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The Virginian Build Thread

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  • Member since
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  • From: Lexington, KY
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The Virginian Build Thread
Posted by RogerThat on Thursday, February 16, 2012 10:16 AM

I have noticed from looking at comments posted after all of the Virginian Project videos that many people are in the process of building this layout, myself included.  However, I have not seen any real threads on their progress.  I would like this thread to be used for everyone to document their progress.

 

I am a newbie to the Model Railroad hobby and am starting my first real layout.  I just retired at the end of December so I have plenty of time to devote to it, although I plan to very slowly. I started on the layout last week.  So far I have constructed the benchwork and reworked the track plan using the AnyRail software.  For the benchwork I used Select pine from Home Depot for the exterior frame and legs and used the next grade down for all of the interior cross members.  I used glue and a nail gun to create the legs, but ended up using screws for the table frame, only gluing  the outside corners and the cross members the legs are attached to.  Instead of casters I simply used bolts and t-nuts for the leg levelers.  Here is a picture of it.

 

 

I modified the track plan to simplify Roger's yard to only have 4 tracks instead of six, and will be using flex track instead of sectional track for the curves which will allow for easements.  I am using a combination of Atlas Custom Line and Snap switches along with two Walthers  curved turnouts.  

Here is the track plan

I have placed my order for all of the track and look forward to making further progress once that is received.

For others also working on this layout, please post pictures of your progress.

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Posted by Gwolfe on Saturday, February 18, 2012 9:04 AM
Nice progress so far. I hope you do get lots of feedback and idea exchange. I am building MRs N-scale Salt Lake Route but it was published in 2010 so there aren't many responses to posts on the subject.. Good luck. Glenn
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Posted by RogerThat on Thursday, February 23, 2012 4:56 PM

I received my shipments of track from both M.B. Klein and Walthers.com yesterday, so now the fun begins.  I am now in the process of transferring the track plan to the plywood and I immediately  started making some adjustments.  The first thing I did was to increase the width of the layout by 6 inches to 54 inches.  This will give me room for the easement offsets and still allow for some space between the track and the edge of the table.  I keep looking at MRR plans knowing that David Popp used 22 inch sectional track on a 47 inch wide table (to fit in their elevator) and somehow they still have room on either side. Next I started assembling the #4 Atlas switches that will form my yard and I see that I will need to reverse some of the switch rods like David illustrates in the March issue.  My first question for the good folks here is how much space between tracks do I need to locate the Caboose Industries switch stands?  In cases where there is not enough room, can I use piano wire to remotely locate the switch stand?

As I get further into this project I know I will have lots more questions.  I would still like to get feedback from others who are building this layout. I think it would be interesting to see others progress and to bounce questions off each other, although that might be like the blind leading the blind.

Glenn,  good luck with your Salt Lake Route project.  It looks like an interesting layout.

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Posted by airborne101 on Saturday, February 25, 2012 12:13 PM

Roger,

Good progress so far, and looks good! I am also building the layout, but it will be based on the ex NYC/PC Hi top branch in WVa, that started near Dickinson yard, which is where in NYC days the Virginian interchanged with the NYC. As you can tell, I model NYC and PC.  My switch to the staging yard and the Baxter creek area will become Blue Creek, where the NYC and PC jumped over to the B&O tracks to gain access to their end of branch, so the staging yard will simulate the B&O interchange.

I built my layout with cabinet grade plywood ripped into the lumber I needed, and built the layout with lockable casters. I plan however to use all Walther's and Peco turnouts, Walther's #4's and Peco # 5's so as not to have to chop up and modify the snap switches. All my track is ME code 83 weathered track. My radii and table cuts have been laid out on my tabletop so far, but winter has been playing havoc here with as quick of progress as I'd like. I don't however have my switches laid out on my top, so if you could, please explain the "AnyRail software", what it is, what cost, and if it's easy to use, etc. It would be much appreciated!

My layout will be wired with the NCE powecab system, as MR did, and will use the "puffball" trees and the rubber rocks from Mountains in Minutes as MR also used. I will keep posting further updates as well here. If you have a FaceBook account, I have a closed group for progress and operation of the layout, but I ask that you "friend" me first. Good luck on your project!

