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Book Cliff on the Model Railroad

Book Cliff on the Model Railroad


The original curved track through this doorway was laid 20 years ago, on the lowest level.
That's a curved Peco switch on the bottom, about 40 years old, and has been working good.
I think it is a 24 inch-radius branch from a 30 inch.

The new upper level was built 2 years ago, as the Russelville extension of the model railroad,
which opened up whole new operations without making the doorway any smaller.

And now I moved an old AHM curved switch to this upper location
to get the siding started just as soon as I could to gain every inch of extra siding length.
It's a 'tight' 18-inch radius coming out of a 22-inch radius. Space saving, but not so reliable.
It's one of the few that I had available after all these years.

The SD-45 lead truck with 3 axles doesn't like to stay on the tighter curve of the branch,
but I can handle that because this switch is very accessible from the aisle.


I moved the main line to the left edge of the board, which is only 3-1/2 inches wide.
And a siding was sqeezed next to the cliff side.
Definitely a place for a sign:
. . 'No room for man riding side of car'


This is the 'Furnace Room' portion of the model railroad.
A place to put on train miles and have some passing sidings.

The heavy green line was the Russelville Extension built in 2020,
that's on my old web page Russelville on the model railroad
and if you use that link you will have to use 'back' to return to this page, it's not linked to here.

The Blue line is the new siding. It's litterally under a pile of book boxes,
so the name Book Cliffs seems appropriate.
Like in Wyoming. Except, my railroad is modeled around Iowa and the Mississippi River.

The siding is 15 feet long, making it the third longest siding on the railroad,
and it has been very useful.


I have boxes of real books, and to get enough room under the boxes to squeeze in a train,
I added 3/4-inch wood blocks to raise one end of the cardboard boxes.
Not much real scenery in this area, so I use lots of imagination.
Or print pictures and tape them on.
I should at least spray paint the rails and ties with Rail Brown to blend it with the supporting wood.
Although, it's not too bad right now because its on Cedar trim boards, just 1/2 inch thick so it saves vertical space
because the tracks underneath this also need headroom.
I also like the Cedar because it's soft and easy to drive nails into.

The toggle switch is a garage sale wonder for 25 cents that powers the siding from the main,
so I can isolate trains on the siding. It's not perfect block control, but it's enough.

The space is low enough that hi-cube boxcars can start their journey along the siding, but will eventually wedge their tops under the shelf
And double stack containers will clunk on the wooden edge, so they are Not Allowed in Siding

There's some fall-off protection, like these parts of old Revel bridge sides that I nailed on.
And on the hidden side, there's nothing, and the track is so close to the edge that the ends of the ties hang in the air.

The top end of the siding is squeezed behind a shelf leg and lighting valence, like several other tracks under it.
I put a dependable Atlas No. 4 turnout here, because it's hard to see and reach this area.
and I didn't have another dependable curved switch to make this more streamlined.
The track on the green board looks like it might go to a switch under the locomotive,
but actually it's an illusion in this view, it is 3 inches below.
The right side of the locomotive has track hanging in the air by a 1/4 inch over the edge of the board.
With no support board under the track there, there is more headroom for trains below.

I got a ring light last week, a $10 wonder on clearance sale at a discount store.
Since than, I have seen similar ones in re-sale shops for $4, but mine came with tall swing arm to support it.
But actually, I just like to hand hold it where I need the light.
It shines light very evenly, and avoids shadows, especially on those black trucks under the cars.
The ring light is made to provide even lighting for selfies.
On the model railroad, I find that its effective range is about 2 feet.
It is powered by the 5 volts of a USB port, or a battery pack which makes it very portable.
I put the camera on a tripod, and hand hold the ring

And finally, I set up river scene at the doorway, because on my railroad, every aisleway is the Mississippi River

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This page was filmed in July, 2022