Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Spline Roadbed:

I had never tried spline construction for roadbed so decided to try it on the mountain section. This section is mainly single track with a short section going to double track. 
The web is a good source of ideas. So what did I do and what ideas and experiences can I share?
1. Masonite. 
There are many alternatives but I chose masonite. I used 4mm  thick masonite sheet and cut off 20mm strips with an electric circular saw. This was messy but progressed quickly. Wear goggles, and a mask to keep the dust from the lungs.
2. Risers:
I used the masonite to "draw" the eventual track position and mark where the risers were to go. The risers were clamped and levelled and once they were positioned they were screwed in place. 
3. First spline:
On each of the risers I inserted a nail that was longer once inserted than 20mm, so it rose above the spline. On one end where the spline started off some fixed baseboard I made a brace to attach the splines and inserted a nail to align the splines.
The first length of spline was test fitted to the risers and clamped in place against the nails in the risers. The next spline was laid out flat and covered in PVA white glue. This glue was spread with an old paint brush. Then this length was attached to the first spline and clamped about every 20cm. or so.

Here you can see the number of clamps required.

When finished the roadbed is probably glued to the risers but to be sure there is a stable base I screwed the spline to the risers. Start with a small drill hole slightly smaller than the screw and drill a countersink hole so the head of the screw finishes below the top to the spline roadbed.
You can see in the picture above that I used spline spacers on some areas.

The next stage is to sand the top of the splines ready to attach the cork roadbed. Sanding is difficult. No matter how careful I was to align the splines as I glued and clamped them the top of the spline roadbed is far from even. A plane did not work. Hand sanding was slow and laborious. I used a flat sheet planner but wished I had access to a planner.
Anyway the top was levelled and the cork roadbed attached with white glue as on the rest of the layout. Once dry the cork was sanded and checked for levels across the run of track. When happy i bevelled the cork edges and painted the cork before laying track.
Track was laid on the cork using coloured caulk spread thinly. Prior to caulking I laid out the track and drilled holes for the feeder wires / track connections to the bus. Remember I attach feeder wires to every section of track on the underside so there is no visible connection once installed.
Here are some shots of the first trains testing out the spline section.
 Eventually there will be a deep ravine and a Central Valley truss bridge on this section so I will have to cut of a small section of spline.

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