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Today, Monday March 16, students stayed home from school while the faculty and administration figured out how we would continue the school year under challenging circumstances.
The Day Branch of the model railroad I’m building with my students in my middle school math classroom is on the cusp of operational capability.
Last year I solicited the input of MRH forum members on designs for this section of our model railroad, and I am well pleased with the outcome. I tested the design by mocking it up in Trainz and making sure it could receive an inbound train of empty reefers and full freight, pull loaded reefers from packing sheds, transfer freshly iced reefers to the sheds, shove empties onto the icing rack, assemble an outbound train of reefers full of produce, turn the locomotive, and depart. And so on.
The photo shows the structural scheme - notice the two-track staging channel dead center in the image. That’s the solution inspired by Dave Husman (if it’s a disaster it’s my fault, not his!) that avoided a really nasty mess with close clearance hidden staging under the main deck.
Because I’ve prioritized the experiences of my students, building that chunk of model railroad has been a very rewarding, enriching, educational, and excruciating endeavor. You know the formula for planning a bathroom remodel (estimated time x 3 = minimum time required)? The formula for building a model railroad with twelve-year-olds is x 8. At best.
But somehow we got to this point and are ready to lay track. I’ve got all the Micro Engineering turnouts and pre-weathered flex track I need, plus joiners and spikes. And since the entire branch represents a Beebe & Clegg - ish branch, the ballast profile is virtually flat on grade, and the model roadbed is glorious homosote, truly a pleasure to drive spikes into (apologies to my caulking colleagues).
Then BAM, quarantine, no school, no students.
This article first appeared on model-railroad-hobbyist.com
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