To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Starting the Next Chicago and Utopia Layout

There were a few items left over from building my prior layout. These included flex track with code 148 and 125 rail, rail joiners, pre-cut ties, rail, brass rods for line poles, plus other items.

Two sets of items I have, unrelated to the prior layout, included a pair of right and left hand Right-O-Way street turnout point and mate sets and some right hand #3 frog code 125 and code 100 turnouts. The #3 frog turnouts appeared to be made by Old Pullman.

Furthermore, the #3 frog turnouts had been purchased on EBay as a lark - never can tell when you might need them - 2 or more years ago. The point I'm trying to make is this was well before any talk about downsizing came up.

The above mentioned items have come up because they have played a part in my planning for a new layout. Thus far a decision has been made to make a modular layout. The "base" module will be 48" x 16" with the ability to alter the size as required.

The track plan is to be a "U" shaped dog bone for streetcars and small trolleys. Other shaped were considered. However, the amount of space is limited.

To make the layout operational as soon as possible, the end loops of the track plan are to be made 1st. Information available from the East Penn Traction Club (EPTC) on the web was downloaded. This material was read several times.

The basic design of the EPTC as to having double tracks on the module was adopted. The loops had to be 14" radius. Some of my models had a tough time making it around the 13" radius on my test layout.

Scale drawings were made of the what could be the end loop modules. Larger and larger scale drawings were made. From the drawings it started to look like the end modules would end up being 4'6" x 3'6".

Next was to see what the total layout made up of modules would look like. That is, how many modules would be required to make the "U" to fit within the confines of the main, large room in the basement of our townhouse.

Since the layout was to be made up of modules, the size of the 2 modules which were to contain the 90 degree curves had to be known. Before any designing was done, how well would the track diagram of the Chicago West Towns' (CWT) La Grange Line fit into what I wanted.

In order not to repeat material presented in a prior Post, be sure to read my Post "What Factors Have Influenced My New Layout Decisions?" dated July 1, 2016.

One arm of the "U" shape is shorter than the other arm. Unfortunately the shorter arm was not the one I wanted. The layout would be in the opposite directed from what I wanted. With time this will make sense to you.

Another thought to take into account is I have a few "streetcar" models, plus some interurban and "L" models. These will require a method to reverse then at the ends of the layout plus curves at the 90 degree modules with a radius greater than 13". I picked an 18" radius for interurban and "L" cars coupled together.

For my friends with streetcar, interurban, and "L" models the greater radius will work out well. As for being able to reverse the models at the ends of the layout. The same method of reversing prototype cars on a double track route will be used. A facing crossover made from a pair of right hand turnouts will be used.  Almost all of the straight track modules could have a facing crossover. This style of crossover would be trailing for right hand operation.

That solved, back to the size of the 90 degree module. From scale drawings, the size of the module could be a small as 36" x 36". After rechecking the floor space available, it looks like the balance of the modules could be 48" long.

This drawing shows the modules which can fit into my available space. The modules are labeled with CWT La Grange Line locations. Not all of the importation locations could be fitted in. I picked the ones which could be made by me within a reasonable time. The width of each straight module needs to be determined.

The La Grange Line locations chosen are:
22nd & Kenton (east terminal) - paved track (my module faces east and not west)
22nd St. - open or paved center track in wide street
22nd & Harlem curve - paved track intersection with the single track to the "Siberian" barn
Harlem Ave. - open track in the center of the street
Harlem & 26th St curve - open track which did not really turn into 26th St.
Parkway Jct. - open track interchange with the IC (more on this in a future Post)
1St. Ave. - open track/paved crossing of 1st Ave.
Brookfield - paved track at south entrance to the Brookfield Zoo
Turn back - open track crossover turn back immediately west of the Zoo
Barn (possible module) - paved street to the "Siberian" barn for visitors' model(s) storage

There's more coming! Cheers,

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