Back to Fatjack's Home Page This is a new department for Fatjack's Place. Dave is in the process of building a really unique On30 Narrow Gauge Model Railroad. He is documenting the process with photos and comments and these will be posted in these listed departments as work progresses. Please check back soon. Track Plan
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Concept Scenery
History Structures
Timetable-All Rules


Locomotives Finished Layout
Rolling Stock Benchwork - You are here
Miscellaneous Back to Model Railroad Intro Page Trackwork



Southern Colorado Land Navigation & Transfer Co.


Scroll down for pictures - more to be added as I can get them added

The benchwork is time-proven L-girder style, thus very simple.

The legs and vertical part of the L-girder are 1x4s.  The X bracing and horizontal part of the L-girder are 1x3s.  The cross sections of the L-girder benchwork are 1x4s.  All sections are glued and screwed together.  The downside of this is that the railroad cannot be dismantled without destroying it, but it is very strong.  With all the plaster scenery I plan on building it needs to be strong.  Lag bolts were put in the bottom of each leg for leveling purposes.  The track is 39” above the floor, which is an excellent height for me to work on it.  The only area covered with a flat surface is Westcliffe and part of Durdy Dawg.  The remainder of the railroad is open with only the roadbed.

The width of Durdy Dawg is 33”, which is plenty wide considering I can only reach it from one side.  The width of the Chugwater section is 34-1/2”, but I can reach it from both sides.  The width of Frisco Canyon is 28” and the width of Westcliffe is 36”.  Like Chugwater, Westcliffe can be worked from both sides, so the width is no problem.

Frisco Canyon is high and narrow and you can’t see the entire interior of the canyon from any one location; this is really neat.  That’s why the entire west wall is removable, so it can be taken out for maintenance.

The benchwork was built in modules, beginning at Durdy Dawg.  Each module was a maximum of 8’ long.  Next, Chugwater module was built and after each module was set in its final location a corner section was built to tie them together.  Next Frisco Canyon module was built, and again a corner section was built to tie it to the Chugwater module.  The same process was used for Westcliffe.  Westcliffe was initially built narrow until I could see exactly how wide I could make the end of it while allowing adequate room for moving around.  Adequate room for personnel was very important as I never have liked tight quarters when operating, and also, many times I walk with a cane and even have a walker, so I needed room for these walking aides.

D. A. Bontrager: Owner

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These photos show the sub-roadbed in place.  Most of the railroad was built before I put in any sub-roadbed.


Durdy Dawg is the largest single area on the railroad and the main and passing siding curves take up the entire corner section.  Immediately north of the turnout at Durdy Dawg North begins Chugwater.


This is Chugwater looking north.  The Durdy Dawg North turnout is at the bottom center of the photo.  Phantom Curve leading to Frisco Canyon is the last curve at the top left in the photo.


This is the south entrance to Frisco Canyon looking north.  Things got a little tough here.  I needed to maintain my 24” minimum radius and still have room for Fork River through the canyon.  If I would have put more room between the tracks they would have cut into the Westcliffe area too much, so Fork River became a very narrow river, but it worked out okay.


This is an overall view of the railroad.  It’s impossible to photograph the entire railroad in one photo.  The end of Durdy Dawg is at the bottom in the photo and the end of Westcliffe is in the right center of the photo.  At this point in time the Westcliffe area is still narrow.


The flat areas of Durdy Dawg in place with the trackplan laid out.  The entire trackplan was first drawn in scale on paper, so laying it out on the benchwork went pretty easy.


The entire town of Westcliffe will be built on hills coming down from the mountain to the west, so everything will be above the benchwork.  I actually didn’t have to cover it all with plywood, but at the time wasn’t positive how the town was going to play out in design.  The important thing at this point in time was getting the track laid out properly.  The end of Westcliffe is now 36” wide and tapers back to 24”.  Wild Wash would actually be several miles out of town, which of course I didn’t have the room to model, so I simply ended the siding at the edge of Westcliffe.