Inspiration strikes in the strangest places. The other day, while entering the spare bedroom, I was struck at the silhouette image of a train in the staging yard against the south window. This evening, I set up a few locomotives and grain cars and had at it against the afternoon sky. With a little Photoshop magic wand action, I was able to tranform what was a piece of plywood, some track and a few models into an image of a 49 Class locomotive, FWH grain wagons in tow, trundling back to Narrabri ahead of a summer thunderstorm in 1979.
I'd never been there, certainly not 29 years ago, but through the magic of good models, a digital camera, and some computer software, anything is possible.
It just gets better. After asking "what of?" on an internet discussion board, one theory was put forth that the helix flattened out where benchwork sections were spliced together prior to assembly atop the risers. This seemed to make sense, especially when I noted that splicer plates were stacked three-levels right atop each other. . . and their locations coincided with the dreaded "flat-spot." I didn't have flattening problems with roadbed sections "field joined" atop spacer blocks. So, back to the beginning. I've stripped the helix off the base, will reset the sub-roadbed risers, and reconstruct the helix roadbed, staggering the splices, using 1/4 plywood for the splice plates, and measuring the rise once again to see that the grade remains more consistent. I'm determined to get this right, despite the additonal hassle.