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Peter's Model Railroading | The Layout | Stops | The Hazel Mine Complex | Hazel Mine Tipple
Tipple Incline Construction

The tipple's coal supply arrived via 42-inch-gauge tracks up an incline that spanned the distance between the mine entrance and the main tipple building itself. This was built over the Chartiers creek. Due to the overall length of my module being fixed, I am going to have to reduce the space available for the incline in my model by 10 scale feet, or 1-7/8". This means it will be slightly steeper. This is really the only "major" compromise I had to make to make this model fit my module. The "Tipple Support Construction 2" article covered the construction up to and including the left-most full bay shown in this diagram. This article will cover the construction of the framing for the rest of what is shown in this diagram, excluding the abutments and the mine entrance portal (so that the framing can be painted).

I added the last bay to my original CAD design. I had intentions to design the incline and make it part of this CAD drawing, but that would take a lot of my time to do, so this is where the CAD drawing will stop.

The next "bay" of the tipple support structure was built on the workbench, but in a similar manner to how the rest of the support structure was built, except that it only has two left-to-right sections, as opposed to three. Since this one does not directly support the main building (it functions more as a landing zone for the incline), I decided to build it on the workbench as that greatly simplified the construction process itself.

It was then just a simple matter of gluing it to the back of the support structure. The unused concrete footer will be removed at some point in the future.

The next step is to start building the framing for the support of the section that is going to span the Chartiers creek. Looking at the prototype design diagram I have, I decided to put two temporary plywood boards into the positions of the abutments. My plan is to build the support structure such that it rests on the boards during the actual construction. Then, when it is all built, it is my hope that it will be strong enough to where I can carefully remove the plywood boards, so that I can paint the whole framework of the support structure before continuing the final detailing of the model. The boards are at about the correct vertical height. The support structure above the creek sits at about an additional six feet above the ground surface, which is what the top of the boards represents. The front board (left in the photo) is a reasonable match to the abutment that will sit there, as far as height and front-to-back depth of the abutment. The rear board is only there to match the height. The final abutment that I will put there will start at about where the plywood board ends at the back. The tunnel portal to the mine will sit right behind that abutment. In the prototype there is about a 23-foot spacing between the front of the abutment and the front of the tunnel portal, but my module isn't long enough to support that, so there will be some compression for space in the things modeled in the back of this module. I attached the plywood boards with just a couple of drops of superglue; enough to hold them in place, but easy enough to dislodge when I'm done building the structure.

I built the last "bay" of the tipple support structure itself. Similar to the above one, I built this one on the workbench. It is different from the others in that it doesn't have any crossbracing in the bottom section. Presumably, this is so that people can easily walk under it. An interesting story about this construction is that the center beam (vertical in this orientation) wound up being glued, with superglue, at an angle instead of perpendicular. I discovered that a few hours later and decided that I couldn't live with that. So, I proceeded to try to break it loose (this was before all of the crossbracing was installed). I really had to put some force on it, all the while being worried about damaging other parts. Eventually it broke. But, not at the glue joint, but rather the ABS about a 1/16" away from the joint broke! Wow, the glue joint is stronger than the material itself! I was then able to re-glue it back in position, but this time a much more straight.

I attached it to the rest of the support structure's framing using superglue. This one rests on, what will eventually become, the front abutment of the creek. I temporarily put the main building on the support structure, because I needed to determine the sloping of the incline and how that impacted this last bay (it doesn't).

There are a total of 128 pieces installed to construct just the last two bays.

This is the top view of the incline over the creek. The two tracks are 42-inch gauge for the mine cars. The cars are pulled (left/top) and lowered (right/bottom) by chains. You can see that the two abutments are wider than the incline. Using the scale of the diagram, it appears the width of the incline itself is about 16 feet. To the right of the incline is a walkway that allows employees to walk across the creek. This is only on the bottom level. Because my model had to compress the length of the incline, the actual span of the bottom framing will be a scale 71'8" long. So, the first step to building this incline framework, is to build the bottom one that measures 71'8" x 16'.

I built the bottom section of the incline's frame using the same scale 1-foot-square H-column ABS that I used for the main support structure. Although I had ordered only enough materials for the tipple support structure itself, I wound up having enough left over to build this entire incline framework as well. The next step was to cut the 2'x2' gussets and glued them into the corners. I then put some 2"x4" crossbracing strips of styrene between them.

This photo shows the approximate position of where this incline will sit. I have not yet attached the bottom frame to the rest of the structure; that will come later.

The top frame was built in a similar manner. Obviously, because it sits at an angle to the bottom frame, it is longer, and its ends were filed down to meet the slope to the bottom frame.

The rest of this support framework of the incline will be built in-place, so I glued the top frame to the bottom frame. Weights are used to keep the bottom frame in its intended position, and metal squares are used to make sure that the position of the top frame is directly over the position of the bottom frame. At the top, where the top frame meets the interior of the main building, it had to be close to the side of the building. At the bottom, the bottom frame is offset from the (what will be the right) edge of the support structure.

Here is a different view of the set-up.

This photo shows the view from the other (left) side of the module (from the back of the module toward the front-right).

The vertical supports were built up using the same vertical H-column ABS strips that were used in the rest of the support structure. Spanning between these vertical columns are 1/8" (8 scale inch) I-beams. To those I attached scale 18"-square gussets made out of styrene sheet. To those gussets I added L-girders to act as crossbraces.

The next step is to install the horizontal I-beams between the vertical frame members, as per the prototype drawing. To ensure that they are all even with each other and on both sides, I built this wooden jig. I used some lightweight spring clamps (plastic clothespins) to hold the jig in position. This allowed me to measure, cut, and place the 18" I-beams in position, before applying glue to the joints.

All six, three on each side, of these horizontal I-beams have now been installed. The wooden jig I cut apart with a pair of cutters, and then carefully remove it. It was a lot of work just to get these six pieces installed, but now that it is done, it was worth it, because they are all even.

The final step in the construction of the framework of the incline was to cut and install gussets, and then cut and glue some crossbraces. Their shape and position matches the prototype engineering drawing shown at the top of this page.

The incline framework was built out of 168 individual pieces of ABS and styrene.