Hand-laid Track on Tuolumne Forks Model Railroad

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Tuolumne Forks is a O&3 freelanced narrow gauge logging and mining railroad. Bob Brown is the editor and publisher of the Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette.This layout combines mining and logging with a tourist line. The operation follows the Lake Tahoe Railway and Navigation Company’s transport of tourists from Workshop to the Lake Tahoe Resort. The railroad is famous among narrow gauge enthusiasts like Bob Brown.

The majority of Bob Brown’s Tuolumne Forks Model Railroad was created with hand laid tracks. A simple way to lay ties down onto a road bed is by drawing a line on the road bed showing where you want the ties to go, make a pool of white glue, then stick your ties in one at a time, and lay them on their designated spot. Bob Brown finds this specific way of laying the ties to be relaxing. Once the ties are dried, take a pen or pencil and draw a line across the tracks. Drawing a line is a great way to be able to tell how much sanding needs to be done. Once the line is gone, you are done sanding. Bob Brown uses real dirt on his tracks and you can too. To hold the dirt down, make sure you generously spray the dirt with water and detergent.

Once your ballast is dry, take a rule to scrape the excess off of the ties to be able to lay your rails down flat. Then take your roller gauge to spike down your rails. Bob Brown says this is a very relaxing project that he can do for hours.

Watch more from Allen Keller’s Great Model Railroads series from the Model Railroad Academy archives.