While neither a great step forward nor an exciting blog post I started some PEIR inspired On30 track this morning to see how it would look and to start to satisfy a craving to participate in a favourite hobby past time (track building). I’m using the same ballast profile, tie sizes and spacing as noted in both Swinyard’s and Boyd’s reports. I noticed that the Railway used 7′-0″ ties which is twice the gauge of the track (42″ gauge x 2 = 84″) so I used that same proportion for my 30″ model with shorter ties reflecting the narrower gauge. I kept a spacing based on 2300 ties to the mile of track and the ties really are much further apart than I’d instinctively place them (my eyes are still calibrated to N scale and handlaid track I guess); wider-still compared to the spacing I’d adopted earlier when building the Nantucket test module.
Swinyard’s report was critical of the lack of any “real” ballast on the line and I think, for this sample, I’ll follow suit and try and approximate a shale ballast look. Instead of using dirt I think I’m going to pick up some crushed sandstone that I can sieve down to the correct size. Another new thing I’ll try here is to ballast before I spike down my rails. When I was ballasting my Nantucket trackwork I really wanted to have a gap beneath the rail base and the top of the surface but found it difficult to achieve that effect when brushing ballast around finished trackwork. I’m curious to try out this alternate approach. I’ve always liked using the ballast glue to help seal in the spikes so I guess I’ll be dripping some thin CA onto the spikes with this alternate approach.
I’ll get some pictures to post here when there’s something a little more exciting to look at than just stained ties on roadbed.