Tuesday, January 13, 2009


With the helix in place it was time to expand the benchwork. For those who may be new to model railroading the benchwork is the table that holds the model railroad. However in this case the management want flexibility for scenery. This means that we will use an open table consisting of support beams and open joists to which we will fasten the track and the scenery. With an open grid the scenery can extend below as well as above the top of the table. With a flat table top the scenery can only extend above the scenery.

The side of the benchwork against the wall is supported by TGI beams. These are beams that are usually used for floor joists. The advantage is that they are strong and can have a long span without supporting legs. We placed the TGI beams around the walls supported every 8 to 12 feet by a 2x4 leg that extends up past the TGI beam and thus supports the backdrop framework. (See post #7).

The front of our benchwork (table) is formed with an "L" beam. This is constructed of two 1x3s forming an L shape. The advantage is that the vertical board provides support and the horizontal board of the Lprovides a surface to which the joists can be screwed. The L beam is supported every 8 to 10 feet by a 2x2 leg. The L beam and legs were placed parallel to the TGI beams and vary in distance from the beams depending on the width of the railroad along the three walls.

Since the railroad room is a finished room with a hardwood floor which we covered with a non-glue vinyl floor covering (See post #4 ) it is very level, unlike some basement or garage floors. Therefore it was unnecessary to place levers on the bottom of the legs. To protect the floor there is a felt pad glued to the bottom of each leg.

The top of the benchwork consists of joists fastened to the TGI beam on one end and to the L beam. The joists overlap the L beam by several inches to enable the L beam and legs to be back from the edge of the layout. If the legs are at the edge of the layout there is a tendency to trip on the legs when running trains.

With the benchwork in place it is time to begin to lay the roadbed, the support for the railroad track.

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