This project might have some indoor applications for construction of viaducts and other structures that could be built with plaster, hydrocal and other materials. As you know I model O gauge outside but in 7/8" scale or 1:13.7, representing 18" gauge industrial lines found in US and worldwide (there are dozens of these lines).
For many months now, I?ve been thinking about building an aqueduct, pouring over thousands of photos of them from around the world. The Roman-type caught my eye, as when I was in Israel about 6 years ago, I saw the one at Caesarea and some tiny ones elsewhere.
Also in my research, I came across a few that had or have tracks on them and some that even have boats. How ideal, I thought. I immediately went to work doodling and thinking how I could bring this to fruition. I thought about the 2 and 3-tiered Roman aqueducts, but since my yard is rather tiny, I didn?t want something that overwhelming in scale so decided to make it just one tier and without too many embellishments.
I was going to internally wire lighting inside the cement (similar to some stamped concrete patios that contain lighting on the sides), but decided not to do electrical, instead, going solar later.
I already have a canal, so about half of the canal is/will be incorporated into the aqueduct. Anyway, here?s an overview of the plan (I?ve also included prototype photos):
A powerful waterpump (which I have) pumps water from a lower containment pond about 10 feet in the air to a hillside about 40 or so feet away. The water exits the corrugated tube and flows downhill in a waterfalls to a small mountain pond, then exits through a flu or flume, carried to the aqueduct. The aqueduct itself loops completely around in a sort of lopsided pear shape and water from a water barrel and from a downspout feeds fresh water to it at intervals.
The aqueduct is navigated by self-powered barges and other barges that are pulled by rope by 7/8 scale critters on 32 mm track. Each side of the aqueduct will contain 32 mm track which may have a crossover lift bridge. The tracks will also have inclines which will bring them about 20 inches or so from the top of the aqueduct to ground level.
Anyway, the water exits the aqueduct through a sluiceway into the existing canal in a pond. The water will turn a giant waterwheel (which I built) as it exits. Then, the water flows through the lower canal over 3 cascades, back into the containment pond housing the pump.
That?s not all. The upper existing canal, which runs under a portion of the planned aqueduct will be turned into a marsh with marsh plants growing around and under the aqueduct and adding some greenery to the sides.
As to construction, I?m trying to get an old concrete deteriorating look like one might see on a Roman aqueduct. You can see I succeeded in this. I?m coating the inside of the forms with long beads of hot wax so the impressions will leave mortar lines which can be left as is or mortared later with a different color. Also, some of the forms have fancy grooves, cut by my sled router so to create protruding lines. The concrete has charcoal dye added to give a darker hue.
I?m using corner bead for rebar since it doesn?t appear to rust. There?s a cross-piece embedded in the cement which you can?t see. Some clay is attached to each side. Plan is to break the 1/16? coating of cement and remove the clay so the ?rebar? is exposed, then, when the new concrete is poured in sections, the cement will adhere to the rebar. As well, I?m going to spray the old surface with Concrete adhesive as an added precaution.
The arch will have flexible plastic cardboard forms, also beaded with hot wax. Inside will be a temporary PVC arch and earth above and below it, contoured to shape. The crown of the arch will contain block or bricks aligning with the curve which I cast using plastic/PVC forms from Lowe?s and Pep Boys.
The height of each aqueduct will be in the neighborhood of 20 inches. It is being carefully checked with a laser level, which I used for the first time ever. It?s pretty neat.
Anyway, it?s a lot of exercise hauling 80 and 100 lb bags of concrete and I lost a few pounds of fat doing it.
I?ll provide updates for the next 8 months or so as this is a project that will probably take longer than my canal. It actually will.
I plan to do about 20 feet and start pumping in water, creating a mortar dam at each end which can be cut away as other new sections expand. That way, I can get the water moving and test everything out to see if I need a waterproof coating of some type. A liner would be a last resort.
Then comes construction of barges and punts and many other things, including 2 railroads running on each side of the aqueduct using code 197 rails which I purchased (brass). Trains will be 7/8 scale or 1:13.7 on 32mm track for a gauge of 18 inches. The entire aqueduct will have a loop of something in the neighborhood of 100 feet. Each linear foot of construction takes about three 80 lb bags of cement.
You can see dirt fill, which is removed once the concrete has cured.
My design is not any particular prototype but takes bits here and there from many prototypes.