Our Model Railroad

2013 saw very little activity in the garden. We were somewhat burned out by the previous year's preparation for the national convention (see our 2012 page). I was asked to build a G scale, roundhouse for a friend. Since he has mostly Union Pacific equipment, we felt that a UP structure would be most appropriate. I only know of one, large, UP roundhouse that is still standing (and in use) and that is in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Many photos are available of it, and I could get approx. dimensions using Google Earth. The following are images of how the building was constructed and placed in Ron and Gayle's garden. The actual roundhouse is currently 7 stalls, though when built was 28. Ron asked that his be 5 stalls. This took most of 2013 and the first half of 2014 to complete, putting in 203 hours to complete. It is built using Precision Board, which is a closed cell, foam product that has characteristics of wood.

Click on each thumbnail image below to see an larger image.

As mentioned above, the UP roundhouse in Cheyenne, Wyoming was chosen for this project. Since my friend did not want to send me all the way to Cheyenne from Chicago to get some measurements, I used Google Earth to get the overall dimensions. In this top down view, I used the "Ruler" tool to get the perimeter dimensions. For all of the door and window details, I used photos from the internet, which I cannot show here, due to copyright laws.

Once I had dimensions, I used TurboCad to draw the building. The blue lines represent the steel, tubular framing.

I also used TurboCad to draw the elevations of each wall and full scale drawings of the windows and doors.

I then printed the drawings in the final scale of the building (1:29), and used those plans as templates to construct the windows using plastic strips.

This is one pair of "barn" doors, prior to installing hardware cloth to simulate the small window frames, in the top portion of the door.

Ron asked that the structure be built in order to stay outside all year around (in northern Illinois). All of the structures I have built using Precision Board I bring in at night, because the foam product is somewhat fragile, plus with the amount of work that I put into them, I don't want a bird "tagging" them. In this photo I am laying out the framing marks on a large wood deck, that was built for the purpose of this building.

Once I had the framing layout transferred to the deck, I started welding up a frame using .5" square steel tubing. I had never welded before so there was a learning curve. Now that I made 128 welds on someone else's project, I am now comfortable with doing welding on my own projects.

This is the final frame. It weighed about 30 lbs. I cleaned, primed, and painted it.

After cutting all of the wall and roof panels, I dry fitted them to the frame.

After test fitting everything, all panels were removed, painted, grouted (mortar between brink joints), sealed with UV spray, and are ready to be reinstalled.

Ron wanted interior lighting, so I used strips of LED lights, purchased at Menards to provide a uniform light throughout the building. The red arrows point to some of the LED's. These were all wired together and then run to an adjacent smaller building that holds a motorcycle battery.

With the building complete, I turned my attention to the exterior work. I hired a contractor to pour a concrete pad for the roundhouse. I provided them a very custom form, that allowed the top of the rail of the interior tracks to be flush with the floor.

Once the forms were removed, I laid the panel track in, and then filled around the track with grout, I taped a piece of wood to the inside edge of the rail, that would be removed later, providing a space for the flange of the wheels.

As mentioned earlier, this structure will be left outside, year around. In order to provide some protection, I welded up a frame that can be assembled over the roundhouse. When in place, 4 pieces of plywood are placed on top, and a tarp stretched over it.

And the finished product. Note the small building to the right. That is the "power house" that has the battery in it for the lighting.

The larger roof panels are held in place by earth magnets. They can be removed for interior access for cleaning, detailing, etc.

The roundhouse at night.

© Copyright 2015, John Rockey