One corner of the layout just begged for a mine to fill an otherwise empty space, so some ideas where tossed around. It quickly became clear than a simple spur off of the mainline simply would not do, as it would be rather boring to switch. Stop, pickup a couple of cars, drop off a couple of cars, and carry on. Ho, hum.
An alternative presented itself in the idea of a short branch line heading back north from Curlew to the mine. This would represent a distance great enough to require a dedicated train, complete with caboose, to switch the mine. Even though the distance is not great, and the number of cars low, all of the elements of a branch line train would be there, to add operational interest.
Once again, the CAD program helped to plan what could actually be done in the small space, without sacrificing too much on curves and grades. It quickly became apparent that a small run around track plus the mine spur itself could be squeezed in, resulting in about three cars to and from the mine.
A quick full size mock up was next, and it looked quite doable. It is a bit of a 3D puzzle as the mine area sits partially over the main line, but we think it will work. Note the fancy paper mountain side to check clearance.
To transfer the design to the benchwork for such a critical arrangement, I simply printed out a number of sheets from the CAD program at full size, including registration marks that appeared on the overlapped portions. This was all taped together and positioned on the benchwork to confirm it would fit. Plywood segments were cut to fit and all clamped up, using my tried and true lamination method. I don’t think I got any photos of the paper template in place, but here is how the pieces get clamped together to form one continuous lamination.