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May 2008 - Page 54


M ODELING CITIES

TRACKS-IN-THE-STREETS
B y George Hucka by & C harles Hepperle

There are hundreds of examples where Class One railroads operated on the paved streets of cities and towns i n America and Canada. Here are some techniques of recreating that "buried" trackwork. The street cars and interurbans laid most of their tracks below the surface of the pavement. Providing proper operation of turnouts, in addition usual clearances for wheel flanges, is one of the challenges of modeling electrified c ity rai l roads. Charles Hepperle's and Dave McCanne's recreations of small portions of the Pacific Electric's street tracks in Los Angeles are also examples of how complex street tracks can be; and both layouts run flawlessly. There are two relatively simple ways of "burying" the tracks; you can use Walthers' plastic street inserts or a patching plaster like Durham 's Water Putty. There's more information on these techniques (and much more o n modeling electric rai l roads) on the www.trolleyville.com website.

D

ecide which era you need to model before you start "pav ing" the street. Early street railway track was i n the

s tal led prior to pav i n g the street. We w i l l b e u s i n g p l astic sidewalks from S m al l town U S A n u m ber 699-7000 City S i de walks along with some of the Walthers S i dewal ks contained in their B rick Streets and/or Concrete Streets Kits. After l aying out the location of s i dewal k s , driveway entrances and curbing, obtain some Ev ergreen Strip styrene n u mber 1 49 ( . 040 x .250 i nch) and n u mber 1 67 ( . 080 x . 1 5 6 i n c h ) . The sidewal ks contained in the Walthers Brick Street System Kits can be doubled for a more rea l i stically sized sidewalk. Using P lastruct cement, fasten the num ber l 67 strips to the u nderside rear of the sidewalks fl ush w i th the rear edge, and fasten the n u mber 1 49 strips to the fron t o f t h e si dewalk (the s i d e adj acent t o the street) in such a manner that half of the stri p , or . 1 25 i nch extends past the curb. T h i s w i l l ensure that the m i n i m u m thick ness o f the pav i ng material w i l l be .040 i n c h . After i nstal lation, wet sand the s u r face w ith 240-grit wet-or-dry paper, then wipe off the residue with a damp rag. T h i s w i l l also req u i re al l structures to be mounted on some type of base that is at least .040 i nch thick so that the front of the b u i l d i n g matches the height of the rear of the s i dewalks. This w i l l a l l o w the structures to be more fi rmly affixed to the layout and prevent l i ght leaks should the bottom floors be i l l u m i nated later. These are some of the reasons why we always have our structures and driveways se lected early i n the module development process.

l o t less messy than u s i ng the Durham ' s Water Putty, which w e now use exclu s i vely for asphalt and macadam roads. After airbrushing with different grays and concrete colors, the cracks between the Walthers p l astic sections can be f i l led with dark gray gl ossy paint to s i m u l ate tar. The sections w i l l be scored for addi tional expansion joi nts and natural cracks i nc l u d i n g the pav i n g between the rai l s . After i n s tal l ation, w e t sand t h e s u rface w i th 240-grit wet-or-dry paper then w i pe off the residue w i th a clamp rag.

center of a d i rt or mud road. Spri n k l er cars were used to keep the dust clown in the heat of the summer. At the turn of the century, Belgian b l oc k and cobblestones ruled the pav i ng scene. For a while, con crete was used, then fi nally asphalt. To day, the renewed track areas in c i ties such as Philadelphia, San Francisco and To ronto are being paved w i th concrete. The track area inc ludes the area between the rai ls, about two to three feet either s i de of the rail s , and in the case of double-track areas, the entire "de v i l strip" between the tracks. Study photos of your favorite area before pav i ng . You w i l l notice thi ngs that you never noticed before. It is essential that you test a l l of your trackwork to be sure that it operates per fectly. Once you have added the paving, i t is extremely diffi cult to make track re pairs and corrections. The most fu ndamental point i s to keep whatever paving s urface i s used s l i ghtly below the level of the rai l s . Track must be cleaned once i n awhi l e and a nice road can be ruined in seconds w i th a bright boy cleaner. If you are going to model trol leys or other l ight-rail e l ectric rai lways, we strongly suggest you u se the ORR (from Los Angeles, CA 90064- 1 1 75 c u stomtrax x . com). G i rder dec al s @ which

Poured-Concrete or Asphalt Streets
T he tec hniques for creating concrete or as phalt streets are virtually identical except for the final color. The main advantage of pouri ng concrete (or asphalt) streets i s that y o u c a n accommodate changes i n e l evation a n d curvature that w o u l d be d i ffi c u l t to achieve using flat pieces of styrene. Typical ly, roads are crowned, that is, they are higher at the center than at the gut ters. This lets rainwater flow off the street to make driving safer. When a crowned road is near a rai l road grade cross ing, the crown gradually flattens out to a fl at p lane at the crossing.

Custom Traxx, P.O. Box 64 1 1 75 , West Rai l ,

has a web height of . 1 00 inch (Code 1 00). ORR turnouts and crossing have web heights ranging from . 1 00 i nch (2.56 m m ) to . 1 08 i nch (2.8 m m ) so any pav i ng should not be higher than .08 - . 09 i n c h from t h e top o f t h e t i e s .

C oncrete Streets from Plastic
For a concrete street, you can use the Walthers n u mber 933-3 1 3 8 or 9 3 3 - 3 1 5 5 i nj ecti on-molded plastic Concrete Streets Kits. U s i n g these Wal thers sections is a

S idewalks
W e recommend that city sidewal ks be in-

If you are using conventionaL rail, make a removabLe "dam " to creclle the fiange ways. Find a string that is a bit larger than the height of the rails - you 'll need a . 1 00-inch-plus or about a lI8-inch string for code J 00 rail, and you can use slightly smaller diameter string for smaller-size rail. Hang three or fourfoot pieces of the string from a nail in the wall and use rub ber gLoves to spread contact cement for the full Length and diameter of the string . Let th.e cement dry overnight. The string can now be pressed against inside faces of the rails to dam up what will later be clearances f the wheel flanges (caLLed or .flangeways). Spread a very thin layer of

54 RAllMODH JOURNAl MAY 200

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