Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Final Branch Line

The time has come for the installation of a final branch line on the Onondaga Cutoff, effectively finishing track installation on the 'visible' part of the layout.  This last piece is representing track from the 'Syracuse, Cazenovia & New York' railroad, circa 1880, that would have been in place when the Onondaga Cutoff was constructed.  The OC, on its grade-separated route, would have built and embankment and passed over the SC&NY right of way.  This provides another switching opportunity for crews at Operating Sessions and also will provide visual interest.

Here we see the fiber paper covering the subroadbed cut away where I will make the jigsaw cuts, allowing the new right-of-way to descend from Onondaga Yard so that it can pass below the main line.  This was a dusty process, of course, and quite a bit of clean-up was needed after I snapped the photo!

After the cuts, I used plywood splices and screws to assemble the extension to the new subroadbed, which passes beneath the main line with minimal room to spare!  This track will have a special order with equipment not permitted if it is over a certain height.  Autoracks and double stacks will NOT fit through the underpass!

This branch will extend to a new lower level  in front of Fayetteville, and allow for another customer for local crews to switch.  Its old, less-than-perfect track will also be a nice contrast to the main line above.  

I am enjoying doing some track-laying again, it is a big departure from scenery work or from mechanical maintenance.  Little by little.  This is a nice way to ring in the spring time, and new beginnings!


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Scenery Development - Layer 1

As we move towards adding scenery at locations around the Onondaga Cutoff, I find myself referring to photos of the areas where the railroad would have been located to get ideas for how things should appear on the layout.  The area around CP277, just east of Fayetteville, NY, is the current focus.  Much of this area has more open space than buildings, and most of the wood lines appear distant with scrub growth or fields closer to the view points, with some swampy waterways nearby.

The railroad, approaching the summit of the hill into Ram's Gulch, would have a rock cut wall to the north, and swampy river to the south, in the foreground.  So, I added the rocks and some basic greenery along the view block, with the full photo backdrop coming soon too.  Here's the view, looking east, with the 'rock' alone:

After that, I added some greenery as a first layer, with more shades and types to come soon.  I find the clump-foliage to be a good backround material, with lighter shades and super tree bushes adding depth and detail once the background is in.  Green and black paint are obviously temporary, ahead of further layers of scenery and detail.  Ballast will come here too, and that will make a huge difference.

Before I get too far along here, I am seriously considering a photo backdrop for this entire scene.  A photo backdrop showing typical Central New York farmland and countryside would do a lot to add depth to this scene, and I don't want to have to work around finished trees to install it.  Work done as shown here is a good start that helps to get the thoughts moving forward!