The Frisco System 1980

Discussion in 'General' started by Iantha_Branch, Nov 18, 2023.

  1. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Hello everyone,

    Welcome to the thread for my long term layout project. My goal is to make a representation of the major parts of the Frisco System toward the end of it's operations in 1980 in HO scale. This layout will consume a 40' x 40' space in it's own building.

    If you wish to review all of the planning that went into this layout, the thread for that can be found here:

    I will work on posting a tour of the finished building later tonight, or tomorrow morning. Until then, I'll share the track plan for the layout as it currently stands. The best way to view the track plan is the pdf version, but I'll include a jpeg as well for simple viewing. If anyone want's a copy of the anyrail files, send me a dm.

    Frisco System Level 1 V1.0.jpg

    Frisco System Level 2 V1.0.jpg

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2023
  2. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    Very impressive! (But no passenger service....)

    Iantha_Branch likes this.
  3. fredman23

    fredman23 Member

    Holy track plan, Batman!
    Iantha_Branch likes this.
  4. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Building tour for those that want to see

  5. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Yesterday, I got two runs of 2x4's glued down to make a base for the stud walls. I'm trying out the glue approach to see if I can avoid tapping lag bolts into my slab. If it doesn't come out good, I can always go back and add the lag bolts later.

    This morning, I went out and got the first stud wall put together and in place. I intend to add a few vertical supports to help stabilize the wall at some point, but I ran out of energy to work on that today.

    This will probably be the last update for a couple weeks. I think the next step will be to start ripping plywood, which will take a while

    Stud Wall.jpg
  6. Rob R

    Rob R Member

    No trains in the background............:(
  7. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    At the end of the stub wall and about every 10 -12' along it add diagonal bracing running from just below where the bottom of your lower benchwork joists will be down to a 2x4 foot about 18" long perpendicular to the sill plate of the wall. Do that on both sides of the wall to give it torsional lateral strength. I will try to get you some pictures to show what I am talking about when I get back to KC.
    Ozarktraveler and Iantha_Branch like this.
  8. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I had wondered about doing something like this. I was leaning toward a few braces above to the ceiling as to not interfere with foot space under the benchwork, but my gut has been telling me I'll need something like what you just described. It's a little trial and error on this part.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  9. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    As expected, I didn't have anything new to report until today. I spent what little time I had the past couple weeks ripping plywood. I have enough ripped so far for staging and along the windows. I'll need to rip a few more sheets to a different width before I have what I need for Rosedale.

    I finally had my one (and only) free day for the month to work on things. I didn't even get a full day in, but I was able to add shims to the stud wall an bring it in to square. Then, added the first upright brace since I already had the pieces cut and ready for it. I'm amazed at how stable the wall is now with just the one brace.

    After finishing today's work on the stud wall, I couldn't hold off the itch any longer. I put together the first two pieces of benchwork for the layout. It took a little while to get the first piece set due to starting in a corner and making sure that it's level in both directions. The first narrow piece for staging went up much quicker. I've got some temporary legs attached right now. Ignore them, they'll eventually come off when I add the permanent bracing.

    If I'm lucky, I'll get the rest of the narrow benchwork up for staging before the end of the year. If not, I'll be back in January.

    rjthomas909 and Ozarktraveler like this.
  10. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I was able to come up with another work day today. I spent a little time this morning finishing work on the stud wall. The shims are trimmed back, and the additional bracing has been added. It's pretty sturdy as is, but will need some more bracing outward as Keith suggested. I'll add that in when that stretch of benchwork goes up.
    With the rest of my day, I put together the rest of the narrow benchwork for Kansas City Staging and added a few of the legs that it will need to hold up the other benchwork for 19th St Yard. At a later date I'll add more legs and brace all of them back to the wall. Essentially I plan to make kind of a stud wall out of it to hold up 19th St yard.

    The issue I've been going back and forth with lately is how far do I go with benchwork before I start putting down track? On one hand I am dying to have some track down to operate with. On the other hand, dust from construction will be an issue for anything setting out in the layout room. I do have options to make either choice work. Anyone have input on this one?

    Benchwork 1.jpg
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  11. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Ethan, for any benchwork that is hanging on the wall as pictured above, there is no need for legs, just diagonal knee braces like shown in the attached picture. The knee braces go to the studs in the wall. However, make them run from the edge of the benchwork to the wall.
    Nov 15 2010 Knee Bracing Under SY.JPG
  12. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I've got knee braces in the plans. Let me see if I can word this differently.

    The upper area for KC staging and 19th street yard is being built in two separate segments. The first stretch is staging, which is what I just put up. The second stretch for 19th street will be added later. While I could knee brace the staging benchwork to the wall, I still need something to attach the knee bracing for 19th Street to. The solution I came up with was to use legs instead of knees for staging to essentially create a stud wall for the knee bracing of 19th St to attach to.
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  13. Ozarktraveler

    Ozarktraveler Member

    Looking great!
  14. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    After taking a couple weeks off, I'm finally back to layout construction. I wanted to get back to it Saturday, but my back pain was too severe that day to do anything, so construction was delayed until Sunday. I was able to build the other two frames that will connect over to the stud wall. I set on the plywood tops at the end of today and with that it's finally starting to look like a layout.

