“We might have to jack hammer…”

Today, I came really close to throwing in the towel on this hobby.

Really, really close.

Our house, circa 1885, has been suffering from a slow drain. Last week, I reported that the plumber had successfully passed a snake through the sewer pipe running under the house. The problem, it seemed, was outside – under the front yard. It was probably a tree issue.

Digging commenced Friday and tree roots were indeed discovered. The original, 1885 drain was removed and new pipe was laid as far as the city service – although the city will have to come to clear their part of the system, as it has also been compromised by tree roots.

That said, all was looking good until one last inspection of the system. The inspection camera was shoved into the floor drain at the end of the Port Rowan peninsula. It got about 20.5 feet, then disappeared into water – about 18 inches ahead of the camera that took this image:
 photo SewerCam_zps0efbaa57.jpg

20.5 feet – minus a few feet for going down the floor drain pipe – turned out to be right under the apple orchard in Port Rowan:
 photo Sewer-Orchard-01_zpsd6962a6e.jpg

The measurement was confirmed with a locator and for a while – for far too long, in fact – it seemed that the only solution would be to break into the concrete basement floor to have a closer look and replace the offending section of pipe. And since jack-hammering can’t be done sitting down, breaking into the floor would’ve required chopping apart the layout along the lines in this image:
 photo Sewer-Orchard-02_zpsffacc842.jpg

Note that the space between the lines includes four turnouts, plus the derail, plus the built-in-one-piece-for-smooth-transitions incline for the coal track.

“Cool train set, by the way,” says the plumber. “Can I see it run?”

“You can if you can fix the drain without digging up the floor.”

Fortunately – after much prodding and probing – the crew determined that the drain was in fact operating as it should. Water flowed well. A snake declared the drain clear, and several flushes and utility sinks full of water confirmed it. The camera was merely getting caught on some sediment at a bend in the pipe, which the flushing helped clear.

Crisis averted.

I do not have to take up découpage.

I remain a model railway enthusiast.

I’m off to pour a single malt, to raise a toast to my plumbers.