Construction photos


Fascia is now installed along the grade between Linnwood and Mount Union. A girder viaduct will wrap around the aluminum box tube installed above one of the Kayford valley emergency exits.

MP234 was a favorite railfanning spot on the last layout. It will be replicated here in grander form, along the outside of the Kayford lobe. The cutouts are emergency access hatches that will be covered by removable scenery.

Vince and David started laying rails in Linwood, home of the perpetual thunderstorm.


On September 26, 2015 progress includes fascia installation in the isolated Kayford Valley. There was a need to trim existing fascia outside of the long Kayford “people tunnel” to blend into the valley.

In this spot there will be a single track truss bridge. David makes a low cut near the bottom of the steep valley.

David has a gift to visualize a scene in his head or on paper before he starts building. Once construction starts in 3D, it is time to rough-in areas on the layout to receive that vision. Here we see a sketch he made that expresses his thoughts before refining a portion of the layout between Jackson and Glenn Forge. This is a spot that will receive a concrete “tie” retaining wall.


So why are these guys grinning? The structural elements of the Ohio River Bridge are now in place! The route is dead level and perfectly aligned with approaches on either side. The welded aluminum beams will be removed for painting, then they will be bolted all the way down.

Vince holds one of his urethane detail castings against the aluminum beam.

Bill (not shown) and David roughed-in the Antioch & Dover’s tunnel portal at Union Gap, which will lead to a 2 track staging yard inside the Kayford lobe. Murphy helped too as the tunnel runs right through a stud inside the partition wall.

A view blocking mountain takes shape railroad north of the Ohio River Bridge and Jackson interlocking. By extending upwards to the ceiling, it prevents tracks on the opposite side of the aisle from competing with the view of locomotives grinding up this ruling grade. It will also block a bank of track lights. The Ohio River Bridge starts about 15 feet behind the camera.

The ruling grade between the far side of this mountain and the Glenn Forge people tunnel becomes a separate scene. This will make the run feel longer and produce a heightened sense of the railroad “going somewhere.”

The two upper tracks with wide tie spacing are NYC staging and will be hidden by a hillside.


A giant milestone was reached on Saturday, November 7, 2015. David tightened the bolts that hold the aluminum structural members for the Ohio River bridge down for “keeps.” Barring an unforeseen reason, the big screws won’t come out again for the life of the layout. :smiley:

Next to David’s hands is a short stack of Vince’s reference photos of OC Bridge in Pittsburgh, used as inspiration for his build in urethane of the massive O-scale bridge’s superstructure.

The top of the aluminum box sections have been covered with a thin veneer of wood that David cut on his table saw. On these he will lay the bridge ties, tie plates and rails. Once that is finished, and pipe details are added to the side to carry DCC bus wires to the end behind the camera, trains will run across the bridge (no fear!) even though it will be a high wire act without a net. :smiley:

Inside are laminations of black styrene, the purpose for which should become clear as the bridge build progresses. Here we look north across the Ohio River. That’s Ohio on the far side and CP Jackson in the background. Not visible: David painted the bottom of the aluminum box sections flat black. Once that was accomplished, the bridge could be permanently bolted in place.

Here’s the view across the bridge heading south. In the foreground Vince plans a pin-connected truss that connects to the main bridge over the navigable river channel.

In the background, through the arched “people tunnel” Vince builds turnouts in dimly-lit Linnwood, the last major town on the layout to be built. This is a spot formerly known as “Darwin”, a/k/a where “the sun don’t shine” because that room perpetually experiences a raging thunderstorm.


Just … WOW!

I’m sitting here recalling the point when we started on the layout, thinking how far off it was to reach the bridge going in. And now…we are there!!!

I can just about imagine the trains rolling across that trestle!

Fantastic work guys.


Craig that is going to be of the stunning scenes in model railroading today.

Regards Daryl Blake


I think you are right Daryl.

Honestly, I think what David does with his layouts is northing short of amazing and nothing that I have seen done on other layouts. The use of people tunnels really gives the operators a sense of different journeys along the way. If I had just a bit of more space on my layout, I really wanted to try to pull that off as well. That being said, I still kept a lot of things in mind based off what I have learned from David.

Can’t wait for fire up the ole Soldering iron and lay some solder on the feeder drops :slightly_smiling:

Until then…back to the car cards for my layout :smiley: hehehehe


Today, December 5 2015 was another landmark day on the A&O. Today Vince glued the first of his cast urethane bridge parts to the giant Ohio River bridge. :smiley:

Shortly after I arrived, Vince explained what he planned to do. I was in awe watching a master of urethane casting explain his art. “I’m not worthy!” :laughing:

Vince further showed how an upper styrene part of a floor joist would meet with a vertical member at a knee brace. The styrene part in David’s hand will serve as the top member of that floor joist. These should be just visible as they are sandwiched between two ties and sit at below rail level. Normally the top of the joist I-beam would thinner horizontally but that detail won’t be visible in the model.