    In a previous thread, Keith recommended a set of quick clamps for construction. I wasn't sure how I was going to use them, but I picked up a set anyway. I've gotta say, they are a necessary tool if you're building benchwork by yourself. I later invest in a pair of clamps that will expand out to 36" so I can hold a frame together while I add the cross supports in the middle. A good set of saw horses is handy, I've got a pair on loan from the farm for the time being.

    Jan15 1.jpg

    As I put up this run of benchwork, I had to finally make a decision on how to approach the knee bracing. After thinking it over, I've opted to run it all the way down to the base trim. I know this may look a bit odd, but it's very sturdy and will save a bit on lumber. If I wanted to go higher up like other designs, I would need to run a stringer over the drywall to give something solid to attach to. After I installed a couple, I verified that they will not be in the way of the operator while they set at the layout. If find issues with this design in the future, it can be easily changed.

    Jan15 2.jpg

    To make up for the gap in the wall caused by the window, I built an L girder out of a narrow scrap of plywood. It fits down behind the benchwork, so it's completely hidden. The benchwork is attached to it just like it is to the wall. The L girder is then screwed down through the trim into the 2x6 that makes up the bottom sill of the window frame. This will also make a good base to add a removable backdrop to in the future.

    Jan15 3.jpg

    Jan15 4.jpg
    That's as far as I go for now. I'll have to spend the next few days ripping more plywood down before I go any further.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2024
  15. Recon1342

    Recon1342 Member

    Looks great!

    I don't have the space nor time for a large layout right now, so I build stuff at home and run at the club.

    I'm excited to see this come together.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2024
    Ozarktraveler and Iantha_Branch like this.
  16. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Update time again.

    Previously, I discussed making some L girders to hold up the benchwork along the windows. I built 3 more for the other windows, and this time I took a picture while they were still visible. While ripping down 3" strips for structural use, I often end up with a strip at the end that isn't full width. I'm able to use the bigger waste strips to make these girders. Simply cut them in half to make a 4' section.

    L Grider.jpg

    Further back, I mentioned a bit of an experiment with the partial stud walls for the peninsulas. My idea was to use construction adhesive to secure the bottom run of 2x4s to avoid drilling into my slab if possible. It worked good at first, but with the extreme cold this week the building shifted a bit. The middle run that's already framed up and secured to the ceiling popped right off the slab at some point during week. So, I had to give in and tap lag bolts through the bottom plate into the slab today. I do want to point out for anyone that happens to read this for advice, I would still glue the bottom layer of 2x4s down to start with. It holds things in place while the stud wall is built and installed. However, the concrete lags are required at the end.

    Once I got the concrete lags installed today, I went back to building benchwork. I started with the section on the opposite side of the wall from where I left off Monday. I wanted to get that section on first to tie in the other side of the stud wall and help stabilize it. After getting that stretch secured, I had just enough time to build the first section for the peninsula. I hope to put up a few more sections on that tomorrow.

    Jan19 1.jpg
    Jan19 2.jpg
  17. geep07

    geep07 Member

    With all that cutting of plywood, you might consider on saving the sawdust for scenery such as ground cover.
    Sift it and dye it with different color for each batch. A layout of this size will eat it up.
    Save you some bucks$ in the long run too!

    Iantha_Branch likes this.
  18. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I hadn't ever heard of that before, but it's a wonderful idea. Thank you John.

    I guess this is a good time to discuss a couple more tool items for this thread. To cut my plywood, I'm using a 12" sliding miter saw, a 10" table saw and a 7.25" Circle saw with a rip fence kit. All 3 saws have fine tooth blades designed for cutting plywood. My local hardware store (shout out to Isenhower Lumber in Lamar) carries the Diablo brand of saw blades, so that's the brand I'm using. They've changed the blade models a little since I bought the blades, but I'm using "Ultra Finish" blades which are 80 tooth on the 12" and 10" saws and 60 tooth on the circ saw. I don't see it on the packaging anymore, but they use to advertise that it leaves a smooth finish equivalent to high grit sand paper, and I've gotta say that it's actually better than advertised. A more "standard" 40 tooth blade will get the job done, but the cut will splinter really bad and you won't have smooth edges to work with. The higher tooth blades are well worth the price to get cleaner cuts.

    In addition to that, I also wanted to mention I've kept a shop vac plugged into the dust port of which ever saw I'm using to help contain that mess. About 80% of the saw dust generated by the table and miter saws is trapped by the shop vac. I do want to point out that while the shop vac helps, it is still a good idea to wear some sort of face covering while operating the saws.

    To circle back around to the ground cover idea, using the finer tooth blades also results in finer saw dust. Now that John mentioned it, the pile of saw dust that I have gathered up on the floor is about the same consistency as model ground turf. I'll have to see what I can do to put some green coloring in it and reuse it.
  19. geep07

    geep07 Member

    Don't stick to greens, use tans and browns too!
  20. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Absolutely. I can see a few shades of brown and tan in my saw dust pile, so I shouldn't need any dye on that side of things.
    gjslsffan likes this.

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