Tuesday, June 10, 2014

31 Professor Plunge and Hardly Falls

I'm finally back to posting to this neglected blog about the Ascape Tennsion & Sulphur Gulch Railroad.  I will not try to include these posts in order but will merely date them as I post them rather than when they were constructed.  I will try to give some details about the back story.

In 2009, installment #23, this blog described the construction of Whetstone Ridge, Sulphur Gulch, and the trestle at Sulphur Gulch.  This bit of scenery served as the focal point for the railroad since that time and is sure to get a “Wow!” from visitors as they enter the railroad room.  However the back side of Whetstone Ridge maintained its “under construction” status for the next several years.  As the president was about to undertake a whole new construction project on the peninsula of the railroad the Chairperson of The Board subtly made the following observation: “Don’t you think it might be well to finish a bit more of the railroad before you undertake a whole new construction project?”  Good observation.  A wise president always listens to the Board Chairperson and thus construction on the back side of Whetstone Ridge was begun.  This installment will describe the construction of Professor’s Plunge, Hardly Falls, the East Tunnel Portal, and the Park City East Tunnel Portal. This section featured in this post was finished for the 2012 November Open House.

Figure 1 Helix
 Figure 1 shows the helix with its cardboard safety wrap prior to the construction of Whetstone Ridge.  The backside of Whetstone Ridge including Professor’s Plunge with Hardly Falls will hide the helix in this area.   The track at the lower left is the mainline as it comes from the trestle at Sulphur Gulch and enters Ascape.  The roadbed at the upper right is the mainline as it enters the helix at what will become East Portal and the branch line as it crosses through Whetstone Ridge through       what will become the East Portal of the Park City Tunnel.
Figure 2 Armature, cheese cloth, and plaster
Figure 2 shows the initial construction of the side and back of Whetstone Ridge.  The cardboard armature in in place over this section of the helix and the cheese cloth has been glued to the armature.
Figure 3  Scenery Demonstration
Figure 3 shows this same view of Whetstone Ridge.  This section was the first scenery on the ATSGRR.  It was deliberately left in this partially finished state to show the construction technique used on the ATSTRR.  The near section shows the cardboard armature and cheese cloth prior to the application of a plaster coating.  The next section shows the cheese cloth coated with a thin plaster shell and some rock castings have been placed over the shell.  The third section is the first part of Whetstone Ridge that was completed to show the scenery technique.  The Sulphur Gulch section of Whetstone Ridge was then completed as shown in an earlier post (#23).  This section of the railroad stayed in this condition from 2009 until the construction described in this post was completed in early 2013.

Figure 4 Armature for Professor Plunge and Hardly Falls
Figure 4 shows the area that is to become Professor Plunge and Hardly Falls with the cardboard armature constructed but not yet covered with cheese cloth.     The armature has indentations where the canyon will be and a notch in the summit of Whetstone Ridge which is the head of Hardly Falls.  The roadbed leading into the helix can be seen cutting across the front of the scene. East Portal will be constructed where this track enters the cliff to join the helix.  The roadbed leading to Park City can be seen in to the right of the picture.   The Park City Tunnel East Portal will be constructed where this track enters the cliff to cross to the rear of the helix.

Figure 5 Main Line around Whetstone Ridge

 Figure 5 shows the aisle side of Whetstone Ridge after the scenery has been completed over the armature and cheese cloth that had occupied this location for several years.  After experimenting with rock molds it was finally decided that hand carved cliffs were not only more efficient but could include a far greater variation of rock formations than is easily accomplished with rock molds.

Figure 6 East Portal of  Main Line Tunnel and West Portal of Park City Tunnel with Professor Plunge and Hardly Falls
Figure 6 shows the East Portal of the Park City tunnel and the bridge leading to the East Portal of the Main Line Tunnel.

Figure 7  Ascape Engine Terminal with Professor Plunge in the background.

Figure 7 is a view of the Ascape Engine Terminal with Professor Plunge and Hardly Falls in the background.  The train is entering The westbound  main line from the East tunnel.  The caboose is entering the East Portal of the Park City Tunnel. Saulena's Tavern and Harley's Cycle Shop are in the foreground.  The Ascape Engine Terminal Coal tipple and Sand House are to the left behind Saulena's Tavern.

You will observe that the edge of the railroad has been protected with Plexiglas to prevent accidents during open houses.  Ironically the only serious accidents so far on the railroad have been caused by the president when on one else was in the room :-(

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