Benchwork Update

Just a quick note to say that progress is finally being made again.

Last Thursday, I ripped two more sheets of 3/4″ plywood to replenish my dwindling supply of plywood dimensional lumber.  It’s really remarkable how quickly building benchwork grid goes through a supply of the stuff.

This weekend, I’ve spent significant type tackling building the benchwork itself.  The result is that the grid is now complete from Kennecott through Strelna on the upper deck, and Cordova through mid-Alaganik (where it turns the corner) on the lower deck.

One of the things of note is the large gap for the Kuskulana River bridge.  My layout includes four of the railroad’s most notable big bridges – Miles Glacier, Chitina (third crossing of the Copper), Kuskulana, and Gilahina.  Three of the four are selectively compressed, but the Kuskulana crossing will be done to scale.   That means 238 scale feet of depth from railhead to water, or about 18 inches.  Fortunately, the deep vertical part of the canyon is only about 170′ across at the water line, and about 190-200′ at the rim.   The larger bowl sort of depression of the valley is about about 775′ across, or just under 5 real feet in N scale.  The CRNW spanned the gap using 2x 150′ deck trusses (one on each side) and a 225′ deck truss over the main canyon.  Then there was another 250′ of trestlework to connect the steel bridges with the grade.

Here’s a couple pictures from when I visited back in 2009 that illustrate the main chasm and the bowl-shaped valley it cuts through:

And finally, here’s the piece of benchwork that will eventually support the model canyon – yes, it seriously impinges upon the bottom deck, but it’s the only place I do this, and it’s to make a significant visual element that everyone familiar with the line will recognize.

That’s all for now, folks.  Hopefully I’ll have the gridwork done in a couple more weeks and be on to sub-roadbed.  After that, we’re on to track!

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