01/06/2003 Progress Report
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When I was first preparing to post this progress report, I didn't think that a lot of progress had been made since the 11/24/2002 Progress Report as a result of work and family commitments. However, as you'll see, I'm pleased with the amount of progress that has been made--a lot of what's been done recently is laying the ground work for the completion of the mainline on the lower level. We have even managed to add to the list of mileposts being accomplished.

On the original version of the Shenandoah Division layout, I used a design technique from the software industry called "iterative design." Basically, this means that I got the overall design of the layout to an acceptable point for ensuring that it would meet my goals without working out all of the final details. I have also used this technique on the new layout as well. I don't expect to completely redesign the layout, but I did work on refining the design the Catawba area in 3rd PlanIt over the course of 11/25-11/29/2002. I needed to complete the design of Catawba so that I could print the full-size templates and beginning cutting subroadbed for that area in preparation for upcoming work session. There is an article describing the design changes to Catawba in the Layout Design Refinements area of the web site.

On December 1, I cut 24 risers and 4 large pieces of plywood subroadbed for Catawba. I also cut the creek bed at the north end of Catawba alongside the yard, and I cut 1 splice plate for use in this area.

Over the course of December 1-3, 2002, I laid more track on the railroad. I completed the Mason Creek Lead at the north end of the North Salem yard. I also added a new milepost as I laid the first flextrack on the Covington Subdivision mainline north of MC Cabin. The mainline is currently completed to Hanging Rock, Va.

In preparation for cutting subroadbed, I trimmed and assembled about 90 templates for the lower level on Catawba/Abbott peninsula. I taped together these templates into groups for the Catawba/Abbott peninsula so that I could cut sections of subroadbed in a reasonably accurate manner.

On December 8, I drilled holes and placed 10 pairs of feeders in the Roanoke Junction-SX Cabin area.

On December 9, I cut 4 1x3 splice boards for the Catawba area. I also cut and glued the "prototype" mounting block for the sub-mini slide switches to be used for manual turnout control. I then worked on assembling the "prototype" for manual turnout control on December 10, but the first design will require some refinements that I've discussed with Larry.

On December 12, Rich, Jan, and Scott came over for a work session. We secured the remaining half of the Catawba peninsula supports to the floor. We screwed the fascia supports onto both sides of the Catawba peninsula on both levels. We also secured the fascia supports for Catawba and High Meadow across the end aisle.

On December 15, I laid 1 piece of code 55 flex track for the NS CR&E mainline to go through the backdrop between Roanoke Junction and Roanoke. I also soldered 5 pairs of feeders and 3 pairs of rail joiners in the Roanoke Jct. area.

I have decided to use metal wheels on my rolling stock, and I finally got an order of the Atlas metal wheelsets for Micro-Trains trucks, so I converted 5 cars to these wheelsets on December 21. These wheels seem to roll really well.

Using the "iterative design" technique again, I spent time working on refining the design of the town of Covington, Va. in 3rd PlanIt over the course of the early part of my winter holiday from work. I have completed the refinement of the mainline and yard design, but I still need to complete the layout of the industries.

On December 26, I laid 3 Peco code 80 turnouts and 1 piece code 80 flex (in 3 sections) to complete the yard throat at Wadesboro, adding yet another milepost to the list of accomplishments.

December 29 was a productive day on the railroad. I cut the templates and 3 pieces of subroadbed from the north end of Catawba Creek Viaduct to the solid sheets of subroadbed near the south end of Catawba, in the Alleghany Building Supply area if you're following along on the lower-level layout design. I also soldered 5 pairs of feeders between Roanoke Jct. and SX Cabin at North Salem. I laid 1 piece of code 80 flex track in Wadesboro (a staging track). I laid out and cut templates from the north end of Catawba around the turnback curve (in Catawba Tunnel) at the end of the peninsula. I also started to determine the template/subroadbed cuts for Abbott.

