1 The view of all three backdrop levels below the left 'wing'. Notice how the middle level is fairly dark in the corner.
2 The view of all three backdrop levels below the right 'wing'. Notice how the middle level is fairly dark in the corner.
3 The right side upper level 'wing'.
4 The left side upper level 'wing'.
7 Jan 1 2017 - After I spray painted some white 'haze' and removed the plastic sheets.
8 Jan 2 2017 - I installed LED strip lights for the middle level under the upper level 'wings'. This is the right side wing.
9 And the left side wing. I also added a short light strip for the lower level corner as there had been a dark spot there previously.
10 I am starting the cut and dry place the 3/4" plywood sub-roadbed for the upper level track.
11 There is a passing track on the mainline in the left 'wing'. The radii of the large curve area is 42" (mainline) and 44 1/4" (passing track).
12 There are three #8 turnouts along here (farthest to nearest: passing track return, helper engine pocket (for designated helper climb district), and Cache Valley Branch line turnout.)
13 Jan 5 2017 - I am starting to install WS faom roadbed for the upper level mainline and passing track.
14 The upper return loop is at elevation 82" above the room floor and 52" above the center platform floor.
15 Jan 9 2017 - Construction of the upper level return loop subroadbed is complete.
16 The upper return loop and staging tracks will have exactly the same turnout ladder configuration as the lower level return loop (mainline around the outside and 5 stagiung tracks on the inside).
17 There will be large agricultural facilities and small town (Franklin Idaho) 5" above the upper return loop track.
19 The 'Nightingale Gray' paint is still drying.
21 Jan 10 2017 - Paint is dry and working on the staging track turnout ladder layout.
25 January 13 2017 - Gluing down the outside return loop track (mainline). I use DAP Dynaflex 230 clear to glue the flex track. I tack down turnouts and Atlas rerailer assemblies.
26 Shows the relative height of the return loop from the center platform floor. The center platform floor is 30" above the room floor and the upper return loop is 52" above it (82" absolute elevation).
27 The view of the helix and upper return loop from the lower main aisle.
28 The Walthers #8 curved turnout and entrance tracks for the upper return loop staging track ladders. You can also see the mainline track on the middle level level below (20" rail-to-rail elevation difference - 62" vs 82").
29 Gluing down the first staging track loop. The second staging track has also been soldered and dry placed
30 The second staging track dry placed (not glued yet).
31 Gluing down the second staging track.
35 Jan 14 2017 - The track for the upper return loop and staging tracks is complete. Now I'm going to start working on the mainline track leading from the bridge over the aisle to the return loop. Note the lower return loop on the left of the photo. It is functionally identical to the upper return loop.
36 Working on laying the mainline track out around the left 'wing'. There is also a passing track in this area I will be installing next.
37 Looking from the exit of the bridge over the aisle along the mainline track. the first turnout to the right is probably going to be to service a cattle/hog farm/ranch.
38 You can see the roadbed for the passing track on the left of the mainline.
40 A test/prototype of the upper return loop control/status panel. Once I am happy with the layout and functionality of the three control/status panels (lower return loop, helix, upper return loop) I plan to have nice etched plexiglass panels made.
41 Hinges out for access.
42 Back side of the panel. I still need to install the RR-Cirkut occupancy detection modules and status LEDs.
43 These are the turnout control boards (NCE Switch-8 mk2, Switch-It mk2, button board) that control the 10 staging track ladder turnouts.
44 Control station #3 controls/powers the Helix, Middle level center, upper level, and upper return loop.
45 I still have some wire tidying to complete. There is just barely enough room for me to stand/work in there.
46 Here's the 'hole' in the benchwork I stand in to work on the upper level turnout control components (If I can't reach from the control/status panel access hole).
47 January 29 2017 - I finished installing the upper level mainline track from the bridge over the aisle around to the upper level return loop. I installed track feeders and the 10GA THHN track power bus as well.
48 The short track on the left is for a small steam engine service facility and endpoint of the designated helper district.
49 The bare sub-roadbed on the left will be the 'Cache Valley' branch that heads up to Franklin Idaho (above the upper return loop).
52 I'm starting to add the 2x4 risers that will support the 3/4" plywood and 3/4" foam that will cover about half the upper return loop and provide the base for Franklin, Idaho 6" above the return loop track.
