Much of the spline roadbed is now installed on the ATSGRR. After the spline is in place the next step is to sand the top smooth. No matter how careful the track crew tries to be there is always one or two strands of the spline that insists on being a bit higher than the rest. A belt sander does the trick to smooth the top as seen in the photograph to the right.
Once the top is relatively smooth the next step is to install cork for
the ballast and to provide a smooth service for the track. The cork is secured to the spline with white or carpenters glue and help in place while the glue drives by a few staples from a staple gun. Driving spikes into the spline is a bit difficult but with the cork in place this is an easy task. For turnouts it is more convenient and provides a smoother surface for the turnout to use sheet cork that matches the ballest cork in height to cut pieces that underlie the turnouts.
The scenery for the railroad will be constructed on a web of cardboard stringers covered with cheese cloth. A later post will detail this process as it proceeds. But for now rather than attach the cheese cloth to the roadbed after the fact it is easier to lay a piece of cheese cloth on top of the spline and then lay the cork ballast strip on top of the cheese cloth. This way when the cardboard stringers are in place to form the mountains and valleys this cheese cloth forms a very smooth transition from the roadbed the the scenery. This prevents separation of the scenery from the roadbed which has occured in the past.
Once the cork in in place the track can be spiked in place on the cork ballest.