Wednesday, January 13, 2021

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 5) - Pulling the Trigger

Doing the Deed

Well, I went ahead and did it Monday. Gasps from the peanut gallery.

I went to the home supply stores and bought several sheets of 1" thick 4'x8' XPS expanded polystyrene foam insulation.  I picked up a 1/2" thick 2x4' sheet of MDF to make the lift out door sections from.  I also picked up a 1/4" 4x8 sheet of MDF to rip the edge structural pieces from.  I also considered 1/4" Birch plywood.  It was within $1 of the MDF, but the MDF feels solid enough to hold bolts and not warp or chip.

The six primary sheets of MDF and XPS material to build the Owenyo Branch with stored in my shop.

Most of the scenery will be modeled nearly void of terrain features.  So I am not really planning to build up whole mountain sides of stacked foam.  The contours near the track will be carved or hot-wired cut into the foam.  Little Lake will probably be the only place where I may have some 'stacked' foam scenery.  I need to do a bit more research about that section regarding exactly what terrain features will fit best into my space.

The Plan

View from South of how the Owenyo Branch relates to the major items in my shop space.

These two views break down how the layout will have to weave around the furniture in my shop space.  The Owenyo and Mojave yards will be stacked over my long work bench.

View from North of how the Owenyo Branch relates to the major items in my shop space.

I'm planning to roughly follow the diorama construction scheme of Luke Towan on YouTube.  The foam sheet will be glued inside the frame of 1/4" MDF strips to form the modules (Luke Towan's Modular Benchwork).  I'm planning to modify my layout for wall-mounting compared to his modular support system.  I'll have the MDF extend down at the ends and allow the parts to be pinned and bolted together.  A single plug pair will connect each module as all I need to bridge is DCC power.  No signals or switch wiring will be needed.

Construction Plan Notes:


Current Owenyo Yard plan, minus the secondary tracks and buildings.

The bench work at Owenyo is along a 20'8" wall.  The 'west' end of Owenyo is filled with the Narrow Gauge dump trestle and the main track swinging over to the end wall of my space with a 48"R curve.  I plan to build 96"-odd long panels.  The wye and the switch at the tail will probably be a removable section, so the nominal 11" width will reach about 36" to cover the center area of the wye.  This should result in two long panels and a third corner piece.  The west end door is build with a removable 'bridge' section.

Mojave Staging

Plan for current Mojave Staging Yard.

Like in Owenyo, the Mojave Staging Yard will be built in two sections and a third curved section to the east reaching the 'bridge' section over the bridge.  I'm planning to use Caboose Industries ground throws in the staging yard and will probably be using Code 83 flex track.

Staging Operations in Mojave Staging

The right-hand #7 crossover may be installed as left-hand switches to make the stub closer to the edge to put the removable 'cassette' docking point.  The other place to put it would be at the eastern end of the yard, under the Owenyo wye.  I may decide to put the cassette in both places, allowing me to 0-5-0 cradle the engine from one end of the staging to the other, or down to the workbench.

I've done some rough calculations for the whole layout and specifically what goals in operations I see the staging yard needing to fulfill.

Mojave Storage Yard: 

Track 1 – Main - 25 Cars - 157”
Track 2A – Run-around – 25 Cars - 157”
Track 3 – Storage – 30 Cars - 180”
Track 4 – Storage – 30 Cars - 180”
Track 2B – Stub – 18”

Total Spots – Staging = 110 Cars Max (60 storage + 20 car Owenyo Locals)

Owenyo Yard:

Main Track – 20.5 Cars – 120” Minimum
Siding – 23 Cars - 140”
Transfer Siding – 19 Cars - 115”
Transfer Trestle Dump – 4 Cars - 24”
Transfer Ramp – 1 Car – (60ft spot)
Transfer Stub – 1 Car – (50ft spot)
South Wye Curve – 3 Cars – Water Spur
North Wye Curve – 3 Cars – Oil Spot

Owenyo Spots = 62 on main three tracks, + Spurs

Layout Staging/Operating Car Counts:

170 Cars Max
Staging 110 – 60 storage + 2x25 live run around
Owenyo 60 - ~20 runaround space, ~12 on-spot
Other Stations ~ 6-10 spots

These basic calculations are needed to sort out how much staging I'm figuring I'll need at Mojave Yard.  The normal max length for the local consist will be about 16 cars, plus engine and caboose.  This should result in a train around 20 carlengths, assuming slightly over 6" per car, that means about 10 feet of track for a normal local.  Both Mojave A/D track and Owenyo's sidings can easily handle a 20 car train.

I figure Mojave Yard will need to store a second consist of cars for the local, some stock cars for a livestock special, and a 3rd consist for the passenger excursion.  Therefore I'll need 3 tracks for storage.  Mojave Staging track 2, which forms the regular A/D track will be plenty long enough for the regular local.  The storage tracks 3 & 4 should be able to handle about 30 cars, which will allow for some extra cars to be stored 'deep' in there and allow me to switch out the staging yard to mix up the freight consists.

The Cutting Plan

The layout track sections I'm planning to be a maximum of 96.5" long counting the two 1/4" sheets of MDF which will strengthen the ends of the modules.  I'm planning to leave some extra materials around the edges in some areas if I want to add some more width.

The cutting plan for the 4x8 sheets of foam.  Looks like my 4th sheet might be spare!

I plan to cut up the thicker 2x4ft section of MDF to form the two removable bridge sections for extra strength.  If I also want to make foam layers on the bridges, then I'll be cutting out #4 and #9 from the drawing above.

In Closing

The next steps will be tracking down.. the track. (ouch, bad pun)  Also per my plan to construct the layout to match the mechanical standards of LMRC, I plan to use the frog and point parts from Details West.  Here's the link to the Details West Frog and Switch Parts.

Now that the rough layout of the cutting plan is done, I'll probably start transferring the cut plan to the foam and confirming that my switch layouts and spirals will lay out properly.  I'll be posting more on that as I get to it.

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 2) - Researching and Changing of the Plan

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 3) - Consists and More Bartlett Research

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 4) - Freight Car Roster

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 5) - Pulling the Trigger (Buying the materials for the benchwork)

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 6) - Q&A Continuing Design Tweaks - Working out the logistics for the staging yards other details.

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 7) - Film & Construction Begins - Historic movie film clip of Owenyo Local and starting construction of the layout.

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 8) - Little Lake Grows - More research materials have surfaced for my modeling of Little Lake

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