53 The diagonal 1x2 shows how the backdrop partition wall will line up. The upper level return loop on the right will be covered and on the left will be exposed (however it's 82" above the room floor so it won't be readily visible).
54 An offset mount in one of the upper return loop staging track ladders. I ended up having to offset mount 4 of the 11 turnouts that make up the upper return loop/staging tracks.
55 This is how I install Tortoise turnout motors when there is an obstruction underneath that prevents mounting them directly under the turnout points. In ths case (the Walthers #8 curved turnout for the return loop) the LED lights for the middle level forced me to offset the Tortoise mount.
56 The 4ft level shows how much space there will be below the 3/4" plywood base/cover. It looks like trains on the staging tracks should be reasonably visible as they approach the fouling points (Atlas rerailers). I may install an LED strip to the bottom of the 3/4" plywood in this area to improve visibility of the staging tracks, but based on this view it may not be necessary.
59 A view of the space under the plywood for the upper level return loop track.
61 After cutting and placing the second piece.
62 Feb 1 2017 - I cut and placed the first piece of 3/4" plywood that will cover about half of the upper return loop.
63 I have decided that I need to move the diagonal wall panel in about 2 1/2" to provide a smoother backdrop corner. This means I need to make additional cuts on both pieces of plywood.
64 Starting to work on the wall panels that the final upper level backdrops will mount to.
65 Feb 4 2017 - The view of the new wall panels above the upper return loop as you enter the layout room.
66 The new wall panels above the upper return loop. The 5mm door skin panels are noticeably more pink than the panels that have been installed for over a year. I will be painting all these panels the light beige room color eventually.
67 You can see all the risers supporting the plywood base (and wall panels) above the upper return loop.
68 The exposed half of the upper return loopand staging tracks.
69 I finally finished installing the 2ft carpet tiles in the center platform. The center platform floor is about 16ft x 10ft (on one end) x 8ft (on the other end). And the helix/upper return loop Blob projects into the space by about 3 ft.
70 I plan to install 3/4" foam on top of the 3/4" plywood.
71 It's ready for the 1/8" masonite backdrop panels to be installed.
72 The Atlas rerailers mark the 'foul point' clearance locations in the staging tracks. As long as locomotives/trains don't pass the rerailer they will not foul the turnout ladder/mainline.
74 After installing the 1/8" masonite backdrop panels with coved corners.
76 The backdrop is ready for the screws and seams to be spackled/faired/sanded/repeat.
77 Feb 5 2017 - I built the 3/4" plywood subroadbed for the Cache Valley Branch line as it climbs from the mainline elevation at 82" up above the upper return loop at 88" (Franklin, Idaho). It's about a 40 ft run of track at 1.25% grade.
78 The mainline as it passes under the Cache Valley Branchline. The minaline will enter a tunnel right about here.
81 I also installed the Woodland Scenics foam roadbed for the Cache Valley Branchline. Here's where the brnachline splits off the mainline using a Peco Code 83 #8 turnout.
82 The #6 turnout is where a spur that services a coal mine facility will be located.
83 The branchline climbs as it heads out and back in the right 'wing'. The mainline is in the foreground.
86 The view of the branchline passing over the mainline as it heads up and over the upper return loop.
87 The connection for the branchline subroadbed to the plywood base above the upper return loop. There will be 3/4" foam insulation above the 3/4" plywood base.
88 Feb 7 2017 - Starting to patch/fair/sand the masonite backdrop.
89 Feb 8 2017 - First coat of primer.
90 Second coat of primer.
92 All the upper level backdrops have been painted the basic sky blue.
93 "Dancing Blue" sky color.
94 After spraying some white haze/clouds.
95 Feb 9 2017 - I installed the track for the Cache Valley Branchline. It's the track on the right here. The middle track is the mainline and the track on the left is the helper district service track.
96 The track on the left is the Cache Valley Branchline. It starts climbing a 1.25% grade here in order to get above the upper return loop/staging tracks.
97 The branchline uses the right 'wing' to climb up to Franklin, Idaho (above the upper return loop).
98 As the branchline passes over the mainline.
99 Feb 11 2017 - The 1" foam is glued down and seams are caulked. I have also installed a 2" tall 3/16" fascia to hide the edges of the 3/4" plywood and 1" foam.
