WIP: Pennsy Switching Yard Puzzle

Poor woodworking skills aside, I decided to press on with building a switching yard puzzle in to a proper shelf layout. I cobbled the plywood base on to some cheap pine strip wood (1×4’s), and of course I assembled the whole thing upside down! This means that all the scenery will sit above the wooden frame, but it also will allow more space for wiring, as I plan to eventually wire the two switches to operate remotely! Oh and of course I also grabbed the wrong cut down frame pieces and cut the short end off of it! The old adage of measure twice and cut once missed me this time, as I was sure I had segregated the lengths into piles. Sigh!

Some work in process photos, showing laying the foam into the frame, carving a small stream bed for a bridge, the cutout were the control panel will go, and finally laying some thick sheets of cork on top because I didn’t like the way the foam came out. And let me tell you if you thought sanding foam was messy, try cork!

switch puzzel build 1 copy

After laying the cork, I spent a few days feathering the edges and setting the creek bed edges so that I could build up some “concrete” bridge abutments before moving to some plaster work and getting some basswood cut down using the wife’s Circuit machine!

After getting the bridge all set, I loosely laid the track so that I could get an idea of where to drill for the switch wires. Eventually, I’ll hook those switches up to a DC controller and throw them remotely, but it’s much easier to have the wires in place before you glue the track down!

So with the plaster (really Sculpt-a-mold) dried, I took some time to lay down a base coat of two different shades of browns. Plans are to do the area beyond the bridge as a grassy field and the yard mostly gravel. I’m thinking down the road there may be a low hill lined with trees to set a backdrop for the yard, where most of the action will take place.


Anyway, this is just a quick catch-up on the model railroad project. A project that I’m really looking to build new skills and practice. Bonus that in the very near future I’ll have a small railroad to run and enjoy, even as I continue to add to it.

4 thoughts on “WIP: Pennsy Switching Yard Puzzle

  1. Great work Eric. I was wondering what was happening with this project. Enjoy the post but I hope not too much becuase this was something I have always been interested in myself.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There certainly some cross-over from figure and scale modeling; and I have to constant remind myself that his project is supposed to be about learning skills, NOT making the perfect model RR right out of the gate.
      Good luck with not following up on new endeavors, I’ve been fighting this old hobby from decades.

      Liked by 1 person

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