Long Overdue…

Yes I know, this post is long overdue for a couple of reasons. First, I appreciate everyone who has stopped by even though there wasn’t anything new for the last month. It’s not for lack of trying, and I hate to keep using the excuse that life happens ( even though it does ). On my last post I said that I should have something to report on within a week or so, and I truly thought I would, but things didn’t go as planned. So here it is, but life happens.

I could have also titled this post ( and happily so ) ” Benchwork completed “. Yes that’s right I finally finished the base for the helix, which technically means all basic benchwork is in place.

Other than everything that has been going on, I think the biggest hang up for me has been the fact that I had to cut open the wall to the utility room in order to get enough room for the helix to fit. I realized this as I stared at the wall and had a hard time imaging chopping into it. I did finally overcome the reluctance and pushed forward.

When we built the house in ’97 I noticed a trend in higher end homes and decided that I wanted a “wired” home. Unfortunately the builder didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. He was however willing to let me do the work myself after his crew left for the day. So I drilled holes, installed the boxes and pulled cables with the help of the kids. Multiple coax cables for antenna and cable, multiple phone lines, data cable for the LAN and whole house stereo. Even the building inspector kind of looked at me funny, but since it was all low voltage  lines he just shook his head and gave it a pass. What has this got to do with opening up the wall you might ask. Well as it turns out some of this terminated on the wall in the utility room I was about to tear out. So first up was to relocate this to a different wall, and after a couple of days I was ready.

And then it was time. I marked the section of wall that had to come out for the helix to tuck into the utility space. After it was marked and I re-measured to make sure that there would there was enough clearance to get the beast into place, I cut out the sheetrock and wall studs that needed to go. After that I installed blocking between the studs to protect the sheetrock from breaking and to give me a base for that day when I would have to repair the wall.

Wall marked for cutting with the ledger already installed.
Wall marked for cutting with the ledger already installed.
Hole cut in the wall with blocking installed.
Hole cut in the wall with blocking installed.

Before building the helix base I had to disassemble some of the adjoining benchwork. I had mentioned this before as I was moving the berm scene over slightly and had to recut some of the joists for that benchwork before I could complete the helix base. Once done the benchwork for the helix went together rather quickly. I wish I had not put this off as I would be much farther ahead today. Oh  well. Below is a photo of the benchwork with a cardboard template laid in place. Even though I tend to be able to visualize things in 3D that I have drawn out, the size of the thing still took me a little by surprise.

Helix benchwork installed with the helix template in place.
Helix benchwork installed with the helix template in place.

Also, below are a couple of photos of the reworked berm scene. As you can see from the picture looking down the tracks towards the helix the mains are going to have to curve slightly to the left to avoid the helix, but the third track that is the staging/return loop will run right in to place. It’s going to take some creative scenery/building placement to hide the track leaving the main and going under the helix. Again, oh well, no said it all was going to be simple.

The benchwork adjusted and bridge scene set in place.
The benchwork adjusted and bridge scene set in place.
Birds eye view of the bridge scene.
Birds eye view of the bridge scene.
View down the tracks to the bridge scene with the template in place for the diverging route to the return loop.
View down the tracks to the bridge scene with the template in place for the diverging route to the return loop.

You will also note the diverging route that will cut through the backdrop, again something that is going to need a little creativity to hide.

Next up is laying the plywood base for the helix. I plan on covering the whole base with 3/4″ plywood, probably not necessary, but it will make a more secure base. After that will be running the return loop and getting it operational and after that… the helix itself. I hope things will progress more quickly then they have, but I can’t promise anything.  We are quickly running out of summer and there are things that have to be done before the weather turns. I will make a point of not letting some much time elapse between posts though.

Until then, Happy Railroading…

 

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