Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tuesday Tip: Use L-Girder Benchwork

Way back when I first did the benchwork for East Berlin, I'd decided to transition from cork roadbed to just laying the track directly on the plywood. So, on one side of the bridge (south/left) there was cork, and on the other side of the bridge there wasn't. Consequently, in order to keep the bridge level, the plywood on the north/right side was higher than the plywood on the south side.

Now that I'm working in this area again and giving it more attention, I decided - since the "Berlin Main," though cut back, is/was still "main track" - it should be elevated, and the industrial siding ramp down from there to ground level. Of course, that would require lowering the plywood base in the area (right/north of the bridge) in order to allow for the height of the cork roadbed while keeping the track level.

I'm glad I used L-girder benchwork. It really makes it easy to make changes in elevation and well as width. How easy? Well, let's just say that as I was going through old posts to find benchwork links, I found a post where I reworked East Berlin's benchwork already once before! It was so easy, I apparently forgot all about it....

Levels are your friend

ANYway, "all I had to do was"*:

  • Clamp the risers to keep them from moving when I removed the screws attaching them to the girders/joists;
  • Unscrew part of the fascia for access to some of those screws (see photo above);
  • Lower the plywood until track was level from one side of the bridge to the other (long 4' level in photo above, spanning the river) and level front to back (2' level along wall, pointing toward you);
  • Rescrew the risers at the new height and rescrew the fascia back in place.

Then I glued down the new cork roadbed, holding it in place with pushpins (see photo above, click to "embiggen").

All that took only a little over 2 hours - and I made another little bit of progress. I don't even want to think of what would have been involved if I had wanted to try and do this having used something other than L-girder benchwork. There must be other reasons it's such a tried-and-true construction method for model railroads, but my experience (or, rather, "experiences" considering how much I rebuild, apparently) has certainly convinced me it's a great way to go for a larger layout.

* a variation on a favorite phrase of a couple of friends who shall remain nameless, when giving a certain somebody layout advice... as in: "All you have to do is _____"  :^)

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