Thursday, December 12, 2013

Building Waterbury: Park Row Pavement

The grade crossing on Park Row in Waterbury. Still needs
 a final sanding and the track needs final ballasting.
Got the initial coat of pavement onto Park Row in Waterbury. After toying with various methods to make the streets, including sanded tile grout (a little too gritty for an HO scale paved road) and styrene, which is a great material for streets but seemed a little too perfect for a side street in Waterbury, I settled on using lightweight joint compound. Before troweling it onto the layout I pre-colored it by putting some light and dark gray Bragdon Weathering powders in the tub of joint compound and mixing it thoroughly.  According to the CV Engineering Plats for Waterbury the street was 24 feet wide, so I taped a couple of Plastruct 1/8" angles to the layout surface at 24 scale feet apart. Close up photos of the grade crossing in my era shows the grade crossing wasn't planked. Instead there were two boards on the outside of the rails and one board on the inside of each rail with the paving material filling the space between the tracks and between the rails.
I cut these "planks" from a GLC Laser laser-cut grade crossing. After securing the wood to the ties with CA, I stained them with Hunterline "Dark Brown" stain. I was careful to leave enough clearance between each rail and the wood for cars and locomotives to run through without the grade crossing lifting the wheels. Once I confirmed everything was working I added narrow strips of painter's blue tape (cut the width of the wood planks) to prevent filling the gaps between the rails and the wood.
Park Row after the initial coat of lightweight
 joint compound. Although this looks like
 a rough road, the prototype was never a
very smooth ride!
Then I carefully spread the lightweight joint compound between the Plastruct angle. Once the joint compound started to "set" (after an hour or so) I carefully peeled away the tape, exposing the wood planks. Although I tried to get the road as smooth as possible when applying the joint compound there were still lots of bumps. So, after the joint compound dried completely I sanded the road smooth with a fine-grit sanding block.
Park Row is now ready for traffic.

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