Where were we?


Looking west at the site of Santiago yard, circa 1975.  CN steam loco 6060 is on an excursion train about to cross Lindsay’s “Black Iron bridge”. To the right is the main track of the Campbellford Sub., with the flat area to its left being the location of Santiago Yard’s three tracks, taken up in 1964.  –photographer unknown.

I’d left this off a few months ago as I got swept up in other things.  Back to some modelling.

The piece of layout that I’m building representing Santiago is a foot wide.  The main track and three yard tracks still leave about six inches’ room for scenery, primarily on what is the north side of the yard.  The above photo shows a small hill north of the main track. I would usually employ plaster-and’cardboard “hardshell” scenery construction, but decided to use Styrofoam this time around for its lightness and resistance to damage.


Fitting 1″ thick blue Styrofoam insulation to create landforms.  Yellow carpenter’s glue bonds these quite well to each other and the wood roadbed, etc.


I’m following CN practice for roadbed profiles.  Here’s 1939 CN Standard ballast sections showing a slope of 1.5:1 for ballast slope on roadbed edges.

Something that I want to improve on in my own modelling is to accurately model ballast sections and landforms.  Excessively sloped landforms would fail quickly in heavy rain and look contrived on a layout.


CN 1939 Standard Roadbed Cuttings and Embankments diagram.  Note again how gently sloped railway embankments are compared to those as modelled on some layouts.  


A knife purchased at the dollar store (Styrofoam will dull a good knife quickly) is used to rough cut the Styrofoam sheet to suit the slightly undulating land around Santiago Yard.

A steel bristle brush is used to smooth landforms and cut ditches next to where the track will be.  Behind the brush is the start of that small hill to the north of the yard. A regular full-size wire brush will remove material quicker.  This work will create Styrofoam dust–keep the vacuum cleaner handy!


Some 80-grit sandpaper smooths landforms to suit. A ditch north of the main track is being modelled here.

There was a fair bit of sanding, fitting more Styrofoam sheet to the layout, and filling to come….