Closing the Loop

With half the track laid, and one tunnel built, phase one was almost exactly half completed. But I hadn’t yet dug the second (more ambitious) tunnel or cut the turf for the line down the western side of the wall.

Constructing the southern tunnel, I used the same technique as for the northern tunnel.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-hgLH1AzrkCU/VWLMSYTm7rI/AAAAAAAEYpI/Qb3OFdcoBSk/s144-c-o/IMG_9021.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/105041492449804846682/ClosingTheLoop#6152704657075924658″ caption=”Site of the southern tunnel” type=”image” alt=”IMG_9021.JPG” pe2_single_image_size=”w500″ pe2_caption=”1″ pe2_img_align=”none” ] [pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-FzoRNAzZdY4/VWLMSWy8Y8I/AAAAAAAEYpI/7rcZUCbnOf4/s144-c-o/IMG_9012.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/105041492449804846682/ClosingTheLoop#6152704656670483394″ caption=”Digging out the tunnel and the cutting” type=”image” alt=”IMG_9012.JPG” pe2_single_image_size=”w500″ pe2_caption=”1″ pe2_img_align=”none” ] [pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-X3Ch_6nWKiw/VWLMSdUfM5I/AAAAAAAEYpI/36fKyDUHims/s144-c-o/IMG_9035.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/105041492449804846682/ClosingTheLoop#6152704658421789586″ caption=”The tunnel walls” type=”image” alt=”IMG_9035.JPG” pe2_single_image_size=”w500″ pe2_caption=”1″ pe2_img_align=”none” ] [pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-_3z0L-6n-2E/VWLMSVS-cZI/AAAAAAAEYpI/_X5BG9rrNY4/s144-c-o/IMG_9037.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/105041492449804846682/ClosingTheLoop#6152704656267964818″ caption=”The walls and the eastern portal” type=”image” alt=”IMG_9037.JPG” pe2_single_image_size=”w500″ pe2_caption=”1″ pe2_img_align=”none” ]

The reason this was a more ambitious tunnel is that on the western side, it emerges below ground level. I needed to dig and line a cutting for the line to run through.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SghU_sX1Y90/VWOLKWmb6UI/AAAAAAAEYnM/IssAwMB7vRo/s144-c-o/P1160249.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/105041492449804846682/ClosingTheLoop#6152914525899974978″ caption=”The western portal and the finished cutting” type=”image” alt=”P1160249″ pe2_single_image_size=”w500″ pe2_caption=”1″ pe2_img_align=”none” ] [pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-HsDwiuTo5uo/VWOLKahktjI/AAAAAAAEYnM/xvSkoMqKzFs/s144-c-o/P1160255.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/105041492449804846682/ClosingTheLoop#6152914526953322034″ caption=”Rhododendron in the foreground” type=”image” alt=”P1160255″ pe2_single_image_size=”w500″ pe2_caption=”1″ pe2_img_align=”none” ]

On the western side of the wall, I dug a shallow trench to fill with a 100mm depth of sub-base.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-KQkNgc7yERI/VWLMSarV7wI/AAAAAAAEYpI/wIfh4y9BQp0/s144-c-o/IMG_9002.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/105041492449804846682/ClosingTheLoop#6152704657712344834″ caption=”The trench” type=”image” alt=”IMG_9002.JPG” pe2_single_image_size=”w500″ pe2_caption=”1″ pe2_img_align=”none” ] [pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-UC-AH15NEto/VWLMSd3wFqI/AAAAAAAEYpI/_9E39R6jcSw/s144-c-o/IMG_9074.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/105041492449804846682/ClosingTheLoop#6152704658569696930″ caption=”Getting the level” type=”image” alt=”IMG_9074.JPG” pe2_single_image_size=”w500″ pe2_caption=”1″ pe2_img_align=”none” ]

Constructing the tunnel and cutting was awkward, but going underneath the rhododendron was an even greater challenge, since I wanted to disturb it as little as possible.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ICAAZ95XLe0/VWLMSefZr9I/AAAAAAAEYpI/V8cQajHN7JU/s144-c-o/IMG_9014.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/105041492449804846682/ClosingTheLoop#6152704658736000978″ caption=”Under the rhododendron” type=”image” alt=”IMG_9014.JPG” pe2_single_image_size=”w500″ pe2_caption=”1″ pe2_img_align=”none” ] [pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-oZGUjbweI9M/VWLQA4McLDI/AAAAAAAEYpI/NxlY4dURAIQ/s144-c-o/IMG_9078.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/105041492449804846682/ClosingTheLoop#6152708754444659762″ caption=”The trench under the rhododendron” type=”image” alt=”IMG_9078.JPG” pe2_single_image_size=”w500″ pe2_caption=”1″ pe2_img_align=”none” ]

I also finally remembered the weed barrier I had bought to line the trackbed before the sub-base went in.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-X9R5OY-t0A8/VWLMSeKwjtI/AAAAAAAEYpI/vbUQ7GCF3iw/s144-c-o/IMG_9084.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/105041492449804846682/ClosingTheLoop#6152704658649419474″ caption=”The weed barrier” type=”image” alt=”IMG_9084.JPG” pe2_single_image_size=”w500″ pe2_caption=”1″ pe2_img_align=”none” ]

Track laying was slightly more complicated than the first stretch, since closing the gap meant cutting the flex track to fit the gap exactly. I found this relatively easy – using the same xacto saw I use for 00 gauge track.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-IWGGOaSCFCo/VWOLKW0l8pI/AAAAAAAEYnM/xDS4YuamnWs/s144-c-o/P1160251.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/105041492449804846682/ClosingTheLoop#6152914525959352978″ caption=”Track laid” type=”image” alt=”P1160251″ pe2_single_image_size=”w500″ pe2_caption=”1″ pe2_img_align=”none” ] [pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-2QXPgJPQ3Ak/VWOLKfcvVxI/AAAAAAAEYnM/ACLZS33cQx0/s144-c-o/P1160252.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/105041492449804846682/ClosingTheLoop#6152914528275224338″ caption=”Wiggles” type=”image” alt=”P1160252″ pe2_single_image_size=”w500″ pe2_caption=”1″ pe2_img_align=”none” ]

On 17 May I had completed the circuit. I was ready to run trains. (I just hadn’t finished building the loco yet.)

Photos taken 7 – 25 May.

STOP PRESS: Test train run today! More soon…

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Simon Wood

E-learning officer, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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