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 20, 2020

Designing Stares Tunnel

First attempt at the tunnel. It has some issues. I will not use it.
I installed rest of the spikes, which were about 1500 total, the electrical feeders, painted the rail and re-stained the ties over the weekend (it's so hard to keep track of weekends now). So now it is time to start some basic terrain around the this area and tunnel. Terrain is needed to prevent cars that come off the track from falling to the floor. Also, some basic terrain and fascia will give the area a more presentable and finished appearance.

The first step in shaping the terrain is to site the tunnel. Then I can fill in the shape of the hill, and the approach cut around it

My original intent was to model the tunnel portal after Millboro Tunnel on the Virginia Central (then C&O-CSX-Buckingham Branch). I visited this tunnel in 2008 and liked its brick design. Unfortunately, my photos of the tunnel disappeared when Webphotos went away. So I worked off some low res images I found on line. But I was not sure about the brick patterns.

I asked the Facebook hive mind for advice and Jonathan Jones suggested that I did not have the brick patterns correct, especially on the pilasters. Turns out he was right.

It never occurred to me to search Facebook, but after Mike Spoor found a contemporary photo of Millboro Tunnel on Facebook, I did a search there too.  And sure enough, a man named Gary Smith had posted drawings of the original tunnel, which was a timber and rock design, and the brick portal that the C&O added in 1892.

So now I see that the brick portal is too modern for my railroad. Since this is a freelanced tunnel, I have some flexibility. But I prefer a tunnel that speaks more to ante-bellum technology styles and building techniques. So I will not use the brick tunnel. At least for my layout. I can offer the corrected version as a custom tunnel for Alkem Scale Models, so not time completely wasted.

I don't like the idea of a timber tunnel that the original Millboro tunnel used.  The RF&P did use substantial stone work on their bridges, so I am leaning more to a design like the Lick Run Tunnel in the drawing before. The elliptical shape of the arch and the stone material suggests ante-bellum RF&P to me. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any photos of the Lick Run Tunnel. It was built in 1872, so a little after the Civil War.

Back to the drawing board. Here is the new tunnel portal design.

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