Tuesday, February 18, 2020

M&N Expands -New Benchwork, Track, Industry, Town

After a steady build of freight cars to expand the freight car fleet I thought it time to start the new town addition I have thought about and planned to expand the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company.  The new branch line begins at Tunnel City and will end in a new town called Randolph.  The new branch line will be added in three phases.  When all three phases are complete the new branch line will be 10 feet 6 inches long.

Tunnel City prior to mainline.
(Click or tap on this or any photo to enlarge.)

Phase one consisted of adding a benchwork addition of 2 feet long x 2 1/4 inches wide to existing benchwork.  The addition was made with 5/8 inch plywood cut to size and added to existing L-girder benchwork with wood biscuits and a biscuit joiner.  Homasote 1/2” thick was  glued to the top of the 5/8 inch plywood with Titebond II Premium yellow wood glue.  

Benchwork for mainline added.

Phase two consisted of building a 18 inches long and  14 inches wide addition using L-girder benchwork to extend the new main line added in phase one and add an industry.  Again 5/8 inch plywood  with a top of 1/2 inch homasote was added to complete the benchwork.   

New L-Girder benchwork with portion of  plywood top.

New benchwork painted.

The new wood benchwork was painted with a black latex paint while the homasote was painted with a tan latex paint purchased at the home improvement store.  The paint color was matched to existing paint used when existing benchwork was built.    

New benchwork with painted homasote added to complete benchwork.

The addition added allowed me to cut in the Shinohara No. 6 turnout in the existing Tunnel City siding to begin the new mainline.  Before spiking down the new turnout I put down Midwest cork for track grade for the new main line.

Midwest cork nailed for grade to lay track on.

After the cork was down Shinohara track was spiked into position and ballasted.   The ballast is a mix of white and black sand used to make sand casting molds from a foundry in Minneapolis, Minn.

The addition of the new turnout required the existing M&N team track be moved down the track to the location that had been occupied by Rundgren Coal.   Rundgren Coal was moved to the other side of Lester’s Feed Mill on new extended siding section added in phase two.  

Team track moved to prior location of Rundgren Coal and Rundgren
Coal moved to new location  the other side of  Lester"s Feed Mill.

Rundgren Coal in new location.

The new benchwork allowed me to extend the existing siding to add another industry and the mainline started in phase one.  The new building, Sawhorse Millwork  is Design Preservation Models, kit #103, Scissor Company with additions made from the extra parts box.  Black sandpaper was used to cover the white styrene provided in the kit for the two roofs.  The building brick was painted with Floquil Earth, R81, the stone with Polly S Mud, PF67, and the windows and doors with Floquil D&H Gray, 10150.  None of these paints are no-longer available.  The building brick after drying for several weeks was coated with hydrocal plaster with dry tempera paint pigment mixed in to give a building better looking brick.

After siding extended new industry added.

New industry on extended siding.

New industry painted with dock built from parts in extra
parts kit box and dock roof  also from extra parts box added.

Other side of new industry.

Scenery on the new benchwork is Woodland Scenics blended turf, Green Blend, T49, applied out of a spice jar with shaker top (holes in top plastic inside cover) over a white glue and water mix with detergent added.  The roads are common shifted sand and black dirt applied shifted through a tea strainer over again a white glue and water mix with liquid detergent added.  The blended turf base was covered with static grass at a later date.  The Woodland Scenics flag and pole were added after turf had dried overnight.

Hydrocal with dry paint pigment applied to building and
static grass has been applied.

Phase three will be the town of Randolph, a module on wheels section 6 feet long 14 inches wide with an additional flip up section 1' long x 14" wide.  The addition will be stored behind the crew lounge couch and rolled into position and clamped to the phase two addition for operating sessions.  I hope to complete the benchwork and lay the track on the moving module by the end of April.  The new addition will have a run around to which Chicago Great Western, CGW, Interchange will connect and  an industry siding with three industries: Food Producers, glass plant, yet to be named, and a third industry yet to be decided.  At this time the flip up addition is still in planning stage.

Track plan for module addition.

I will post phase three work when completed.

Thank You for taking time to read my blog.  You can share a comment in the section below if you choose to do so.  Please share the blog link with other model railroaders.

Lester Breuer


  1. Les, well thought out, thank you for sharing your build and finish process. It sounds like this will be a little more work for Tunnel City and you will have another job (CGW?) coming off your module. Nice way to add a little operation but a great way to explore more modeling. Thanks, Ken