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The San Jacinto Branch- The Canyon Remodeled.

September 3, 2008

I was unsatisfied with the unrealistic rockwork I did by hot gluing young sandstone formations into my plaster/sculptamold hills and knew it was time for a change. So down came the hills that comprised the old canyon with its poor clearances and issues with scenery. Inspired by the Excellent DVD’s produced by Joe Fugate (of which I’ll do an in-depth review of at a later date) I plunged into what has to be the most intense remodel I’ve ever done of a model railroad scene. Here’s a preliminary digital “sketch” done in Auran’s  TRAINZ program showing how the land forms will look.


You can see the Grade-Separated Highway (which was conceivably built around 1920) and the new river (unnamed as of yet). The Hills will be reduced in size and the Narrow Gauge may travel underneath the now elevated mainline.


Here’s the last photo of this curve still intact. The Tables will now be separated, and lowered 2″ inches to create the Grade-separation.


First, I removed all the trackwork that would be directly harmed by the separation of the modules, vacuuming up the somewhat loose ballast. Because I only lightly glued the ballast, I was able to vucuum up almost all of the ballast.


Here’s the Abandoned route through the canyon.


Here’s a ground-level view.


Next I separated the modules simply by unscrewing them. I still haven’t added feeder wires yet, but when I do, I’ll use connectors between each of the modules.


Now that the entire two modules were lowered 2 inches, I have a nice clearance between the roadway and the bottom of the bridge, high enough for semi-trailers.

final view

This final view shows the grade separated highway, which will retain it’s character, but now continued uninhibited under the busy mainline.

STAY TUNED for our next installment as I try some of Joe Fugate’s techinques.


This portion of what used to be the Canyon will now be rebuilt with a gently flowing river.

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