I also got quite a bit done on December 30. I cut 2 18 1/8" x 48" pieces of subroadbed for the Connellsville/Winchester staging yard. I cut 4 1x3x14 3/4" "outrigger" joists for the end of the Catawba peninsula. I cut 2 double track and 19 single track splice plates from scrap plywood. I cut 5 sections of subroadbed from the north end of Catawba to the north portal of Chimney Rock Tunnel in Abbott. I disassembled part of the old layout staging loop benchwork to get some more 1x3s. I installed the 1x3 "outrigger" joists at the end of the Catawba/Shenandoah Jct. peninsula. I laid 3 pieces of code 80 flex on 3 separate staging tracks in Wadesboro--all tracks at Wadesboro now have at least some track installed!

On December 31, I cut the templates for the Abbott area subroadbed. I also cut 7 pieces of subroadbed from the north end of Catawba Tunnel to the north end of Chimney Rock Tunnel. I then glued the templates to the subroadbed from the north end of the Catawba Creek Viaduct to the north end of Chimney Rock Tunnel (except for the solid plywood subroadbed sheets in Catawba). I screwed together with splice plates the subroadbed for the Catawba Tunnel curve.

On January 2, 2003, Rich and Chuck came over for a work session. Chuck and I discussed alternatives for anchoring the New Castle peninsula so that we can achieve that item at the next scheduled work session. Rich and I then installed 16 risers, the 8 associated cross-supports for those risers, and 3 sheets of plywood subroadbed at Catawba in the Valley Feed and Alleghany Building Supply area.

On January 3, I cut and assembed the templates for the subroadbed from the north portal of Chimney Rock Tunnel to the south portal of Broad Run Tunnel in preparation for cutting that subroadbed.

On January 5, I cut the subroadbed from the north portal of Chimney Rock Tunnel to the south portal of Broad Run Tunnel. I then installed 8 risers and cross-supports at the north end of Catawba. I installed the last 2 large sheets of plywood subroadbed at the north end of Catawba. I installed the 2 pieces of plywood to be the creek bed at Catawba, and I glued the templates to the subroadbed at Catawba.

Looking back at that list, we have indeed accomplished a lot on the layout recently, and I'm looking forward to getting the mainline completed on the new sections of the railroad to New Castle fairly soon!

Progress as of January 6, 2003

The mainline is completed to the Hanging Rock, Va. area in front of the window on the left side of the picture.


Looking north from MC Cabin (switch in the foreground) to Hanging Rock, Va. in the background.


Overall view of the new Catawba/Abbott peninsula. Abbott is on the side of the peninsula closest to the photographer.


End of the new peninsula with subroadbed for Catawba Tunnel temporarily laid in place.


Looking back towards the north portal of Catawba Tunnel at Abbott.


View of benchwork connecting the New Castle (left) and Abbott/Catawba peninsulas. Broad Run (creek) will be on the lower level in the center of this benchwork.


Overall view of the Abbott area with subroadbed temporarily laid in place.


Looking south from the south portal of Catawba Tunnel towards the town of Catawba in the distance. Again, all subroadbed is temporarily laid in place.


Overall view of the south end of Catawba, looking northward from the Catawba Creek viaduct area with subroadbed temporarily placed.


Overall view of Catawba showing subroadbed installed. The recessed plywood is for a creek bed at Catawba.


Close-up of the north end of Catawba. The tracks curving off to the left are for the James River Co. paper mill. The dark track in the middle is the mainline, while the track to the right of it is the passing siding, and the track to the left of the main is the James River Lead. The two tracks between the passing siding and creek are the Catawba yard. The plywood on the right is for the creek bed.


Another close-up of Catawba. The spur in the background is Valley Feed, and the spur in the foreground is for Catawba Propane.


South end of Catawba. The Alleghany Building Supply spur is in the foreground.


Here's a view of Catawba looking northward with the James River Co. spurs on the right.

Overall view of the Wadesboro staging yard showing the latest progress. The 3 turnouts in the foreground and the four tracks closest to the aisle are newly installed.


This page was last updated on 01/01/11.


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