Doug Whetstone - HO Scale

February 2021 Update

Well, I can’t remember where I left off with my updates so I’ll give a general recap of where I'm at on the Ozark & Green Mountain Short Line (O&GM). I have finished both staging peninsulas.

I used a different concept to build the helixes. I watched a youtube video on building the helix with 3/16” gator board (heavy version of foam core board). One big issue – the gator board costs more than 3/16” plywood. Also, I would have had to cut it all by hand using a razor knife. Did not think that would be fun. I opted for the 3/16” plywood and cut it all with my radial arm and compound miter saws. I cut the notches in the risers with my small router and a 3/16" bit.

Looking at the photos, I’m sure you have noticed I committed the most common mistake that a large number of beginners make. I forgot to lay the cork and track as I was assembling it. YUK! And I’m not a beginner! I built (correctly) a 5’x7’ double track, 6 loop, helix on my layout at the house in St. George. I won't make this mistake on the second helix. So with great difficulty I have installed the cork roadbed and am currently laying the track. It’s a slow process, but once I figured out a method of putting the track in place and securing it, I can make fairly good progress. Still takes more time than if I had done it correctly to begin with. Overall, I am very satisfied with this design. Amazingly, it is quite sturdy and strong. Here’s a photo of my helix with the cork and some track laid and a photo of a double track N scale helix using the common threaded rod technique that I got from the internet. Not sure what his radius is but mine is 30”. Think of the difference in weight and the cost of material between these two methods. One thing that has made the task of laying the track easier is the use of curved wooden templates from Fast Tracks that slip between the rails and hold the radius as I secure the track with #2 x 3/4" screws. If you look close, you'll see them spaced out as I put a screw in between 2 pieces. I super-glued the ends of a couple of ties on the inside to hold the track down as I periodically place a shim on the outside of the ties to give a slight amount of super elevation to the track.

So that’s where I’m at right now. I’ve been receiving the materials to build my turnouts. I have over 90 turnouts to build, the majority being # 8s. I bought the #8 Fast Tracks jig since I have 50+ in that size. Thought it would help make things go a bit faster. I hope this finds all of you well and free of the virus. I’m scheduled to get my first shot on the 4th of Feb with the second to follow on the 25th. Gandy dancers, be safe and until the next update . . . keep your hand on the throttle and your eyes on the rail.