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BVIII: The Ravine area

Updated 03/01/02

In my mind's eye this area began life as a "scenic breather" on the layout, a place where nothing much was going to be going on scenery-wise.  But as track and scenery work progressed nearer to this point, I started rethinking things.  Instead of just a bridge over a ravine, it will now become a bridge over a ravine that carries trackage for another railroad.  A railroad the BV interchanges with.  Cool, huh?


Here's the Ravine area, just moments after the fascia board had been added.  The town of  LaPointe is about 6 real feet to the right (South) of this shot, and the town of Westcott is about 6 real feet to the left (North). This shot shows where a Warren Truss bridge will cross over the other railroad (most likely the Soo Line), which is at a 90-degree angle to the BV mainline at this point (the Soo Line's tracks will end at the edge of the fascia board).  Also, this shot looks a little weird because the "farm field" photo backdrop I'm experimenting with just sort of... ends.  (July, 2001)
Ravine Here's a wider shot.  The interchange track is located at the far West end of LaPointe.  It's a long curved track that, in theory, descends to the level of the Soo Line and joins with it a mile or two to the East.  (July 2001)
Ravine Instead of a Warren Truss Bridge, I chose a Howe Truss Bridge (inspired by the John Allen photo on the cover of Kalmbach's 1975 Bridges & Buildings for Model Railroads book), and purchased a Campbell kit.  It's a "craftsman-type" kit, which means it comes as a zillion itty-bitty pieces of precut wood.  This is the bridge-to-be, just after I stained all the wood a weathered brown/gray.  (August 2001)
Ravine More of the bridge building in-progress.  Campbell kits are my favorite craftsman kits -- great instructions and excellent templates (like those shown here).  If I'd have worked on it on consecutive evenings, it would have taken about 5 nights to build.  (August 2001)
Ravine After finishing the bridge, I sliced a chunk out of the mainline.  You'll notice the the scenic background has changed -- it now extends farther down, to accommodate the depth of the ravine.  I'm still experimenting here, which is why it's not glued down yet.  (August 2001)
Ravine I installed the bridge, added some abutments to hold it in place, and ran the first train over it.  I decided to name the bridge "The Whitney K. Towers Memorial Bridge" in honor of the late great model railroader.  I got to know Whit when he was editor of the NMRA Bulletin, visited him in L.A. numerous times, and ran his famous Alturas & Lone Pine Railroad.  In honor of him, the first train over my bridge is pulling my two ALP cars.  (August 2001)
Ravine Next step was to add the underlayment.  As I did in the town of LaPointe, I again used extruded foam insulation.  The pink stuff is 2" thick, and the blue stuff is 1.5" thick.  (September 2001)
Ravine After all the insulation had been installed I carved it with a hot wire cutter.  If you look closely at the back end of the cork roadbed of the fake track you'll see part of an automobile rear view mirror standing on its edge.  It's a front-surface-reflecting mirror... perfect for another optical illusion.  When the mirror is installed, the track will appear to continue on beyond the backdrop (just like the one on the road in Froton and the Neener Street in LaPointe).  Can you tell I love this trick?  (September 2001)
Ravine Next step: installing the retaining walls around the track's subroadbed.  The walls would later be painted to match the abutments almost exactly.  Legendary model railroader John Allen used this retaining wall technique a lot... which is appropriate because he and Whit Towers were good friends.  (September 2001)
Ravine This shot shows the relative distance between the Ravine (on the far left) and the town of LaPointe (on the far right).  While I worked on the Ravine scenery, I also added the missing scenery between the two -- seen here as white plaster.  (September 2001)
Ravine I added a layer of Sculptamold over the insulating foam to smooth it out, and painted it with my dark brown "earth" color. (September 2001)
Ravine After adding foam to the ground, several trees, and ballast to the fake track, here's the finished scene of the Whitney K. Towers Memorial Bridge.  (September 2001)
Ravine Here's the scene from a few steps back, and after the fascia was painted black.  Hunt Paints is the building in the foreground on the far right; behind that is The Bicktul Company.  (March 2002)



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