02/21/2009 Progress Report
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Slingin' Plaster at Hanging Rock, Catawba Tunnel, and Abbott

(NOTE: The 02/21/2009 Progress Report was posted on March 31, 2009. While there have been visible changes made to the railroad, I'm finding 2009 to be every bit as challenging as 2008 in terms of time. So, once again, I'm "behind" on updating the web site. I appreciate all the interest in the Shenandoah Division, but progress reports will continue to be posted only as my time and inclination permits.)

After getting started with scenery again (see the 01/06/2009 Progress Report), I decided to continue working on as much scenery as I could between the January 17 and March 21 operating session. I installed a foam insulation scenery base and additional cardboard webbing in the Hanging Rock, Va. area. When I had that done, Jan and Dave came over on February 5, 2009 to help with "slingin' plaster" in Hanging Rock.

Next, I turned my attention to applying foam insulation and cardboard webbing between the north end of Catawba and Abbott, including forming Catawba Mountain which is pierced by the CSX Shenandoah Division mainline through Catawba Tunnel.

As I was creating the scenery contours here, I began to visualize a few scenes based on various favorite prototype spots. The grade crossing in Abbott with the road heading up the mountain is inspired by Altapass, N.C on the Clinchfield. The highway overpass near the south portal of Catawba Tunnel is inspired by a similar scene on the NS (ex-CR, ex-PRR) at the tunnels in downtown Gallitzin, Pa. The two-level downtown district at the north end of Catawba is inspired by Spruce Pine, N.C. on the Clinchfield.

Once I had completed the scenery contours around the end of the peninsula, Jan came over on February 19, 2009 to help with more "slingin' plaster." Then, I installed some more foam insulation followed by some Woodland Scenics 4% inclines to provide a path for the highway after it crosses a Rix Products overpass I had originally started constructing for an NTRAK module I built about 15 years ago.

Even though the new scenery is still in the rough-in phase, it does begin to help bring the railroad closer to my vision. One thing occurred to me after I installed these two sections of plaster: even though plaster cloth is not very messy, some plaster and water does drip down through the masking tape. As a result, I want to install the basic scenery on the upper level above these areas before continuing with additional scenery work here in order to reduce the mess.

 

Photos of Progress as of February 2, 2009

Overall view of the Hanging Rock area showing masking tape and cardboard web.

 

Cardboard webbing at the Hanging Rock curve.

 

Close up view of the cardboard web and masking tape at Hanging Rock between the curve and the south portal of Hanging Rock Tunnel.

 

Looking northward towards the south portal of Hanging Rock Tunnel. There is a cardboard stiffener attached to the rear of the benchwork in front of the window here. The cardboard web is glued to the stiffener and then masking tape has been applied on top.

 

Looking southward towards Hanging Rock curve. The pink foam insulation will serve as a base for the highway here.

 

Photos of Progress as of February 3, 2009

Here's the south portal of Hanging Rock Tunnel after all the cardboard web and masking tape has been applied. The masking tape serves to give a better idea of the scenery contours and also prevents most of the plaster and water from dripping below. The track, tunnel portal, and retaining wall have been masked off before installing the plaster cloth. The blue masking tape has less adhesive, which means less residue to clean off the track when it is removed.

 

Close up of the masking of the south portal of Hanging Rock Tunnel.

 

Overall view of the Hanging Rock area before applying plaster cloth.

 

Looking southward towards the curve at Hanging Rock.

 

Photos of Progress as of February 16, 2009

Jan and Dave came over on February 5, 2009 for a work session. They helped me with "slingin' plaster" cloth in the Hanging Rock area, such as here at the south portal of Hanging Rock Tunnel.

 

Overall view of the newly installed plaster cloth in the Hanging Rock area.

 

We applied some plaster cloth around the curve, but I hadn't finished the cardboard webbing or masking tape here.

 

North portal of Hanging Rock Tunnel after the plaster cloth has been applied.

 

After applying plaster cloth at Hanging Rock, I next turned my attention to the area between the north end of Catawba and Abbott. At the north end of Catawba, I installed foam insulation to serve as the base for the downtown Catawba commercial district. I also installed cardboard webbing for the Catawba Tunnel area, as well as the back drop ridge.

 

South portal of Catawba Tunnel. A Virginia state highway crosses the tracks on an overpass here. The downtown Catawba area will be in the foreground.

 

North portal of Catawba Tunnel.
 

Overall view of Abbott and the north portal of Catawba Tunnel. The wide cardboard strips will be the future location of a Virginia state highway winding around the mountain between Catawba and Abbott.

 

Close up view of Abbott where the highway will cross the tracks.

 

Another view of the north portal of Catawba Tunnel.

 

Looking southward at Abbott showing the highway grade crossing.

 

Photos of Progress as of February 21, 2009

Jan came over on February 19, 2009 to help with "slingin' plaster." We worked on the area from the north end of Catawba to Abbott. Here's a view of the future downtown commercial district of Catawba where the highway will cross over the Shenandoah Division mainline.

 

Looking northward across the future down Catawba area towards the south portal of Catawba Tunnel. This downtown area will be based on downtown Spruce Pine, N.C. There will eventually be two rows of buildings back-to-back with an "upper" street and "lower" street, just as in Spruce Pine. The Catawba depot will be located on the mainline here as well.

 

In preparation for installing scenery, I built some basswood blocks to protect the slide switch turnout controls. These blocks were then painted with Polly Scale Aged Concrete. The plaster can be installed up to the blocks with only part of the block showing to represent a concrete base.

 

Another view of one of the basswood "concrete" blocks.

 

Another view of the highway crossing near the south portal of Catawba Tunnel. When restaging the railroad for the 3/21/2009 operating session (yes, we're still operating every other month even though I haven't posted a report for a while), I discovered the bridge was too low to clear double stack containers in well cars. I thought I had checked the height before installing the Woodland Scenics 4% inclines here, but I must not have. Prior to the op session, I had to add another partial layer of inclines on both sides of the mainline to raise the bridge to clear double stacks.

 

Overall view looking down the aisle with fresh plaster on both sides. The north portal of Hanging Rock Tunnel is on the left, with Catawba on the right.

 

Abbott and the north portal of Catawba Tunnel after the plaster cloth has been applied. I have used plaster cloth from both Woodland Scenics and Scenic Express.

 

Close-up of the north portal of Catawba Tunnel.

 

Close-up of the plaster cloth at Abbott.

 

This page was last updated on 01/01/11.

 

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