Thursday, October 15, 2015

Extending the Air Line to "New Haven" - Makin' Centerlines & Easements

My last operating session was January 30th and I started major construction the very next day in anticipation of my first Open House/Layout Tour in August. While I accomplished a major goal of installing the Shore Line and Old Saybrook, the rest of the layout has been, for all intents and purposes, un-operable. During the open house, folks got to run some trains to test out the Shore Line, and Bill operated the Valley Local back & forth (but he couldn't get to Hartford through the "sky"), but a major goal since the open house has been to get back to at least as much operating capacity as I had in January. To that end, I fixed the backdrop issue in Wethersfield and now it's time to re-extend the track "south" from Somerset on the Air Line.

Off the left of the "Somerset" module, there had been a long dead-end track representing the mainline to New Haven/New Haven staging which also acted as a switching lead for the south/west/left end. When I started the benchwork for the "west end" of the Shoreline loop, I needed to get this track out of the way. Here's how I put it back in - and much better-er....

First step was to get an idea of where I wanted the track to go. You can see the hole through the left-end module backdrop where the track had punched through before. My first tracing was to just extend the tangent off that track to see where it'd end up. BTW, that's kraft paper on top of masonite.

This is the view looking the other way, with the 2' level showing where the track would go. At this point I was just going to terminate the track in the corner there, much like it had been before.

My handy-dandy "easement tool" - just a narrow strip of masonite - clamped onto the tangent line and curved naturally toward the corner. Makes for a beautiful and very realistic "easemented" curve.

View looking the other way.

Detail of how I got the masonite to stay in place on the tangent while I traced the line. I clamped wood as long as the tangent on either side of the strip and held it in place with a weight (drill).
After considering terminating the track in the corner, I discovered I could get even MORE length if I could curve the track at the corner and extend it through the wall and across the doorway on a drop-down. Not only would that give me more of a "run" (even if only a few feet), more importantly it would insure that the Air Line Local would be totally hidden ("in New Haven") at the start of the session.

Here's the wall once I punched through, a plywood curve template, and the "easement tool" ready to be placed. You can probably tell that I long-ago got over my phobia of cutting through walls. A drywall saw makes this quick work.

Back to the beginning: supporting the subroadbed at the module end. That piece of plywood on top of the riser is my "subroadbed template" to insure I secured the riser at the correct height.

Once the first riser is in, it's a (fairly) simple matter of mocking up the rest of the risers using clamps and levels.

Once the risers were clamped at the correct height, it was time to do the actual centerline tracing on the subroadbed. Here I've clamped my easement tool to the tangent line and started tracing.

Overall view of the easement tool clamped to the subroadbed and to the minimum (24") radius curve template which goes through the wall.

Detail of how I clamped the masonite at the other end.
I wanted to save the 24" radius plywood I was using as a template, so I clamped the masonite to it only to 1) confirm that a 24" radius curve would work here, and 2) to insure that the rest of the reverse/S curve would fall correctly. Note I still have about 6" to go before I get to the door opening. I'll be sure to add that to the final subroadbed I cut out and use here.

The next step is to cut out the subroadbed according to the centerlines. Stay tuned!

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