Wednesday, March 24, 2021

SP Jawbone Branch (Part 18) - Owenyo Wye Construction & ME Track Arrives!

Continuing my layout construction blog posts from Part 16 and Part 17, I'm working on the Owenyo Wye support structure and the start of the wye tail.

The new Owenyo Wye "Keel" mocked-up in place.

Also a quick update: The Supply Train arrived with the order of ME flex track and other bits to start track laying!

The Wye "Keel"

A carpenter friend of mine gave me a great piece of oak flooring, which is hardwood, to make the spar or "keel" of the removable Owenyo wye from.  It has tongue and groove from its original planned use as a strip of flooring.  I ripped off the tongue with my table saw to get a good square edge, which will become the top surface of the keel.  This will mate against the underside of the Owenyo #1 module's 1/4" MDF top skin.

Tongue & Groove of the oak flooring piece.

Notched to fit the rear frame of Owenyo #1 module.

I notched the end of the keel, which will go into the pocket I cut in the bulked up area of the Owenyo #1 rear frame rail to only 1.75" high with my Razor Saw (modeling hand saw).  The fit is rather tight, so I used a mill file to chamfer the edges of the keel and slightly narrow it below 3/4" thick.

Mocked-up with a clamp holding the "Keel" in place under the top-skin of Owenyo #1 module.

One of my small clamps at the front edge of the Owenyo #1 module holds the front of the keel, while the rear point is secure in the pocket.  The balance point of the wye tail will be out away from the Owenyo #1 section. 

An underside view of the "Keel" fitted into the hole in the heavy sister block of the rear frame.

The Keel will be fully cantilevered, and will be actually pushing UP on the rear part of the #1 module's top skin!  At the front frame rail, I'll be making a heavier plate to connect the rail around where the keel penetrates the structure.  

Installing Front Plate & Prep for Wye Keel

1/2" MDF sheet marked to cut the front plat

The mating plates for the wye module are made from 1/2" MDF, 20" long, 3" high.  I cut a notch 2-1/16" high, 3/4" wide for the Keel to slide through. 

Front Plate and Wye Joint Plate notched for the "Keel", notice the angled end of this plate to fit the heavy diagonal braces.

The ends of the front plate for Owenyo #1 is chamfered to match the two heavy diagonal braces I installed in Part 16.  The mating, Wye-side of the joint, is also cut at the same time, which should allow them both to fit very closely together.

Front Plate of 1/2" MDF clamped and gluing with Gorilla Glue.

At the front edge of the wye, 23" from the rear of the module, the new front mating plate with the rest of the wye section.  This plate is notched for the oak keel to slide through, the bottom of the notch becomes the pivot point for the keel, pressing down here and up inside the wye at the rear frame.

The new Owenyo Wye "Keel" mocked-up in place.

I'm testing if an engine is too much weight on the wye tail for the structure of Owenyo #1 to hold down in balance across the front frame rail and 2x2 risers.  I may need to add a screw or catch to keep the Owenyo module from twisting as weight is applied to the end of the wye.  I can also to some extent put a diagonal brace from the wall bracket up to support the front edge of the Owenyo module from sagging.  However, supporting the front edge will not prevent the rear edge from being lifted off the wall bracket there.

Blocks & Bracing

The western bracing blocks are roughed-in to support the heavy diagonals and form the basic truss to suit.

As I work out the rest of the center supports for the Wye Keel, I'll be adding additional plates and blocks in that area.  The areas west and east of the center section still need the diagonal trussing which I've been installing on the "simple" modules before this.  On Owenyo #1 module, I'm wanting to get a firm grasp of what the unique structure will need, so I don't put one of the simple truss pieces in the way!

The eastern end of Owenyo #1 with blocks roughly placed.

Another view of the center area with the riser support which rests on the wall bracket.

I am planning to put a large trapezoidal plate (10x10, narrowing to centered 2" at the rear frame against the top skin) and another heavier plywood 3/4" plate to join the front frame rail and support the Keel.  This front frame under-support will need to be notched to fit the 2x2 riser.  I plan to have the riser fit into a hole in the under-support, so I have that riser over with the Owenyo #1 module to remind me of this plan.

The Wye Tail Construction Contemplation

Here's the rough fit test of the Keel and the wye's mating plate.

While I've test fitted the two main structural parts for the wye, I don't want to permanently glue them together yet, as I still need to do some modifications to the Keel for the additional 1/4" MDF sister under the center area of the wye.

The Supply Train Arrives!

Pile of Code 55 flex track, a bundle of Code 55 Rail, and a single pack of HOn3 Code 40 for the scenic NG along the backdrop.

The ME track order just arrived today. Hopefully the DTW switch parts will be arriving soon, which will allow me to start construction above the top skin sheets.

Additional ME materials: Rail Joiners (Code 55 & 40) plus two bags of spikes.

I decided to get extra ME spikes.  I have some remaining from my old bag from years at LMRC, but rather have plenty.  I needed to get smaller rail joiners.  My LMRC stock was only Code 70 for what I've been working on at the club.

2x2 corner block material

I also went out this week to pick up a couple more 2x2s to make more corner support blocks for the diagonal truss installations, which should be upcoming.  These will be cut into smaller pieces to anchor the diagonal truss and make risers from.

In Closing

Just for fun Mojave Staging with some 36" long sections of Code 55 ME flex track roughly placed.  Yes, I'll straighten them before fixing in place!

So, with the arrival of the ME flex track, I can start laying the staging yard tracks in Mojave.  Before I can really fix the flex track down, I'll need to do all the alignment and bolting holes in the modules to keep them in proper position.  Also, I'll be start with the switch ties, followed by flex track in Owenyo soon.  Having an engine running may happen soon!  All of which will be covered in upcoming blogs soon!

Jason Hill

Related Articles:

SP "Jawbone" Branch Index Page - Links to all my blog posts on my new Jawbone Branch layout.


  1. Nice work great to see the progress.


  2. Nice work, following. The ME track is indeed very sturdy.... you can modify that by cutting regular between the ties on the underside. The lesser the ties are connected the flexier the track will become. Succes!!

    1. Yes, Thanks for the input!

      I'll also be cutting the tie strips on some of the sidings as well to respace the ties for secondary tracks. As of taking that last photo, I only straightened two sections. The rest still had the small bends from being packaged. It only takes a couple of minutes to adjust the track to the alignments that I want. So I'll be covering this in the future posts when I get into track laying.


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