Since the last time we chatted, I've made some significant headway on some basic scenic elements in the new section. I had started working on the dull stuff, wiring switch machines, mostly, when I decided (with the help of my adult ADD)to switch gears and work on something else.
Since the Casselman Crossing scene on the original layout turned out so well, my thoughts turned to the extension of the river into the new section. With the sweeping curve of the new Connellsville Line on the right, and the lofty, cliff hanging Thomas Sub high above on the left, this area promises to be a good spot for railfanning.
So off to the garage I went, in search of odds and ends to help me get started. First I needed something for the riverbed. I have a ton of plywood, homasote, and masonite out there, but for this purpose I chose a chunk of broken ceiling tile I had scavenged from somewhere. The river will step down in another falls near the new Connellsville line tunnel, so it can drop down to a level lower than that line's right of way. A little further along, and it will drop through some rapids reminiscent of the big hook in the Youghiougheny near Ohiopyle State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania.
This visual will help create a scene that will remind viewers of Ohiopyle, as the Thomas Sub will cross this gorge on a high, gently curving steel bridge at this location.
In addition to the river bed, I obtained a 12" door panel that has been pressed into service as a skyboard, which splits the new peninsula into two distinct scenes. On the left side of the view block is this river gorge. There are virtually no switching opportunities here, and it's designed to be the scenic "signature" of the railroad. On the other side, the peninsula is lousy with switching, with Thomas on the upper level with its sawmill and coal loaders, and just around the corner, Cumberland with its industrial districts. With the addition of the skyboard divider, the railroad is really beginning to take shape in this area.
I've also been steady working on the high bridge, and thanks to the contribution of a couple of Micro Engineering bridges from Daryl Kruse, we're moving right along with that project. I've been casting bridge piers from Plaster of Paris, which will allow me to really begin to get the scenery moving along in this area. All of the wiring under the river is more or less complete, which will also permit me to charge ahead with this phase of the project.
Once the bridge is completed, I can go back to that dull wiring business.