Next Vince got serious, and pulled out the bottle of ACC glue. Hint time: when he wants to apply a very small, controlled amount of ACC along a seam, he uses a fine needle which he drags through wet glue then he transfers the glue to the joint.

Since 3 photos is the limit in the A&O forums, proceed to the next post.


The bridge build went smoothly. Here Vince has the first two girder sections in place.

By the end of the afternoon there were four completed girders on the north end of the truss bridge section.

All I did today was install a couple more control panels, built by David, which I previously stuffed with any necessary internal parts.

I also found and fixed 3 cross-wired rail power drops between two New York Central staging tracks, the wiring mistakes most likely my own. :blush:


Holy…Cow. Those castings look amazing!!! Excellent work Vince.

So which panels did you install Bob? In the Kayford area?


The castings really have amazing detail. It just proves there are no shortcuts to excellence, as soon as you start cutting corners the quality of the end product suffers. This bridge is going to be the money shot we see in all the publications…but then again, the entire layout will be a work of art in all aspects. I’ll bet you have all the major mags chomping at the bit. Nice job guys!



Thanks for the kind comments 'yall. Vince is literally a Master at making and casting urethane parts. He won several First Place awards at NMRA nationals, including a “Best in Show”. How did I get so lucky to have railroad friends like the A&O gang?! I only hope my scenery can do his bridgework justice.

And yes, I’ve been approached by the mags, but they’ll just have to wait. I’ve got a railroad to build and article work takes time. I do believe there will be a photo in the soon-to-be-released 2016 MRP in an article by Jeff Kraker, however.

Thanks for staying tuned to this LONG journey we’ve been on. Eight years next month. Wow.



Here’s a peek at Vince’s CAD planning drawing for the bridge. This is of course very low resolution, but it should give a rough idea of the main span and the north-end pin-connected truss. Also keep in mind that this is a work in process.

More progress!

For many years Vince built spectacular urethane masters of Frisco freight cars, from original Frisco drawings, for Sunshine Models.

According to my copy of QCAD (a free open-source 2D package) the main span is 70 inches long! :open_mouth:


Yes Sir, you have the best of the best in your group. And everyone seems to be dedicated to the same high standard in their field of expertise. I’m always amazed a the skill sets, professionalism and artistic abilities of the A&O gang. Truly an amazing group.



Yikes, it has been about two months since the last update. At the moment there is little new to see.

After Christmas Mark and Craig Linn attached most of the rail drops in the last town to be wired, Linnwood. This is the “rain room” and at best lighting is dim. Craig uses a headband light to see what he’s doing.

David started detailing the long Kayford people tunnel liner to give the appearance of ShotCrete. For this he attached crumpled window screen wire and coated a portion with gray tinted drywall mud. In person the mud looks very dark and realistic.

On either side of the tunnel are emergency exit crawlspaces that will be hidden by easy-to-push panic doors. At the moment they serve as quick shortcuts.


Another milestone! By David’s measure scenery has officially begun! :grinning:

Of course there have been small pockets of scenery done elsewhere—Willow Creek/Taft staging, some details in Havens yard, and the long train and people tunnels in the Kayford Valley (photo just above in previous post.)

Red rosin paper on cardboard lattice went on the wall in Mount Union this last Sunday. Today I found David slinging Hydrocal plaster into rock molds.

David blends individual castings together with extra plaster that he hand carves with a chisel and hammer before it fully hardens.

Meanwhile (not shown) I wired the last of six DCC power boosters in Linnwood. Although there are still many rail drops to connect, most of the area now has power.


Today Vince showed off his first assembled section for the pin-connected truss on the Ohio side of the river. The lacy detail is amazing.


I have watched with anticipation and amazement as the A&O has developed. Yes David, you are blessed with a VERY talented group of craftsman. I can hardly wait to see what appears in the coming months.

David Matheny
Columbus, OH


After browsing through recent A&O work session photos, I came across this one from February 2016. Bill Wood donned his hard hat to “ShotCrete” the lining of the long Kayford branch operator’s tunnel inside Cathedral Peak. The gray drywall mud turns a lighter color when dry.

This work is a lot safer than that done by most of my relatives and perhaps Bill’s. My uncles worked in the anthracite coal mines in northeastern PA. Even still, Bill takes no chances against a rock fall. He doesn’t want to encounter a “widowmaker” above his head!


It has been a month since the last update, so here goes.

Bill Wood demonstrated proper table saw safety while using a push stick to rip narrow strips of scrap cardboard (mat board) on the table saw. The paper dust is flying, because scenery landform work has begun!

These strips were stapled and hot glued together to form landform basic shapes in River Gorge. A few clothes pins kept the strips together while the hot glue quickly cooled.