100 It's ready to install the branchline and spur tracks that service Franklin Idaho.
102 I'm starting to work on installing the 5/8" plywood and 3/4" foam base above the lower return loop where the city of Ogden will be located. Because the city base is about 45" deep the backdrop in this area will be removable.
105 Installing the risers that will support the 5/8" plywood (and foam) city base.
107 I have installed the first 5/8" plywood base piece and now I'm working on fitting the (removable) backdrop 1/4" plywood panel.
108 Not a lot of clearance (5.5") above the lower return loop/staging tracks. But I can access it from inside (underneath) and outside.
109 I plan to build a large "high rise" interpretation of downtown Ogden in this area. The pirates from the Great Salt Lake who founded Ogden were very successful in attracting large multi-national banks and corporations with their programs of low tax and low levels of corporate governance. :)
110 Half of the lower return loop is still accessible by going under the benchwork and coming up in the large openings next to the removable backdrop. I will also be connecting the track coming thru the wall from the model workshop (offsite passeneger service facility, aka 4 tracks of passenger train staging) to the spur that services Ogden.
111 Painting the removable backdrop panel the base "Brilliant Skies" blue before installing it on the layout.
112 Feb 12 2017 - I have mounted the removable backdrop and painted the room wall the base sky color. Unfortunately the double switch wall plate and thermostat will intrude somewhat but there wasn't anywhere else feasible to mount them.
113 I've got the second plywood base section mounted and all the risers and ledger boards mounted for the next two plywood sections.
114 Risers and ledger boards mounted.
115 Two more plywood base sections cut and placed. I need to make some small refinements to one of the plywood sections before mounting them.
116 The city of Ogden will occupy this entire plywood base area (approx 90 sq ft).
117 After cutting and mounting the last two plywood sections I will start working on the backdrop panel that goes between the removable panel and the room wall backdrop.
118 Feb 26 2017 - I'm working on the risers, plywood sub-roadbed and Homasote roadbed for the track that connects the branchline in Ogden through the backdrop to the 'offsite' passenger train facility (staging) in the model workshop. The steel brackets that support the middle level benchwork are in the way relative to the original track plan so I modified the track plan such that the first turnout in the model workshop yard is a right hand turnout and it will come through the hole in the wall on a diagonal allowing the connecting track to follow the right edge (inside) of the lower level staging track loops.
119 March 12 2017 - I have installed the final backdrop panel and I have begun the spackle/fair the screw holes and the edge on the left side where the panel meets the room wall.
120 I have cut/placed the 3/4"foam sheets that will make the 'base' for the city of Ogden.
121 I built a tunnel enclosure and painted it flat black to 'hide' the inside of the layout benchwork behind the backdrop panel. This opening in the backdrop will be shielded (mostly) from view by a fairly large building.
123 March 18 2017 - I have painted the last backdrop panel. The edge between these two panels is more visible than 'ideal' but the panel on the right is removable from the back side and the left panel is positioned at an oblique angle which required a mitered cut. 1/4" luann plywood does not miter cut as well as thicker plywood.
124 I am going to have a 24"X20" removable section of foam that will allow me to stand here when I need access to the middle level above here for construction and maintenance purposes. I was originally thinking about having a permanent piece of 3/4" plywood here but then I realized using a piece of removable 3/4" foam would be a MUCH better idea.
125 The removable section with the 5/8" plywood underneath.
126 The view from behind the backdrop of the lower return loop track and the elevated track that connects the city level track to the 'offsite' passenger staging tracks in the model workshop.
127 The view when standing in the 'removable' foam area on the benchwork.
129 Gluing down the next section of 3/4" foam.
130 Here you can see the 'tunnel box' where the connector track goes through the backdrop on its way into the model workshop. The tunnel box is painted flat black inside and just sits on the 5/8" plywood benchwork on the left end and horizontal screws on the right side so it is removable.
132 The tunnel portal for the double track mainline and entrance to the lower return loop will be located somewhere around here.
134 March 19 2017 - After caulking the seams and painting the foam base. This paint color (Nightingale gray) is mostly to just hide the purple foam but it will also provide some color for underneath the track that will be installed directly onto the foam.
