Building the Pacific & Eastern:
The Permanent HO Model Railroad
of the
Rogue Valley Model Railroad Club

The Klamath Falls District
2009 Progress
Part 1
Using modules in 2008 for the temporary Klamath Falls yard was a partial success.  While it did allow trains to go all the way "over the hill", it wasn't conducive for operations.  Swapping ends of the trains for their return run to Medford took time and the public wasn't very interested in watching trains come in and just sit.  Furthermore, operating sessions never materialized beyond a couple attempts in September.  This set the stage for the decision in late 2008 to start construction on the Klamath Falls District, the third and final leg of the permanent railroad.  While this will forever relegate the modules to shows away from the Railroad Park, we are committed to maintaining, improving and showing a smaller but better modular layout at the Annual Railroad Show in Medford and events in Klamath Falls and other venues.

Join us as we envision, plan and build  the Klamath Falls district. 
  Click on images below for larger pictures

BCI Layout -- The beginning
Dave S. stands near Keno of the budding Klamath Falls District.  The modules and other "stuff" has been moved aside or out to the shed.  BCI's have been placed approximately where they will go to support the layout. 

The P&E main line will leave the helix just beyond where Dave is standing.  It will follow the right set of BCI's towards the camera.  Pelican Yard will be built about where boards are laid across the BCI's and the main will continue to the bottom of the picture.  The P&E will then turn 180 degrees across Lake Ewauna just as the BN does.  Curve templates in the bottom left rough out the Lake Ewauna crossing and wye onto the Southern Pacific.  Following the left-most BCI, the SP will head (SP) west away from the camera, with a small yard across the lake from Pelican Yard.  There will be a crossover to the BN  just after the P&E joins the SP.  The BN yard will be built between the center and left hand BCI's near the top of this picture. 

Friday, January 9, 2009
Brad and Carlos erect BCI's and legs
The BCI's and legs went together in just one day with an assembly line process.  While other members precut legs and cross braces, Brad and Carlos assembled them into the benchwork.  Care was taken to ensure the legs were plumb and the BCI's were level.  3/8" carriage bolts screwed into T nuts drilled into the ends of the legs allowed for adjustment on our slightly undulating floor. 

Saturday, January 10, 2009
BCI's and leg assembly
At the end of the first day of construction, the benchwork framing was done.  Standing down at the end, Dave admired the work. 

Saturday, January 10, 2009
1 x 4 Joists Progress continued at a rapid pace  with the 1 x 4 joists cut and fastened to the BCI's in a single day. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
BN End, Swing Bridge Mockup
One  of the  features the club  decided on is the ability to return trains from the Klamath Falls District back to the rest of the layout so as to "recycle" them during Sunday open run days.  The idea being to keep trains moving for the public.  A scheme was devised for the BN's Gateway Sub to cross over the aisle and tie in with the Siskiyou Line Staging yard.  A bit of a stretch of the imagination, to be sure, but for our prototype "op sessions"  this feature would not be used.   The curve template in the photo approximates the BN yard's throat with a length of plywood (diagonal) testing the alignment for the bridge across the aisle.   When not in use, the bridge will swing to the right and nestle under the helix and scenery.
Plywood set atop joists
The first week of construction ended as 3/4" plywood was cut and laid over the joists.  We joke that it looked more like an air craft carrier than a model railroad and briefly contemplated borrowing some model planes.  But, alas, we came to our senses and broke out some track and models to get a feel for how the P&E's Pelican Yard will fit.  A 20 car train sits where the P&E main will pass through the yard. 

Friday, January 16, 2009
Lake Ewauna cut out, bridge mockup
The rapid pace slowed some as track layout and major scenic features received consideration.  Dave Spakousky came up with the idea of using photocopies of track switches in order to lay out yard ladders, main line crossovers, etc.  The idea worked and every place you see a white slip of paper in this photo a track switch will be placed.  Having track locations approximated enabled us first to paint and then to cut out Lake Ewauna.  Here we see the track and service areas raised 1 1/2" above the joists with the lake cutout, which rests directly on the 1 x 4's.   In the foreground the sub-roadbed, some of it temporary, supports a string of cars leaving the SP main on the left and about to enter Pelican Yard on the right.  The four black sticks are where the Lake Ewauna bridge will go.   The blue structure on the P&E side is a trial engine house (it proved too small).  Part way down the lake is a mockup of Hwy. 140. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Pelican Yard Lead
In a view from the opposite end, a better look at the west end of Pelican Yard's ladder tracks and how the photocopy switches work. 

In what may seem like a travesty of layout planning conventions, all the trackage on this leg was laid out without working drawings.  We knew what we wanted and approximately where it would go.  Diagrams in books helped since Pelican Yard is located where the BN's White Yard is to this day.  The SP yard was moved west and the BN yard was swung parallel with the SP yard.  It helped that our yards and the areas around them are fairly flat so we could use plywood throughout.  Working with the photocopy switches, a long straightedge, a tape measure and a few sticks of flex track for effect, the yards and mains were laid out, adjusted and tweaked.  Essentially we did our planning in full scale.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Keno Transition
The transition of scenery from the mountain and helix A  near Keno to the relatively flat Klamath yards is a challenge.  We're trying to compress about 10 miles of real life into two feet on our railroad.  The main line, Keno siding and Klamath (continuous run) Loop emerge from under the helix at B but we don't want a tunnel there.  Hence the US 97 overpass D  will hide the tracks as they disappear with a hillside on one side of the highway and a bridge below the other.  A large grain elevator E will help draw attention away from this trick.   The siding and main converge to a single track behind the elevator and continue, with the Loop, as a two track main C through a pair of mills G and on to Pelican Yard.  F is where the painted scenic divider will be and H is the swing bridge on the other side where the BN's Gateway Sub miraculously joins the Siskiyou Line...but only on summer Sundays. 
BN/SP End of the line
The BN/SP side by the helix presented some more challenges.  First of all, this is the end of the modeled portion of the railroads on the Klamath Falls District.  We need to make the SP and BN disappear gracefully yet still allow for certain operations.  The helix A will be de-emphasized in this scene with a hill, cuts and trees.  The BN main B crosses the swing bridge C and goes out on the Gateway Sub (aka Siskiyou Staging).  Meanwhile the SP main D goes through a small cut and grove of trees to disappear under the helix and become a staging track.  D and E represent Texum with E becoming the Modoc Sub or, in our world, the Klamath Loop continuous run track for Sunday public runs.  F is the Hwy. 140 (US 97 on the other side of the divider) overpass , moved south from it's proper location and helping to hide the disappearance of the SP tracks.  G is the divider separating this scene from Keno on the other side. 
Ed and the spaghetti
If there's one thing we learned the hard way building the first two thirds of the Pacific & Eastern  it's that if you don't do the wiring right the first time, you get to do it again...and sometimes yet again.  Fortunately Ed Kleinman has since  joined the club and brought with him a wealth of electronic expertise.  At his urging, we slid the plywood aside and broke out the drills and rolls of wire.   Wiring for DCC buses, DCC sub-buses, occupancy detection, signals, Loconet, 120 VAC and a few spare circuits then consumed our efforts for a couple weeks.  Thinking it through first and doing it right the first time is WELL worth the time and effort.  We've probably cut our wiring time and effort in half by doing it this way over the previous version of laying all the track and then getting under the benchwork to run all the wire. 

Saturday, January 31, 2009
Building the KF District -- Part 2

Construction of the Klamath Falls District continues.

Photos by Larry Tuttle.

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All photos and text © 2009 by the Rogue Valley Model Railroad Club