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Posted by RogerThat on Sunday, February 26, 2012 9:24 AM

Airborne,

My layout will not model any specific railroad prototype.  I simply liked the Virginian layout. I originally had thought about using the Rosston, Joelberg & Holly RR plans from the Feb. 2011 issue but decided it was a bit much for my first layout. I now have my track plan transferred to the plywood and plan to start cutting for elevation changes either today or tomorrow. 

I haven't thought ahead about how I will do scenery.  I did buy the Walther's New River Mining Company kit back in November when I was still planning on the RJ&H layout.  MRR kit bashed this model for the Virginian and reduced it's size a little bit.  I built mine as is, but I can still make it fit the layout.  I've also been working on a Life-Like General Store kit that I had purchased back in the late 80's  when my son got his first train set.

Speaking of old train sets...  I was running some of the old rolling stock on the code 83 track and switches and noticed some of them didn't like the frogs on the turnouts.  I believe their wheel flanges were too tall.  I was wondering if it was worth trying to replace the trucks/wheel sets and couplers on these old cars.  I also have a U-36B diesel and a Consolidation 2-8-0 steam engine. The diesel runs fine, but the steam engines 2 front wheels keep derailing.  Not sure if it's worth trying to salvage any of these as I also plan on gong the DCC route with the NCE powercab system.

Keep posting, and I hope others join too.

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Posted by airborne101 on Monday, February 27, 2012 11:15 AM

Roger That,

I think I would change out the wheel sets on all the older cars definitely. I use ExactRail and Intermountain wheel sets exclusively, and have no problems.

On the layout, I also have the New River Mining, but haven't started on it as yet, as I wanted to see exactly how it was kit-bashed. I may also do the same, but just in case, it's nice to know it will fit as is. I'm working on a yard office for the yard at the moment, but am getting ready to start on a Bar Mills kit for the general/company store. I will be cutting out my tabletop on Wednesday this week, and placing the risers. Hopefully below is a photo of my frame to date. I didn't place the long cross member connecting both sets of legs as yet, as we'll be crawling around under the layout to do the wiring, so the cross member  will come last...

 

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Posted by superbe on Monday, February 27, 2012 12:25 PM

I've been interested in this thead and I just read where you intended to post a picture.

Here is a summary of how to post pictures just in case it's needed,

...................

Posting Pictures:

First you must create a host such as PHOTOBUCKET www.photobucket.com to upload pictures It is free. After you create your account you merely click on the upload button and then select the picture you want to upload from your computer.

Now you are ready to post that picture to your thread.

There are two ways to insert the picture. The way I like to do it is to click on the direct link box under the picture on photobucket. This automatically copies the link. Then you go to the thread and there is a bar across the top. One of the icons is green and looks like film. Click on this and a window will open with a box to paste the URL that you got from photobucket.

When you click on" insert" the picture will show up on the thread wherever your cursor is placed

I try to have the cursor placed so that I have space above and below the inserted picture.

The second method is in photobucket click on the image link under your picture and paste it in your post.

Using this method you won't see the picture until you post your thread.

It sounds like a big deal but it is actually simple once you get the hang of it.

Hope this helps....... if not let us know

...............................

Looking forward to seeing progress on the layouts

Bob

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Posted by airborne101 on Monday, February 27, 2012 3:23 PM

I incorrectly above mentioned a Bar Mills kit for the general/company store for the project. It instead is a Blair Line kit of their general store, which will sit over by the company houses, which I intend to use only two instead of three. The company houses are from City Classics....

Thanks for the help and advice about posting pics. I didn't realize the intended photo did not appear. Here are several showing the frame and legs with casters...

 

:550:0]

 

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Posted by peahrens on Monday, February 27, 2012 4:30 PM

I adapted the Virginian framing approach to the (different track scheme) 5'9" x 10'8" layout I'm just getting underway and I really like the way the framing has resulted.  I tried a couple of minor revisions, for what it's worth. 

