These last several months I've made tremendous progress on my model railroad. I got a large section of the benchwork done and lately I've been focusing on constructing the helix and associated subroadbed. All is moving along well, slowly, but well. It's hard to find large chunks of time with the kids around, but during naptime on weekends I can steal away for 2-4 hours and get some work done. Also, there is definitely a learning curve here. I've never constructed a layout of this complexity and type therefore I'm constantly referring to notes, websites, magazines & books and friends for advice. The process has been really fun and I just hope I can get trains up and running before we move out of this house some day!
This past weekend I spent some time installing a bridge which carries the track from the base of the helix through the wall to the main layout room. This was particularly tricky because I was working in a tiny space under the stairs and had to make a template for the curved roadbed. The solution was to use a piece of masonite about 16"x20" which I drew on and then slid to the side and drew the rest of the template. Then back in the main room where I had more space I recreated the alignment and used some plastic tubing to create a nice curve. I then cut the bridge piece with the jigsaw and it fit like a glove.
I also spent a few hours putting up the risers for the masonite spline subroadbed which I will use in most of the open single track areas of the layout. I have wanted to use the spline method since the beginning and I decided on Masonite after considering pine due to fact that I have a lot of it around and it bends so nicely. There is a really nice Masonite spline HOWTO writeup online at BCSJ.org . Check out the website; there are some fantastic shots and tips on there.