Category Archives: Trackwork

Back working on the layout

Back after a summer of visiting various railroad venues, and getting down to finishing trackwork. I am modifying Shinohara code 70 # 8 switches, to work on DCC.

I am using Micro engineering Code 70 flextrack and # 6 switches, but need some # 8s and also some # 4s on the logging branch, which ME does not offer. On the Shinoharas, I am changing to gapped PC board throw rods and  connecting the running rails and closure rails with wire jumpers soldered to the bottom of the rails.

Modified Shinohara #8 code 70 switch

Also cutting gaps in the rail on either side of the frog, filling the gaps with CA glued plastic, formed to fit, and soldering a wire to the frog rails underneath to connect to a Tortoise switch machine contacts as the switch is thrown to guard against shorting.

Switch frog modified

The Yard and Engine service

Another area that I am working on, both for operation reasons and for photography, is the yard and engine service area. Still have some final pieces to add to the concrete coaling tower, as well as definite weathering. This is the first of several structures to be completed for that area as well as track and signaling

Almost completed coaling tower

Also working on Sanding tower, water tower and stanchions, small sheds, as well as the switches and trackwork.


Scouting scenes on layout for photography

As a photographer, I am starting to look at sections of the in progress layout to work up into completed photographs of scenes, looking to do this in different weather scenarios, time of day, etc. I will put up several in the next few posts and then later I’ll recall them and the finished photographs.

View across main line and siding to town


Adding details and lighting to highway underpass

Finishing the highway underpass leading out of town. I added led lighting and safety railings, as I have made the sidewalks higher above the road surface.

strip light and connector

self adhesive LED strip light and connector

Here the railings have been added and some random trash added. (might add more later)

almost ready to install

almost ready to install         

View from road under the bridge showing lights, railing and a poster on the wall

Under the bridge

Under the bridge

Will add a wall surface from sidewalk to the Road before installing the underpass



Removable mountain


Starting to get whole logging area working, and I needed a mountainous area for logging but it should be removable because it would be over several fairly long track tunnel sections. I thought a base of foamcore would work, be light but strong enough with a structural frame above, making it more ridgid.

foamcore, mountain,

Foamcore base of mountain

Thinking about how I would do this, I decided to try the new shaper sheet material, but even though Woodland Scenics says it needs no under support, I wanted to visually rough in the mountain and thought a hot glued cardboard strip web would also give it more strength, since it would be movable. Actually I do not think it will have to be moved all that much because even with a derailment under the tunnel, you can pop up inside the mountain enough to retrieve a car or engine.

Woodland scenics, mountain, shaper sheets, hot glue

Web of cardboard strips to support shaper sheets for mountain

The Shaper Sheet material shown is interesting as it has a very heavy foil backing with a fabric adhered to the foil, that mechanically bonds with applied plaster. Woodland Scenics has a Plaster made for it which I believe is lightweight Hydrocal with a retarder to slow the hardening so there is time to work a soupy mix, and get it into all the crevices.

Woodland Scenics, Shaper sheet, tunnel, Access cover, Scenic express

Shaper sheet showing Heavy foil and bonded material on opposite side

Here is the mountain partially covered with the Shaper Sheet material and matching plaster

Woodland Scenics, Shaper sheet, tunnel, Access cover, Scenic express, plaster, mountain

Mountain partially covered with shaper sheets and shaper sheet plaster

Timber Tunnel and track access panel

Back to the timber tunnel project:

Woodland Scenics Shaper sheet, tunnel, Access cover

Tunnel with cover

Here is the tunnel and the piece of Woodland Scenics Shaper Sheet material. I thought I would try it to produce an removable access panel. The Material is a bendable heavy foil backing with a fabric (the white to the left of the tunnel) bonded to the foil. This is then coated with thinned plaster. Woodland Scenics sell a special plaster for this that has a longer working time, so you can coat the whole sheet before it starts to set up.

Woodland Scenics Shaper sheet, tunnel, Access cover

Removing Access cover

The plaster has not yet been added in these photos, but you can see that it still holds it’s shape pretty well, and will get much stiffer and stronger once the plaster and other scenic material has been applied.

Woodland Scenics Shaper sheet, tunnel, Access cover

Showing Track that is covered

Here you can see the track that the panel will cover, giving access to an area of a long tunnel in case of derailment. Edges of the panel will have bushes, small rock areas etc to hide the edges of the panel. I will enter a post in the near future when I complete this section with scenery, ballast and cliff faces.