SBLK Redivivus


November 20, 2012

This is the track plan that Trevor Marshall did up for me back in 2001-2002. I am happy with the concept: It is the same as the old SBLK, i.e. One main town with lots of switching as the focal point of the railway. Operators follow their trains from and to staging.

Trevors' track plan

Picture of Trevor's plan

You can just make out the aisleways. The solid line at the bottom is the wall between the train room and the utility area of the basement. Trevor's plan has located the staging inside the Utiity Room.

I am still not completely committed this plan in all its detail, but it provides a very satisfactory beginning from which I think I can get what I want. More on that later.

Beginning: 120 V. Wiring and a Ceiling

My first step, after having a concept and a track plan was to determine where to locate the 120 volt lighting power for the layout. And to make sure it met building code requirements. (A professional electrician should inspect the work, even if you do it yourself, as I did.) You may be able to make out the wires hanging down from the junction boxes in the photos below.

A cardinal rule of layout building, to my mind, is: Don't consider doing anything else until you have a ceiling that will stop dust falling from the rafters.

The hardest part of starting work on the layout room was to frame around all of the ductwork, plumbing, and other things that are in the basement of a 160+year old house. I finally got most of the framing done and covered with drywall by December, 2006. Then I got a local professional to do the taping and mudding of the drywall. (I did that on our last house and was quite happy to give someone else the aggravation this time round!!)

I also finally got most of the 120 volt wiring roughed in and checked out by a professional electrician at about the same time.

Loris, #2 son, helped me get started on the drop ceiling a day or two after Christmas.

This is where things were at that time.

Pre Ceiling A Pre Ceiling B

Pre Ceiling C Pre Ceiling D

I have carried on by myself since then, cutting T-section hangers , Cross Ts and tiles to fit around the electrical oxes and making sure the boxes are close to flush (horizontally) with the tiles. Filling in all the nooks and crannies neatly in this old basement is a slow, slow process.

February - March 2008: Benchwork

Most of 2007 went by with dilatory work finally finishing the ceiling, priming the walls and putting together 1" X 2" and 1" X 3" L girders. At the end of January, 2008, I painted the floor with concrete floor sealer to cut dust from that source. I did the sealant rather than painting because the plan is to put down runners in the aisle ways, which will make it easier and warmer on the feet than just painted concrete.

The first benchwork went up on February 4, 2008. My original intention was to build the layout in modules so it could be relatively easily removed and perhaps reassembled somewhere else.

But then reality knocked me on the head. First, I am not moving anywhere from this house. And if I do, I will not be in any shape or position to be doing any more model railroading. So this is my final layout. Second, nobody but nobody - in my experience - ever wants someone else's layout, no matter how good it is. And I doubt that any one or organization will be prepared to take the layout over either for their own use or as a memorial to me.

So, rather than modules, I am building it right into the basement. (If someone else buys this house eventually, they will have their own ideas about what they want to do with the basement. Those ideas probably would not involve model trains and would probably involve much rebuilding anyway.

All of the L girder benchwork was completed by the first week of March. March 6 & 7, I spent out in the wood shop, cutting wood stock and putting together over 150 risers. (And that is enough only for the spline sub-roadbed of the main line!)

Below are the beginnings of the basic benchwork phase.

Six feet done - Twelve feet done


April - September 2008: Spline Sub-Roadbed for the Main Line

April was spent ripping 3/8" X 7/8" X 10', 11' & 12'splines and spacers blocks. Also cutting Homasote to width for the roadbed and then recutting to put the angle on the edges. Tree Lane's Drive Shed and half the driveway was covered in homasote dust until mid July!

The spline sub-roadbed for the main line was finished about 11:00 P.M. on September 8.

Work now is continuing on the risers and spline for the passing sidings.

Photos September 9, 2008

View on entering from stairs - East Aisle from South

Left: View on entering from stairs - Right: East aisle seen from South

Reverse curve and engine service area- View to West drom Dispatcher's corner

Left: Central reverse curve & engine service area - Right - View from Dispatcher's corner

West aisle from South - Dispatcher's corner & entrance to staging

Left: West aisle seen from South - Right; Dispatcher's corner and entry to staging seen from West

Hidden Staging Area- Curve in the pressure tank closet

Left: Hidden staging - Right: Hidden curve in the water pressure tank closet.

Looks like just a lot of lumber, doesn't it!!

We sold our property on October 29, 2012.

The pictures below are of the state of the layout on November 19, 2012.

From the stairs:

At the bottom of the Stairs

A step or two further:

And again:

Round the corner: the Kenora lakefront & indutrial area:

The approach to the staging area:

The Kenora Engine Service Facility area:

Kenora Passenger area (right) and West Hawk Lake (left)

West Hawk Lake (right)

Water Pressure Alley

Sandilands & USA interchange

Entry to staging

Staging 1

Staging 2

Staging 3

Staging 4

That's all folks!!

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