Here I describe how we found the starting elevation for the layout. For other topics, click on the text links below.

The Roadbed Factory

Super-elevating the curves

Finding the layout's "Zero," or starting, elevation

How we determined the correct track height where we started construction: 

Before construction could begin, I needed to base all the elevations on the lowest point in the basement ceiling. That point is the beam that can be seen in the top of this picture - about as far from the spot where construction would begin as possible, of course! So how do I translate that elevation to the construction area? Walt (the guy on the left side of the photo) and I took a soon-to- be-crossbeam 1X3 and set it up under the beam. We put a spring clamp on it, then laid a level across it and over to a photographer's tripod, as you see.  We adjusted everything so that the top of the level was at the railhead elevation under the beam. We adjusted the tripod until the level was......level. We now had a level sighting bar.


Then we just sighted down the level and marked the spot on the far wall, where construction was to begin. This photo is just slightly offset so you can see everything clearly. That's Walt again, pointing to the spot on the wall - you won't see much of me, because I'm just not very photogenic. We both checked the spot, to make sure we saw the same thing. After we agreed, we measured down from the "reference" elevation, and we had our benchwork height in the alcove! Just so you can orient yourself, the alcove is where the helix will be located, and Douglas and Glenrock will be on the wall going off the picture to the left.


Construction Methods