N-Scale Layout- Sidewalks and Ballast

2020Layout-Town Landscaping

The villagers were happy with how the their town was starting to really come together. Once all the grass had been planted they felt like it was starting to feel like their home. They couldn’t wait for the buildings on Main Street to be installed. They had been living like nomads for years every since eminent domain had been instituted and their original town had been destroyed to make way for a furniture manufacturer.

Train Layout - City 7-7-16

(The former site of Jayville)

Jayville had been granted the use of the current property where they were building because nobody else wanted it. There were rumors of buried nuclear waste, Indian burial grounds and even that it was frequently visited by UFOs. In all reality, it was because nobody else wanted to build a town in an area that was going to be completely surrounded by train tracks. This line was going to be a transition area for freight trains crossing from one busy railroad line to another. There will be freight trains rumbling through at all hours of the day.

The villagers didn’t care, though. They happily continued to establish their village in what they deemed to be a very beautiful piece of property.

One of the last jobs the concrete crew had to complete was installing sidewalks on Main Street. In order to avoid squabbles with the landscapers (and possibly more legal fees) they decided to build the sidewalks off-site and have them flown into town and placed in one piece. It was quite a task!

First they had to establish the footprint of the block area. Then they poured a single pad that included not only the sidewalk, but also the foundation for the buildings.

2020Layout-Main Street Sidewalk1

Once that had cured they mixed up a slurry layer that would contain the base color of the sidewalks and exposed cement.

2020Layout-Main Street Sidewalk2

As that layer was starting to set up they roughed in the sidewalk portion.

For the last step they mixed up the final layer of sidewalk and delicately poured it so that it would allow for the easier placement of the buildings against the sidewalk.

2020Layout-Main Street Sidewalk3

2020Layout-Main Street Sidewalk4

Due to a pending patent and proprietary information I am unable to show you how the company air-lifted the portion of sidewalk and flew it to the site. Let’s just say that it involved a few helicopters, lots of strong cables and many prayers. And that’s all I can say. At least about the air-lifted concrete. I have a LOT more to say about the village.

2020Layout-Main Street

Isn’t that exciting? The villagers were beside themselves with joy. They had a giant party the first night with lots of merriment and reveling. However, Otis (the town drunk) discovered a potential issue with having tracks run through the center of town. He stumbled into the open area between the rails and almost scared himself sober. Luckily he was okay, but there was definitely an issue with having that kind of an opening where people would be constantly crossing the street.

Capital expenses were through the roof (literally… as you can see in the picture above one of the buildings is still waiting for its roof until there’s more money in the budget). How could they make the track safer for pedestrian traffic?

Cliff Brown, the local handyman and drifter, had an idea. The village council heard his suggestion and felt that since nobody else offered up any solutions they would give Cliff permission to go ahead with his idea.

Cliff went out and bought a lot of plywood, and took it to his son-in-law who has an industrial-sized laser.

2020Layout-Track Filler

They cut pieces out that were wide enough to sit in between the rails, but wouldn’t impinge upon the functions of the train.

2020Layout-Track Filler2

Cliff then measured the thickness of the wood, compared it to the depth that would need to be filled in along this section of track, and topped the wood with concrete to bring it up to the correct height.

2020Layout-Track Filler3

Once the pieces are installed he will paint them black to match the surrounding asphalt. Very ingenious, but I question where he procured his materials as there were articles in papers from surrounding towns about thefts of plywood, concrete and paint around this same time.

After the landscapers had finished cleaning up their mess from seeding, the railroad was able to go in and put ballast around their track.

The president of the railroad had a son who had decided he wanted to get into the stone business. When the first ballast was laid the railroad just happened to purchase the ballast for the first part of the project from the president’s son.

2020Layout-Ballast 1

The guys putting down the ballast were not impressed. There was a lot of dirt mixed in with the stone. It was as if the stone company had gone out in the back creek and used shovels-full of it to fill the railroad cars. They had no choice, though. They had to use it.

2020Layout-Ballast 2

The more they used it, the more they grumbled. At one point they started to call this the Graham Cracker Crust line. The president of the company heard about the belly-aching and went out to investigate.

2020Layout-Ballast 3

He took one look and called up his son to cancel the rest of the order. A phone call was made to the company who provided ballast to the railroad in this area and the loads began to steadily arrive.

2020Layout-Ballast 4

The railroad crews were so much happier with this stone. It was the right size, it handled well, and there wasn’t a ton of dirt mixed in with it. They were able to quickly get the rest of the track finished.

2020Layout-Ballast 5

2020Layout-Dead Man's Corner 4-27-20

2020Layout-Ballast 6

2020Layout-Main Street 4-27-20

Things were beginning to really come together! Trains were starting to run through the area, construction crews showed up to finish the inside of the buildings, and plans were put in place to erect a church. Life was looking up for the residents of Jayville.

Yes, things were really looking rosy… and that’s when a crisis hit. As a cliff-hanger I’ll just leave you with a picture that foreshadows the impending doom…

2020Layout-Oak Trees

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