135 The lower return loop and 5 staging tracks.
136 I installed 1.5" tall masonite fascia along sections where I want access to the lower return loop underneath and 12" tall fascia where I can access the double track mainline from underneath the benchwork.
137 The removable foam panel that I can take out if I need to stand on the benchwork to work on the middle level above.
140 I combined two Downtown Deco 36"x2" warehouse flat kits along the wall as a proof of concept. I plan to have about 14-16 ft of narrow depth/flats warehouses/industries along that stretch of wall.The combined warehouse kit is 72" long.
141 There's plenty of space along the wall for more structures.
144 I ran a 12ga track power bus and a bunch of track feeders for all the track in the city. I also connected to the track in the model workshop and I was able to run trains in/out of the model workshop form the main layout room.
145 March 25 2017 - I have finished installing all of the track that will service Ogden (and connect with the staging yard in the model workshop). This area on the right will be a highrise downtown city scene with large buildings up to 40"-44" tall.
147 I mounted additional vertical 2x4s to provide more support for achieving a smooth curve of the 1/8" masonite panels.
148 April 1 2017 - Starting to work on enclosing the helix. First I installed additional wood framing for mounting the 1/8" masonite panels.
149 This is where the helix display/control panel will be mounted.
150 Mounting the first panel.
151 All the 1/8" panels are mounted andnow I'm working getting the screws counter-sunk appropriately in order to patch/fair them.
153 I needed to purchase one additional 1/8" masonite panel which is a different color than the original 25 panels I ordered whern I started the layout construction.
155 First step of patching/fairing the screw holes and seams.
160 April 5 2017 - Finished patching/fairing/sanding the screw holes and seams. Wiped it down with a damp rag and now it's ready to prime.
161 The helix as viewed thru the opening where the helix display/control panel will be located.
162 This is my first design proposal for the display/control panel for the helix. The mainline enters the helix on the bottom right and then splits into two tracks. The outer helix track (upward traffic) has a 40" radius and the inner helix track (downward traffic) has a 37.5" radius. There are 4 1/2 laps to the helix plus lower and upper entrance/exit tracks. Each 'lap' of each track will be an occupancy zone so there are 18 zones in the helix plus 3 zones for each of the entrance/exit tracks for a total of 22 occupancy zones.
163 This is the updated design proposal template for the helix control/display panel.
164 I have removed these (removable) backdrop panels in order to paint their backsides the Gauzy White wall color.
165 I have removed these (removable) backdrop panels in order to paint their backsides the Gauzy White wall color.
166 After painting the enclosure the Sherwin Williams SW6035 'Gauzy White'.
167 After painting the enclosure the Sherwin Williams SW6035 'Gauzy White'.
168 Very white! I can't wait to paint all those pink wall panels.
169 April 7 2017 - Panorama photo from inside the enclosed helix.
170 2 coats of primer. I use two coats of Zinser primer on the masonite because the Masonite is very dark and it has a glossy finish.
171 After 2 coats of primer. All of the 'pink' wall panels will be eventually painted the same color as the room walls and the helix enclosure: Sherwin Williams "Gauzy White" SW6035.
173 I'm starting to patch screw holes and seams in the wall panels around the upper level in preparation for painting them
174 April 9 2017 - I've painted some of the wall panels that drop from the ceiling the room wall color 'Gauzy White'. On the right side here I have attached a strip (pink) on the end cap that I need to caulk and paint.
175 The view while on a 3ft step ladder.
176 I plan to install trim molding along the top of the wall panels at the ceiling joint.
177 I plan to install trim molding along the top of the wall panels at the ceiling joint.
180 I have six sections of track in the lower/middle levels around the center platform where turnouts on the mainline connect with service/spur track that will be mounted directly to the foam base. They require transition sections of roadbed to drop down from the 3/16" Woodland Scenics 'mainline' foam roadbed. I use cork roadbed for these tapered transition sections and they are 24-26" long. I will add caulk at the end of the cork to finish the transition.
181 April 13 2017 - I'm starting to work on the next upper level wall panels. Patching/fairing/sanding and then primer/paint.
