Double Decker Benchwork: Emporia Subdivision of the Santa Fe

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Duration: 8:37

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One of the questions Stephen Priest most frequently receives when people visit his HO scale Emporia Subdivision of the Santa Fe model railroad is how he supported his railroad and hung the benchwork from his walls. The reason he did this was to be able to have a railroad he could remove from his house for resale value. He has a representation of a two by four studded basement on which he cantilevered two layers of upper and lower level out from the two by four wall. Some gusset or diagonal bracings were added to keep the levels from sagging.

The railroad is then built on top of these structures, and when it is time to move, the whole thing is removable and goes with him to his next residence. To keep the upper level from moving or sagging during construction, he can support it with gussets in two ways. The gussets create a stabilizing triangle which can be added beneath, or added down from above. The gusset above can then be hidden with scenery. The trackwork can then be lifted up from the structure with a riser in various heights.

With two separate levels, Stephen can have two different sky backdrops. He used 8th inch masonite in four different locations, the sky on the upper level, the facia for the upper level, the sky for the lower level, and lastly the facia for the bottom of the railroad. When most of the benchwork and wiring is done on the railroad, one can mount the lower facia. Part of the benchwork design must include locations to mount the facia. It can either be mounted lower and scenery built up to the railroad, or mounted higher and then cut to match the profile of the scenery. Stephen goes on to demonstrate this process.

For more Allen Keller videos, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.