Yep, it all started with a few minor changes. First it was just to add a mountain at the far left and also one at the far right of the back of the layout. This was to do two things - (1) fill in the corners which are hard to reach and (2) add a decent sized piece of scenery to the layout.
We used the normal density polystyrene foam to build up the mountains and then carved them to look like mountains with gullies and such. Once that was done we used a sloppy plaster mix and dipped "Chux" cloth pieces into it and then dropped these all over to build up a nice hard shell.
As we were doing this we decided that the outside mainline across the back of the layout, which was only at about 50 mm above the ground level on the layout, should be raised higher to give better 3 dimensional viewing and variety. So out came the hot wire cutter and pile of 50 mm polystyrene foam we had. So began the making of our own zig zag shaped risers. It worked out quite easy once we made a guide or jig to ensure that we ended up with straight cuts to make the risers and flats pieces. Once cut, you just sit down and cut all the zips and zags into the riser with the hot wire cutter so it can bend around corners (quite relaxing job in fact). All our foam work is glued down using "Selleys Liquid Nails Fast" which is the water based one and hence safe of the foam.
So the track at the back was lifted and then more of it as the plan changed slightly to allow for a more easier incline of no more than 3½ percent in a couple of places. By now it was the Christmas holiday period of 2007 and I decided to put a big effort in and we then decided the second mainline was to be lifted so it too could be raised above its then ground level to run at about 50 mm above ground and then the third mainline was lifted so it also could get some height and all three also not run parallel everywhere (was looking like a toy trainset at times) - we needed variety. So more risers were cut and zig zags cut out. As more and more track got looked at, it got lifted. I think in the end there might have been maybe a 2 metre section of one track that was left of the whole lot.
Luckily the club still had the older exhibition layout setup and able to be used for running our trains on whilst this "minor" work went ahead on the main layout.
Come March of 2008, the return at the left end of the layout had the plastering done on top of the foam risers. We used the same "Chux" and plaster method over the risers to strengthen them. Later we'd cork over the top of them. This are was designated as needing a small industry to be added at a later date and hence a siding or yard to also be added.
The left hand mountain had also grown and was showing great potential for a good scene when completed.
The wooden framework for the river had been completed by the end of March and the rough foam blocks carved and glued down.
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