08/21/2005 Progress Report
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Work Continues on the Shenandoah Division

Since the 05/16/2005 Progress Report, I've been spending most of my time working on reliability or operational issues which have surfaced during operating sessions hosted since then. Even though most of my efforts on the railroad over the past couple of months don't have visible results to show in a progress report, I have finally decided to repair the scenery on the New Castle peninsula which I salvaged from the previous version of the Shenandoah Division. As a result, I decided to share a few "before" and "after" pictures of the scenery work.

First, a little background about the pictures. The New Castle peninsula was built in six benchwork sections. When I installed the plaster base for the scenery on this peninsula, I worked across the section boundaries as if they didn't exist, but I did make provision to cut through the plaster at the section joints. When we dismantled the old layout in May 2001, we decided to try to move it in only 3 sections in order to reduce the amount of curved track we'd have to repair in the new location. We removed the trees at the section boundaries, and then cut through the plaster with a "Fat Max" drywall saw.

After moving these sections into place for the new layout, they sat on the floor for about a year before we installed them and connected them to the new benchwork: you can read about that in the 11/24/2002 Progress Report. If you look closely at the photographs in that report, you can see the white plaster exposed at the edges of the benchwork sections. I repaired the track and placed this peninsula into service in early 2003, but I had always decided not to repair the scenery just yet as I felt the time I spent doing that would be time away from more important issues related to the operation of the railroad.

I finally decided the time was right to repair the scenery on this peninsula. My goal was to restore the scenery to the way it looked in May 2001 before dismantling this portion of the previous layout. In other words, I haven't worked on any new scenery.

The repair work went a lot more quickly and smoothly than I had anticipated, and now I don't have to be concerned any longer with bare white plaster blinding me and the operating crew. :-)


Photos of Progress as of August 7, 2005

The lower level track in this picture is at the south end of New Castle, while the upper level track is coming out of the "Corkscrew" to head across the Craig Creek Viaduct. This view shows the scenery repair after having applied small strips of Woodland Scenics plaster cloth to the joint between benchwork sections.

Here's the plaster cloth repair between Sandy Ridge and Broad Run Tunnels on the lower level. The south end of Laurel is on the upper level.


This view shows the repair near the south portal of Rich Patch Tunnel and along the "Corkscrew."


The plaster cloth has been repaired at the benchwork section joint at the north end of New Castle and at the north portal of Bald Knob Tunnel.


Photos of Progress as of August 14, 2005

The newly installed plaster cloth has been painted green just south of Sandy Ridge Tunnel, and new trees have been planted at the south end of Laurel.


Another view of the newly planted trees at the south end of Laurel.


Close-up view of the repairs south of Sandy Ridge Tunnel.


Close-up view of the newly installed trees, along with the repaired gravel access road and ground cover, at the south end of New Castle.


Another view of the access road at the south end of New Castle.


Overall view of the trees at the south end of New Castle and in the "Corkscrew" area.


A view of the "Corkscrew" from near the south portal of Rich Patch Tunnel.


Repairs to Craig Creek near the Apple Track at the north portal of McAfee Tunnel in New Castle.


View of the area near the south portal of Rich Patch Tunnel.


North end of New Castle and north portal of Bald Knob Tunnel.


Cherie has completed the painting of the "fascia" at the top of the entrance stairs on the back of the layout. Since she's finished with that work, I was able to install the fascia for the Appalachian Power Co. spurs at Laurel (upper level) and James River spurs at Catawba (lower level). These spurs come through the backdrop to provide additional capacity at both industry locations. The fascia has been primed since this photo was taken, and it will be painted in the near future.


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


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