In many ways this is one of the most exciting parts of the project, as well as being well outside my modelling comfort zone! The experience of building the single-track branch line on my art-deco Burghley Junction layout has been helpful: I have at least built a gradient on a curve, and a fairly steep one on a fairly sharp curve at that. But here I am building a series of curves with a need for a variety of steepness of gradient, with unknown locomotive performance and unknown clearance requirements, too. I am open to the possibility that I may have to take something apart and start again on at least one section if it does not work, and also that I may have to redesign sections as I go along, but this week at least I have made a start. I have not got far, but I thought readers may like to see the little I have done.
Of course, work is proceeding all the time and since this video was compiled I have laid the first metre or so of track and pushed some rolling stock up the curve, so progress is being made. I hope to get the next video uploaded soon so that you can see this.
Almost all the curve you see here will be under the mountain eventually, but scenic construction cannot begin until this track and the curve above it are both in place, with their overhead rails which take the pantographs when out of sight in tunnels. Removeable scenery will be necessary so that incidents in the tunnels can be deal with, although so far it seems that Bemo wheels on Peco track seem pretty stable and derailments are not a big thing on this layout.
For the track base for the line through the mountains I have used 6mm MDF, about one-third of the thickness of the solid baseboards used for the station and the fiddle yard. This makes it much more flexible for gradients, especially essential on curved gradients. This is supported at intervals by short timber sections of carefully graded heights to give the necessary gradient. The line will continue to climb to and around the other end of that section of the layout and then come back on itself, level, for an intermediate rural station and then climb again in a curved tunnel above the one currently under construction before making its way to the other terminus, to be built above the fiddle yard.
It is hard to guess how long all of this will take; it depends upon how much freedom to travel we have over the coming year or two, and how much I get involved in the model railway club, my local church and other community things. The great thing about this type of layout, though, is that there is a huge variety of things to do, and if I have had enough of carpentry and track laying, there is always detail at Innsdorf station and village, and the trains themselves need work, too. I am so looking forward to seeing a little red train snaking through the mountains, in and out of tunnels and over and under bridges that the impetus to get on with the project is always strong!