Firstly, I wanted a modified trestle table approach, not wanting a middle crosspiece running lengthwise near the floor as the layout will normally be wheeled back against the wall and I'll be getting under from the front as needed and would like the area more open.  So, I put the long trestle piece at the back (connecting the back legs), which makes a "U" instead of a "H" with the trestle pieces.  

Second, since my table is longer and I was a bit worried about leg wobble & stress when rolling it about, I added the 1x3 45-degree leg stiffeners (at the top of each leg) in both directions (at 90 degrees to each other, of course).  So it has 8 of these leg braces. 

The combination works well, in my opinion, for the bigger table.  In addition, I will add a long 1x4 later for the fascia across the front legs a bit below the top frame horizontal 1x4, which will add a bit of stiffness as it will better complete a "box" of the trestle pieces (granted, a bit high so only partially effective for that purpose). 

I settled on 5/8" B/C plywood with joist spacing typically 15".  Used select lumber only on the outside frame and #2 lumber (most from Home Depot) on the rest, hand picking carefully, of course.  I left one joist out initially until I can see the exact track plan sketched on the plywood, as it may have to locate it slightly one way or another for the turnout machine underneath. 

In the spirit of sharing mistakes, I got the legs built and about 90% installed when I realized the frame was on the garage floor as one would look down on it; therefore, the legs were pointing "up" for real.  Fortunately it was pretty easily corrected as the symmetry allowed flipping everything over.  Kind comments only, please, as I'm sufficiently embarrassed already.  A good lesson in "haste makes waste" (at least time wasted). 

The Virginian articles and videos are a real plus for my project, in combination with some of the usual books on benchwork, trackwork, etc.   

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

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Posted by gabeusmc on Monday, February 27, 2012 4:35 PM

Good luck

I always thought this layout would make a nice Iron ore layout. the small cars would fit the curves. The Coal mines would be Ore and depending on the era , the yard could be samller to make room for a pelletizing plant. Just an Idea. Cool

"Mess with the best, die like the rest" -U.S. Marine Corp

MINRail (Minessota Rail Transportaion Corp.) - "If they got rid of the weeds what would hold the rails down?"

And yes I am 17.

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Posted by airborne101 on Monday, February 27, 2012 6:28 PM

One more shot of frame with leg braces attached for more support....

 

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Posted by RogerThat on Monday, February 27, 2012 7:30 PM

Airborne,  

I just noticed that you located the three middle cross pieces flush with the bottom of the table frame.  This is how it was indicated in the diagram in the February issue.  However, if you look at the other photos of the table you will notice these are flush with the top of the frame.  I almost did the same thing.

Roger

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Posted by RogerThat on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 2:59 PM

I now have my subroadbed completed for the mainline, Roger's yard area, and the mine area. Now I'm messing with the climb up to Green Hill.  I assume that the entire track from Green Hill to the bridge should be at or near 4 inches elevation, otherwise you couldn't park cars on the siding.  Is this a correct assumption?  Also, can anyone answer my question about the Caboose Industries Switch Stands?  If I were to locate a stand between two tracks, how much space would be needed?

Airborne101,

 I never replied to your question about AnyRail.  It is a track layout program that has track libraries for all the major track brands along with a ton of brands I never heard of.  It's easy to use and and there is a freeware version that limits you to having only 50 track pieces in any one plan.  Since I used flex track, which it handles pretty well, I did not exceed that limit on my modified Virginian plan. Just go to www.anyrail.com.

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Posted by airborne101 on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 7:00 PM

Roger,

Yes, I think that would be a fair assumption. It looks like the 3" mark is the other side of the bridge. Can't answer that question though about the Caboose Industries stands. I have the same ones to use, but of course don't have any track down as yet.

Yes, I placed the three middle cross members flush with the bottom of the table, with how it appeared to be in the video where Popp was laying it out on his garage floor, and from the magazine diagram. It was my understanding or misunderstanding that these were recessed to accommodate some risers, especially the longer ones. Tis why I got a bit perturbed in the lack of details forthcoming in both the magazine and videos.

