwork in the crew lounge and only cut in the new work when it was ready. That plan would have kept the railroad operational during the rebuild. However,  that changed when I discovered two broken turnouts in the Falmouth area. Those would have required some tricky rebuilding work. That plus the fact that we are in self isolation mode convinced me to change my plan. I decided to pull up the existing track and scenery from the south end of the Clairborne Creek bridge through Falmouth and lay the new track from there.  The new bench work will go quickly.

Mad scribblings - High school math in action
The work began with several hours of geometry as I worked out what I considered the optimum cut plan for the plywood. My intent is to squeeze all the roadbed wedges for the curves and framing pieces from one 3/4 x4 x 8 plywood.  I have two other 1/4 x 4 x 8 plywood sheets for the large flat areas.  But, I want to prefabricate the road bed and track for the parts that go under the stairs and in the closet using 3/4 inch plywood wedges.

The wedges will allow me to build the curved roadbed sections all with straight cuts, thereby minimizing waste.  After a few rounds of calculations and test fits, I concluded that wedges cut from 4 inch wide strips with the short side at 11.12 inches and an angle of 11.25 degrees on each side would be sufficient to support the track.
The wedges will be glued to each other with two Festool dominoes (floating tenon joints)  to allow precise alignment and strength.  I plan to use flex track for the sections in the closet.   The diagram at the left shows where the wedges will be placed.

I used my track saw to rip 3 sections of 4-inch wide 3/4 inch plywood. Then using my chop saw set at 11.25 degrees, and a stop set to the length, I proceeded to make 22 wedges.

With the wedges cut, I started clearing off the Falmouth area.  More of that demo tomorrow as I have to pull the engine terminal and Battery Schaefer.   Still, a good feeling for a stressful time.


  1. Bernie, you never cease to amaze! Will definitely be following this one!

  2. One big reason I keep coming back to your site is to follow your innumerable changes and improvements to the plan. I love that the layout is a working lab. I have always loved Falmouth's arrangement since I first saw it, and am sad to see it go. But its loss brings something better. You are fearless and I think that is so lacking in the hobby. Keep it coming!

  3. Bernie, glad to see you making productive (destructive?) use of the time away from others. I. too am about to launch into a long-awaited track realignment. We can not host (or attend) operating sessions, so this is a great time to dig into these destruction-reconstruction projects we have held off for too long. I look forward to seeing your further progress. --Bill Decker

  4. Would be happy to come over and help ... but you know ... germs ....

    I see Alicia's ancestors have moved from Maryland to the Old Dominion?

  5. Looking Good! Can't wait to see more. Stay safe.

  6. Oh that's great, a good running distance between locations and you get to keep the Couch! BTW what program do you use to create your detailed track plans, they always look very professional.