December 26, 2001
Installing the foundation for the track went pretty fast.  After that, things slowed down considerably.   Before we could begin building the mountains and other landscape features, we needed to lay those sections of track that would be covered up by the mountain landscape.  But, in order to make sure the track sections under the mountains were correctly installed, we needed to lay down the entire track.

This step was slowed even more because the track plans included with the track set that Santa got from the Atlas Model Railroad Company did not match the track plans included in the layout kit.  Somewhere along the line, Atlas decided to change the makeup of the track set but forgot to tell WoodlandScenics.  

Even if the track plans were correct, laying out the track takes a long time because putting the 90 pieces of track together is tedious and time consuming.  The track set consists of the following pieces of track and accessories:

DESCRIPTION

QTY.

DESCRIPTION

QTY.

5" Straight

32

Half 11" Radius

3

2 1/2" Straight

7

19" Radius

5

1 1/4" Straight

12

Bumper

1

5/8" Straight

4

Std. Switch Left Man.

3

9 3/4" Radius

14

Warren Truss Bridge

1

Half 9 3/4" Radius

2

Terminal joiners

1

11" Radius

11

   

Following the the two sets of track plans as best we could, we laid the track directly on the track found- ation.  We actually came to the conclusion that neither set of track plans exactly matched the track pieces that came in the track set.  When we had the track all together, we did a test run with a diesel locomotive, just to make sure the curves were ok.   This was the first time we had run the train on the actual layout and it was hard to get Josh to quit.  I let him run it as long as he wanted because I knew it would be several days before he got to run the train again.

 After a little adjustment to the track here and there and a few successful trips around the layout with the locomotive, we removed those sections of the track that would be inside the mountain.  Before we could lay the track bed, the instructions called for reinforcing that portion of the foam track foundation that would be inside the mountain with the plaster cloth that came in the kit.  This was the first time we had used plaster cloth and it's a neat product.  The plaster cloth comes in a role about 9" wide and several feet long.  It consists of a cheese cloth-like fabric that has a dry plaster material applied to one side.  When you dip the cloth in water the plaster turns to a paste and the cloth becomes very limp.  The cloth becomes so limp, that if you are not careful, you wind up with a matted ball of plaster rather than a sheet.  After you lay the wetted cloth on the foam track foundation, you just smooth the plaster out with you fingers.  After it dries it becomes very rigid and locks the zigzag foam track foundation in place.  In the sprit of team work, I wetted the plaster cloth and laid it on the track foundation and Josh used his fingers to smooth it out.

 After the plaster cloth had dried (about 20 minutes), we laid the track bed.  This is one operation that uses lots of the T pins that come in the kit.  The track bed is made of a soft pliable foam, so it goes around curves fairly easy, but as you can see in the photo, it takes a lot of pins to keep it in place while the foam glue dries.  We didnt' want to take a chance on removing the T pins  until the foam glue was completely dry, so we decided to call it a day.  Tomorrow we will lay the track on these sections of track bed.

December 27, 2001
The glue is completely dry on the track bed, so we pulled the T pins and prepared to lay the track.  The instructions called for gluing the track directly to the foam track bed using the supplied foam glue.  We spread the foam glue on the track bed and re-installed the sections of track, making sure they matched up properly with the remainder of the track.  We checked and double checked all of the sections of track we were gluing to make sure they fit together properly.  Once the this portion of the track is covered by the mountain, making any adjustments would be a real challenge. 

On to the next step -- building the mountain and other landscape features that would turn this pile of white foam into something more resembling a model railroad.

 
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Copyright 2001-2006 by Johnny M. Patterson
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