Thanks for the AnyRail info. Will look into it before I do the yard. MY radii and sidings to staging and the cabinet company plus the mine are already laid out.

Finally, on FaceBook, if you're from Kentucky, look for a friend invite from me.....

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Posted by RogerThat on Friday, March 02, 2012 10:10 AM

Started laying cork roadbed yesterday for the mainline.  Here are some pictures.

Please note that the piece of track in above picture has not been laid. I just like to play.

One little trick I learned was to put the bead of caulk on the back side of the cork, spread it to a thin layer with putty knife and then carefully place it on layout, adjust, and pin.  Every thing I had read specified putting bead of caulk on layout.  When I then spread it, it didn't always end up where I wanted it, and sometimes covered up my center line.

 

Airborne101,  I never got your Facebook friend request.  Yes, I am located in Lexington, KY.

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Posted by airborne101 on Friday, March 02, 2012 5:12 PM

Looking good! Do you already have your risers down for the yard area? Just waiting for your reply on the FB question, so invite just sent....

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, March 02, 2012 7:19 PM

 If you're covering up your center line when spreading the caulk you're using too much. Really. A pencil line on the plywood should be visible through the spread layer of caulk. It's not as critical with the roadbed, but when you get to the track - too much caulk will ooze up between the ties and also make it nearly impossible to remove and reuse any track. The caulk I use dries clear, but it comes out white - however when spread thin, it basically looks liek a shiny strip, there's not enough to really see that it's white until it dries. That's truly all it takes to hold roadbed and track in place.

                    --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by RogerThat on Saturday, March 03, 2012 8:46 AM

Airborne,

The risers for the Rogers Yard area and the climb up to the mine area are in place and the plywood subroadbed is firmly secured.  Due to the access to my basement, I cannot get 4 x 8 sheets of plywood down there, so I ended up piecing together smaller sheets.  Also I decided to go 6 inches wider which added more pieces.  All of these pieces had to be spliced wherever track goes over a joint.  When making the cuts in the subroadbed, I decided not to cut out the long section from the bridge up to Green Hill. Instead I am using a separate piece of plywood. I still need to purchase a piece of wood to create Green Hill so I have not finalized the slope from the mine area on up.  For the 1/2 inch risers under the yard I used the 3/4 inch strips of 1/2 inch plywood glued to the table cross members. Under the mine area which is at 1 1/2 inch elevation, I used two 3/4 inch wide strips of 3/4 inch plywood glued together and then glued to the table.  I hope to get out to Home Depot to get that last piece of plywood for Green Hill.  I have finished the cork roadbed for the main line, the parallel line at Rogers, and the line going up to the mine area.

I got your FB friend request and looked at pictures. Looking forward to seeing more.  How long ago did you move from Cincinnati?  We had some wild weather here in Ky. yesterday.  Fortunately here in Lexington we were spared any major damage.

 

Randy,

I am by no means using too much caulk.  It's just that with a putty knife that is wider than half the width of the cork roadbed I found it hard to spread the caulk only where I wanted it. I am using the DAP ALEX white caulk that I already had left over from another project.  Even spread very thin it can still cover a very faint pencil line. I just find it a whole lot easier to spread caulk on the cork instead of the subroadbed.  However, you do need to make sure you put spread it on the back of the cork.  I learned this lesson the hard way.

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Posted by airborne101 on Saturday, March 03, 2012 7:46 PM

Roger,

Sounds good! For my Green Hill area, I purchased a 2x4 handy panel from HD. Also, I moved out here in 1998. have been to Lexington and Louisville many, many times, in fact all over KY. I still have friends over in Northern Kentucky, and my father was from the Russell Springs area if you're familiar with that area. Saw that severe weather on the news all day yesterday, glad there wasn't any damage down your way, or right in Louisville. I have a younger son who lives there, while my oldest lives just north of Cincinnati...

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Posted by peahrens on Saturday, March 03, 2012 8:26 PM

On securing cork roadbed versus securing track to said roadbed, I note they used carpenters glue for the cork roadbed and than caulk for the track-to-roadbed. Any comments on glue (white or carpenters) for the cork-to-pylwood versus caulk for that part? I've seen other references recommending calk for the roadbed.  I'm approaching that stage and can adapt beforehand.

