Building the Hitop Part 2

For those that have or can obtain the January through June 2012 issues of Model Railroader, this will be easy to visualize. For those that don’t, please bear with me here. The next step after cutting out the plywood base, was to actually mount it onto the frame.

We kept the rounded “bulge” where the support for “Hunter(s) Mountain” was in MR’s plan at first. However, I had decided not to kitbash the girder bridge that MR used, and had decided to move the main mine building closer to the front of the layout, so as to get all three tracks into the mine (Walther’s New River kit). Model Railroader also kitbashed the mine and only used two tracks. In place of the bridge I decided to place a Peco curved switch in the middle of the where the bridge would have been, so as to get more cars into the siding there, but more on this later. After mounting the plywood base, I decided to have the “bulge” taken off. I must add here that this bulge to help support the mountain was elevated and attached within the curve. Once taken out, it was mounted flat to the rest of the plywood base in which it came out of in the photo here:


With this, and moving the mountain and mine closer to the front, I also did away with the little valley under the bridge that MR had in their plan. Below are photos of the base mounted onto the frame:

As you can see, some risers are in. What we did, and by we meaning Tom Carnahan and I, had to play with blocks of wood as shown to adjust the grade going up the branch, so as to make it as easy a climb as possible. We definitely didn’t want a 4-5% grade! As it was, the grade actually starts on the front curve of the branch before it even hits the tunnel, shown here:


It may be a bit difficult to tell, but you might be able to see the slight grade variation on the branch track on the right, as opposed to the mainline on the left. The grade really starts in earnest after exiting this tunnel on the far side, and just past the road crossing into Hitop proper. Btw, those that have the March 2016 issue of MR will see in my article on the layout a track diagram/plan. After a days work, we got all the risers in and screwed down as shown here at the end of the line (branch).


After the risers were in, then it was my turn to take the wheel and start laying cork and track. At this time, I must say that I had a wait until enough cork could be obtained, as there was a worldwide shortage of cork, and none could be found anywhere in the states. I understand at the time that several countries were buying up all the supplies for whatever reason. As you can see above, I had quite the bit of cork stacked up and ready to go, but still had a wait until more could be found.

With this, I’ll end here until next time, when I start actually laying the cork and track. Stay tuned…



  1. Hey quick question for building the top, would this be able to be done with woodland Scenics incline projects? or do you think the wood would be a better option?

    and also for the plywood are you actually bending it slightly to create the curve, sorry for the noob questions


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