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,
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
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
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
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!