Jim’s been in touch with a fine example of how important it is to get the HO scale tunnel clearance right.
It’s also wholesome reading as you’ll see.
If you missed his first post and want to get up to speed, it’s here:
And all of my fellow model railroaders, this is Jim from across the big pond in Buffalo NY, USA.
It has been a long time since I posted anything to the forum so here we go.
It has been a hard year for me and my son, with health issues that I have and my son who is in recovery. He has been clean of any issues now for over a year and I am very proud of him. Since I have not been able to work on the layout for so long, I was anxious to get back to it.
For starters, the mountain had to be rebuilt. All of the engines, steam and diesel kept hitting the rear wall of the mountains tunnel and either stalling there or derailing. So a real issue with HO scale tunnel clearance.
The upper section of the mountain track also had to be repaired. So I removed 90% of the mountain to rebuild it to eliminate the issues. The only section of the mountain that was not touched was the front face of the mountain. A picture of the front of the mountain is below.
The structure of the mountain was very flimsy, so that is another reason for the rebuild. Now in the picture of the webbing below, illustrates not a very good job, however it is very sturdy, and when I say sturdy, our cat Mango who is 7 lbs. decided to take a short walk on it, after I lifted her up to the top and it did not falter.
The mountain size is 4 feet wide and 2 ½ feet deep. There are two sets of tracks in the mountain, the lower track travels to the train station that will sit outside of the mountain, and the second track that will climb inside the mountain to the six foot bridge that crosses to the other side of the layout over the lake, over the main tracks, pass the steam engine facility ( still under construction ) and back to a container yard, cement factory, freight station, and for passenger service, a second passenger station.
Now for the plaster cloth application! Now I know many of the modelers have used Woodland Scenic’s plaster cloth, which is a little expensive. So, I went to Amazon and found a 5 pound roll of Plaster Cloth that is 16 yards long, 11 inches wide for $16.00 with free shipping. What a huge savings. I cut each piece to 4 inches by 11 inches for ease of application.
I am doing three layers, the first going horizontal, the second going vertical, and the last horizontal. I let each application dry for 24 hours before applying the next layer.
Below are pictures of the work that has been done to the mountain, including a drawing of the entire layout
I have a lot more to accomplish before I can even think about running the trains again. I will keep everyone up to date on the progress.
Here is a drawing of Starrpoint Railroad I sent this in some time ago. I thought you might want to see how the layout looks in real life.
As I mentioned, it is not the most beautiful webbing ever seen, but it is sturdy.
Here is the six foot bridge that leaves the mountain to the back of the layout.
Here is another view of the bridge as it leaves the mountain portal over the lake in front of the mountain.
Here are two of the entrances to the interior of the mountain. The right one is for the lower level to the train station, while the one of the left leads to the six foot bridge crossing over to the back part of the layout. The tracks are covered until the plaster cloth is applied to protect them.
HO scale tunnel clearance:
This is the front of the mountain, the part that I wanted to save during reconstruction. As you can see the top portal that leads to the bridge .
This mountain is four feet wide and 2 and 1/2 feet deep. I saw a video of the Alaskan Railroad crossing through mountainous tunnels, where the portals were of natural rock. They looked unique and so I decided to keep mine the same way. The portal on the far left of the mountains lower level leads to the train station that will be placed there.
As you can see I have started to cover the mountain with the plaster cloth. It is going to take some time to complete. I am letting each layer dry for 24 hours before applying the next layer. I plan on using three layers for the mountain. Once all of the layers are applied, I will then cover the entire mountain with a coat of dry wall compound diluted with water to make a sort of paint solution. This will further stiffen the mountain structure.
I mentioned before, this is the plaster cloth that I purchased from Amazon for $16.00. There is more than enough to complete the mountain and for any other projects for the Starrpoint Rail Road that may come up
I have some other projects in the works for the layout, and I will share them as I proceed with them.
Hope you enjoy.
A huge thank to Jim for sharing the danger of not getting your HO scale tunnel clearance spot on – a wonderful narrative and pics too.
Jim’s narrative reminded me of Malcolm’s excellent post on derailments:
Also, once you have your clearance dimension sorted, Bill’s “tunnel jig” will save you hours of heartache:
It just goes to show, a layout is never really finished…
That’s all for today folks.
Please do keep ’em coming.
And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.
PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.