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

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Posted by RogerThat on Sunday, March 04, 2012 10:05 AM

peahrens,

I used the DAP ALEX caulk for attaching my cork to subroadbed.  I did have to move a small section and it came up very easily and clean using a putty knife.  I saw that David Popp used the yellow carpenter's glue, but I would think that would rip up the cork and the plywood if you ever had to move a piece.  The white glue is water soluble and may come undone when  doing your ballasting.  I think latex caulk is the best method.

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Posted by airborne101 on Thursday, March 15, 2012 1:31 PM

Just an update on my layout. Work has stopped for now until the end of the month or first week of April when the rest of my scenic supplies and more importantly switches have arrived. In the meantime, I've been busy working on a "new" fleet of 17 coal hoppers that were purchased at the last local train show. I now have, with a 3 pack of hoppers still at my dealer, 30 hoppers for the layout. Also, with it being train show season, have been attending train shows and swap meets. Work will resume at the end of this month and into April of course. When I have further progress made, I will post again with photos.....

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Posted by gabeusmc on Thursday, March 15, 2012 4:21 PM

can't wait to see what a project layout built by a reader looks like.

"Mess with the best, die like the rest" -U.S. Marine Corp

MINRail (Minessota Rail Transportaion Corp.) - "If they got rid of the weeds what would hold the rails down?"

And yes I am 17.

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Posted by RogerThat on Thursday, March 15, 2012 5:16 PM

Last week I completed laying the mainline, the siding at Rogers Yard, and the spur line up to the mine area. Since then I have been testing the track with a new set of six Walthers Gold Line hoppers and a Bachmann Chessie GP 7 (with DCC) that I picked up at the Cincinnati WGH Tour train show last weekend.  I also picked up some Caboose Industries switch stands that I have started installing.  Today I built the benchwork for the Green Hill area and hope to start laying the cork roadbed for that area.

Will try to post pictures soon..  

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Posted by abbieleibowitz on Thursday, March 15, 2012 10:05 PM

Just a note on the Caboose Industries switch stands. I have 2 inch track centers and have the switch stands between some of the parallel tracks with no problems. I have had to reverse a couple of turnouts and I use piano wire when I do that. I am thinking of using piano wire linkages for all of my turnouts.jig just seems that that approach is more reliable than the Caboose Industries' links.

Lefty

Lefty

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Posted by RogerThat on Friday, March 23, 2012 8:29 AM

I have now completed the track from the mainline up to Green Hill.  I built a temporary bridge using some 1/8" plywood left over from my old R/C model airplane building days and plastic trestle bents from an old train set.  I plan on replacing this bridge with a wooden trestle using plans from Black Bear's web site. The new trestle span will be approximately 140' long and 25' tall and will have 7 bents spaced 18' apart. 

Here are some pictures:

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Posted by airborne101 on Tuesday, April 03, 2012 11:40 AM

Finally a bit of progress on my layout. Tabletop finally brought up and attached to frame, with some corrections made to frame. Risers from "Rogers" (Dickinson) yard around to mine area attached. Next on the agenda: finish risers up to "Green Hill" area (Morris Fork on my layout), cut out and attach handy panel under Morris Fork section, after cutting out and replacing main and run around track from bridge up to handy panel, which was cut too narrow. A few photos below of the progress....

 

 

 

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Posted by airborne101 on Wednesday, April 04, 2012 1:10 PM

A bit more progress you could say today. Temporarily pinned what cork I had down to the tabletop to judge how much more is needed. Then, tested some of the track fit, as you can see, the 22" radius. Below these are shots of some of my hopper fleet....

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by stirling34 on Monday, April 09, 2012 4:09 PM

Airborne: Looking very nice. As you know I am using all foam. My skills are not as good as yours to build with wood. I'm now waiting in my fifth week for two Peco curved turnouts...due this week! Dick

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Posted by Stourbridge Lion on Monday, April 09, 2012 4:24 PM

Dick - Welcome to trains.com! Cowboy

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