Chapter 4. Of Tunnels and Trapezoids
The silly little tunnel at the corner of the layout actually consumed far more mental wrestling that it would seem to deserve, yet I struggled for the better part of an afternoon trying to settle on a satisfactory construction method. The sticking point was that I had no more Gatorfoam or lauan ply. After much scrounging and head-scratching, I came across a sturdy double-ply cardboard box, and voilą! "Cardboard?" some readers might exclaim. Well, as it happens, I'd used this technique back in the 1970s on my first White River & Northern, and it was perfectly adequate (and thus the exercise served as something of a nostalgia trip).
After installing supports made from 1½" wide wood trim, I sprayed the tunnel area flat black. Then I glued the cardboard to the supports. It took far less time to finish than it did to figure out!
Mounting the bus track flat atop the tunnel would have created harsh, awkward grades, so I cut slots in the cardboard to allow the track to assume smooth, natural slopes down each side.
Then, I made sloped roadbed by cutting long, skinny cardboard trapezoids and gluing them under cardboard strips to make ramps.
By happy accident, the cardboard also offered one other benefit: it's exactly the same thickness as the bus track, so I can easily bring all of the structures and scenery up flush with the roadway surface. I'm really glad I found that box!
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