184 April 15 2017 - I painted the next (right) section of upper wall panels.
185 It looks much better (finished) looking with the ugly pink panels painted room wall color.
187 April 23 2017 - I painted another section of the upper level wall panels. They are on the left as you enter the room.
188 I also painted the raw cut edge of the plywood base roadbed of the upper return loop and the perimeter 2x4 risers that support the plywood/foam base of Franklin, Idaho above.
189 Eventually I am going to have to decide what color I am going to paint the fascia masonite. It will probably either flat black, dark brown, or dark green.
190 The visible portion of the upper return loop and staging track loops. It's not visible from the floor of the main aisle.
191 June 20 2017 - When I needed to purchase more Foamular rigid insulation sheets for above the upper return loop Home Despot was out of the 3/4" sheets so I bought/used 1" sheets. The 1" sheets are much stiffer and they had some 'bowing' that I could not eliminate when I glued them down. Therefore I had to make 'cuts' though the slight hills in order to flatten them for track laying. You can see the 'cuts' beyond the turnouts.
192 July 1 2017 - Before redesigning and rebuilding the mainline track as it exits the Ogden yard.
193 Theorizing how a #8 right hand and #8 double slip switch might work to provide a turnout leading into the Oregon Short Line.
194 After pulling up the old track and foam road bed.
195 Gluing down the Woodland Scenics foam roadbed using DAP DynaFlex 230.
196 Using caulk to smooth out the rough foam.
197 I used the opportunity of laying another mainline track to flatten out a slight hump in the homasote for the mainline track.
198 Working on laying the new inside mainline track.
199 Installing the 'inside' mainline track.
201 Gluing down the new Oregon Short Line mainline track.
202 Gluing down the new Oregon Short Line mainline track.
203 The new double track mainline as it runs behind what will be the turntable/roundhouse area.
204 July 9 2017 - I finished caulking the edges/seams of the lower and middle level foam and painted them to hide the purple/pink foam insulation color. I also began placing the service spur track in these areas as well. I also painted the bracket that supports the middle level shelf. I need to install/paint the brackets for the other two corners.
207 I finished laying the track and turnouts for Franklin Idaho at the end of the Cache Valley Branch above the mainline upper return loop. I still need to fill in missing ties where flex track joints are.
208 The outskirts of Brigham City will be located on the left.
211 There will be two classification yard arrival departure tracks on the left here (As well steam locomotive server facilities).
212 When I originally designed the layout I wasn't sure whether I was going to model Pocatello to Butte or the Oregon Short Line from Ogden to Cache Junction and the Cache Valley branch line. Since I chose Ogden/OSL/Cache Valley I subsequently redesigned the double track mainline as it leaves the Ogden yard closer to the prototype. This double track mainline represents 'West' of Ogden headed towards Nevada. The OSL turns off on the left side here. The 'right' mainline track is electrically isolated with a 16" stretch of 'dead' track and will be setup as a DCC programming track. The 'left' mainline track is electrically dead to minimize chance of locos running off edge of layout. :)
213 Closeup of the OSL interchane Walthers #8 double slip turnout.
214 I am using Micro Engineering code 70 track and Micro Engineering code 70 #6 turnouts for the service spurs. I still find the Micro Engineering track to be extremely difficult to get smooth flowing curves (compared to the Atlas and Peco flex track).
215 A wider view of the lower and middle levels.
216 A wider view of the lower and middle levels.
217 A wider view of the helix control/status panel.
218 Aug 4 2017 - I used a 12" piano hinge to mount the control/display panel for the helix area and I used a magnetic latch to hold it closed.
219 The view of the helix with the panel door open.
220 It's an amazing model.
221 I plan to locate the Laser 3 Modeling "John Murray & Sons Coal Distribution" craftsman kit in this location. I have installed the spur track that will service this facility.
222 I have shaped/glued/wired all the Micro Engineering code 70 service/spur track around the center platform on the lower and middle levels.
223 It took quite a while to figure out how to shape the Micro Engineering track so it has reasonably smooth/flowing curves. I have also caulked/painted the remaining two shelf support brackets that support the middle levels on the corners of the center platform.
224 There will be numerous businesses/industries supported by the track around the cednter platform on the lower/middle levels.
227 The middle level with the exit from the helix on the left.
230 The outskirts of Brigham City will be along here.