Large Scale Central

STARS build log: Installing on a slope

Since the South Tiburon and Raccoon Straits RR will be using a fair bit of elevated railway, I thought I’d post it here. This will start out as a basic dogbone, with both turnaround loops extending over sloped grade, and will need elevation to attain a reasonable grade for the trains. Since this is a sightseeing and logging line, I can accept a little more steepness, but not a lot, of course. Stage 1 will be some experimenting.

In that vein, the first step is the Western loop: a simple loop made of redwood fence boards that will be supported by… something…

Sweet. Keep us posted for sure.

I love a well thought out something! Should be fun!

Don’t wear out your engines on steep grades. We have no repair parts.

Boy, that’s a good point. I had not been thinking about wearing out the engines. So yeah, just because it “can” doesn’t mean it “should”.

i have achieved 6% (1 in 17) grades with short, heavy locos, motorized tenders, additional weight and only five short cars.

but on my next layout there will be nothing steeper than 3 or 4%.

The flatter you can keep the railroad the better the operation period.

Unless there is a specific reason for grades (as in my case, trying to keep everythig at a reasonable height above ground)

everything should be dead level.

Just my opinion


Track laid out to see how the loco will run… hoping I can get away with a 6% grade.

Don’t worry, I see a thin rock quarry off to the right so you might raise your bottom!

Some trestles. My first ever

Nice, those are ‘bents’.

when you know the exact hight, it might be usefull, to add another horizontal beam as footer.

Bents. Got it. and yes, a footer makes good sense.

For the western loop, I decided to try steam-bending. After a fair degree of trial and error, I think I have it. 1/4" redwood lath, ripped to 1" wide, steamed for two hours, can bend into a 6’radius circle. Glue-up is setting in the garage with two strips laminated for each rail (pic to follow)

Years ago, so long that I can’t remember for what need, I wanted to try steam bending. What I was able to read at the time talked about the need for large, solid steam boxes. Your plastic wrap solution would have worked for me. Great idea. Oh, I like your home-brew boiler too (

The plastic wrap really did not work well. High failure rate. What DID work was an aluminum dryer vent line. 4"diameter and expandable. I should write this up so others are not misled

I have seen people using a 4" plastic pipe as the steaming vessel for wood. most home centers carry the black drainage pipe in 3 or 4" by 10’ lengths.