July 20th, 2009

In the last update, I had torn out the wild "s" curves in the Walker River canyon and with this update I have now calmed them down a bit. Still a little curvey but not as bad. I still have the river coming on and off the layout, but it only goes under the tracks one time. At first I was unhappy about this, but as I did some scenery mock up's, my unhappiness turned into excitement. Now I can't wait to get started on some scenery!

The location of the first bridge over the West Walker River is still in the same place, right next to the turnout to Sonora siding. But the scenery change has the tracks going into a short tunnel on the other side. This achieves the main thing I wanted in the original scenery design; that the tunnel breaks up the view of the entire upper level along the wall. The bonus of this new tunnel is that it makes the main Walker River canyon it's own little "mini scene". Where as before, the tunnel I wanted was going to be located right in the middle of the canyon. So I'm very happy with how this adjustment turned out. =)

So the next item of business was what kind of bridge I wanted to put in over the river. I didn't have much space between the end of the turnout and the beginning of the curve. I put a Kato truss bridge in place and it was just way too long. I thought I could bash it up and shorten it, but seeing as I already have 2 of them just around the corner on the lower level, this option was dropped. Next option was using a Micro Engineering 80' deck girder. But again, I'm using a bunch of them right below this scene for the Owens River Gorge crossing. So I dug into my boxes of scenery stuff and found a Blair Line Timber Trestle I had bought on ebay a while back. My original intention was to use it in it's curved configuration somewhere on the layout. But after checking the dimensions, it seemed to be the perfect bridge to use here.

The way the trestle is constructed looked way too branch line-ish or narrow gauge-ish to me, so I thought I might be able to bash it into a more main line looking one. So it was off to the computer to find pictures of trestles. Figuring that one of my favorite railroads (the Rio Grande) had a bunch of them, I went looking for 'Grande trestles. And before long I had my eye on the one that is just down from the East Portal of Moffat tunnel. It looks pretty darn close to the kit, the main difference is that the kit uses bridge track and this one has a ballasted deck. I figured it wouldn't be too hard to turn this one into a ballasted deck trestle, so I went about doing just that. The prototype picture can be found here. And the kit trestle build can be found here.

After getting the trestle built and put in place, I finished the new subroadbed around it and put in the risers that will make my canyon actually be on a slope. The risers start at the first curve out of staging, and reach a max height of 64" (or 2" higher than upper level base) at the Sonora Curve. 30" down the tracks, they begin the decent down to Bridgeport. Along with the risers, I also put in the wood base for the river areas. Once I figured out where the river will be, I added some fascia. This turned out to be a bit of a challenge. Getting all the contours to flow smoothly took me a few times of cutting and installing. I'm also super happy with the large part of the fascia where the tunnel is. This just happens to be right above the Owens River Gorge bridge, so when all is said and done, there won't be 2 areas competing for your visual attention. Great! After cutting out the fascia, I went back to the scenery boxes and found some tunnel portals and propped them up for some photos. Now I just need to get the track installed so I can run some trains through this new area. Scenery here I come!



The new subroadbed. Still an "s" but not as curvey as before.



Risers installed. Looking up the canyon.



Looking at the Sonora curve. The track reaches the highest point on the layout at the curve.



Highest point on the layout. Main line track height is 64".



After peaking at 64", the track drops back down to 62" at Bridgeport, just out of view to the left.



Here is the new kitbashed trestle temporarily sitting in place.



Another view.



The fascia has been installed! The river will curve around just above the blue clamp and go out of view behind the same hill that the tracks will tunnel through.



Looking up canyon. The two curved pieces of wood are the bases for the river.



North tunnel portal with the river just below.



South tunnel portal, with the tracks crossing the river.



The start of Sonora siding is just to the left of the trestle, with Sonora curve starting where the blue clamp is on the left.



Birds eye view of the Walker River canyon.



One more of the whole area. I can't wait to get some cardboard webbing started on that mountain!



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