Progress on the Copper Cliff scene at the WRMRC took a few more steps forward at a recent weekend work session. I recruited some help, and I thought it might be interesting to outline some of the dragons we’re slaying in this corner of the layout.
The track plans for our layout illustrate how three levels of the layout converge in this corner behind Copper Cliff. We have a helix inside of another helix at this location. The inner helix is actually two helices stacked on top of each other. The upper half carries the Webbwood up from Copper Cliff to the Victoria Mine switch, Nairn, and points west. The lower half of the inner helix carries the Copper Cliff spur down to the Copper Cliff industrial area. The outer helix carries the branch line down to the Crean Hill mine from the Webbwood. It’s complicated. This shot clarifies things. Or maybe not.
The work I’m doing at Copper Cliff is related to everything else in this area, so I needed to complete a couple of long-neglected track projects before I could carry the scene too far. First, I had to make the connection between the Webbwood and the top of the outer helix (to go down to the Crean Hill Mine). And before I could install all of the necessary backdrops in the various scenes here, I needed to build some hidden staging that wraps around the very bottom of the double helix. I’ve spent many work sessions contorted like Houdini in a steamer trunk while working in this confined space that I’ve named Treachery, or the Ninth Circle of Hell. In typical railroad fashion, I’ve given the same place two different names.
The construction of these staging tracks at Treachery was somehow overlooked back when the club first started building the layout. It was in the plans, but the construction crew just kept going right past it. Eventually, the space for these hidden tracks was buried under a labyrinth of rails, wires, and wood. But Treachery is the where our sulphuric acid unit trains will be staged out of view, and these trains are an essential element to our depiction of Inco operations around Sudbury. Incidentally, the real facility that these staging tracks represent is truly a sulphurous miasmic pit, and I’m sure Dante would approve of my appropriation of the names.
To build model railroad roadbed in a place like this is no less torturous than an appointment with an iron maiden. Being the resourceful fellow I am, endowed with both charm and cunning, I managed to recruit young Justin’s assistance, due in part to his youthful naïvety, but also owing to a furlough from his regular assignment with the mainline roadbed crew on the other side of the building. As a result of Justin’s help, I was afforded the opportunity to take a few pictures, drink a soda, and gab with Chris. In tribute to Justin’s enterprise and youthful exuberance, I’ll share some great shots of the Ninth Circle of Hell, featuring young Justin affecting the mannerisms of a hunch-backed culvert dweller.
Progress in this corner happens very slowly. In addition to this torturous job, there are backdrops, facia, and scenery to be built on all three levels. This hidden track represents the source of traffic for the Copper Cliff spur, so while it’s not part of the scene I’m working on, it is an element of the overall project. These staging tracks represent the most difficult and time-consuming dimension of the work in this area. Thanks go out to Justin for his contribution.