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The Commitment is Looking Serious The Frankfort Terminal Railroad joins the big boys. The mulch and some dirt is dug out to make way for the "crusher fines" ballast. The intent was to dig down a minimal amount, about an inch, and fill in with ballast. However, the combination of deeper mulch than expected, along with the need to trench in some places for wiring, meant the trench was generally two to three inches.
Above - May 20, 2009 - This was the learning stretch. The jumper wires are sticking up in the middle of the picture. Above - May 20, 2009 - The Garden Boss came up with the idea of using the bricks to prop up the track while digging the trench and dumping the ballast. It worked much better than trying to mark the mulch and remove the track.  Above - May 20, 2009 - Burying the jumper wires down the main line to the far end. Above - May 20, 2009 - Seventy-year-old knees can only can stand this for short periods..... Above - May 20, 2009 - ....but a steady pace got this toughest stretch finished. The plastic sheets under the switches will be trimmed during final ballast.
Above - May 27, 2009 - The "Utility Cabinet" connection box was moved away from the dangerous "outside the curve" location to a straight. Additional jumper wires, which supply power out to the ends of the two loops, were connected to each end of the power supply track using Split Jaw "over the track joiner" connectors. On the right above is the West Loop supply. Above - May 27, 2009 - This is the other end of the power supply track with power going to the South Loop. The wires go over the tie to keep the bare connection out of the ballast. The rest of the wire will be buried during final ballast. Above - May 27, 2009 - This is the West Loop termination. Above - May 27, 2009 - The South Loop termination. Note that I was still using the Split Jaw over-the -rail track connectors. Bad idea! I strongly suggest that you use the Split Jaw connectors that completely replace the slide-on connectors. They are more work that the over-the-connector type but work MUCH better.
"Final" Ballast Although any experienced outdoor railroader will tell you that laying ballast is never totally finished, the pix below show our railroad with the initial round of ballasting completed.
Above - May 29, 2009 - The South Loop with completed ballast. Above - May 29, 2009 - Ballast around the bird bath and into the West Loop. Above - May 29, 2009 - The crossover is finished. Above - May 29, 2009 - The chief gardener is getting anxious, the first miniature plants have been brought on scene.
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