More progress in Scarborough

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(Me and Mark hard at work. Not our best sides!)

On Sunday, Mark Zagrodney and I enjoyed a day-long work session on the CP Rail Scarborough Industrial Track that Regan Johnson is building around the walls of his home office.

I’ve written previously about Regan’s layout, but the recap is that he’s building an HO scale layout that I designed for him a couple of years ago. You can read more about it by clicking on the layout plan, below:

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As I noted in the linked post, I built two in-street turnouts – serving the spurs along the left side of the plan. These are not, strictly speaking, prototypical for the spur line that’s inspired Regan. But I thought the street-running and in-street switching would add significant visual and operational interest, and Regan agreed.

Since they were my idea, I felt it unsportsmanlike to force Regan to tackle the in-street turnouts. Plus, I was curious whether I could build them. So I did – well over a year ago.

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(Click on the image to read about the turnouts)

My goal at Sunday’s work session was to finally install these two turnouts and hook them up to mechanical switch machines. Regan, Mark and I worked together on this and by the end of the day, we had two turnouts ready for the paving crews:

 photo ReganLayout-InStreetTurnouts-02_zpsuhqzphjw.jpg
(The results of a few pleasant hours of spiking and soldering. The black lines denote the edges of the road)

Regan has been very patient, waiting for this work session to take place. But he hasn’t been idle. Almost all of the rest of the track has been installed. In fact, we managed to lay the main through the street in both directions, and link it up to the team track area at the bottom of the plan. There’s only about three feet of track to spike in the upper left corner, and the mainline will be finished.

 photo ReganLayout-InStreetTurnouts-03_zpsto2ebpv9.jpg
(The roadway is 4.5″ wide – or approximately 33 feet in HO scale. That’s enough for a lane of traffic on either side of the track. A couple of truck trailers and a covered hopper demonstrate the clearances and hint at the visual for this area of the layout.)

I’m looking forward to operating sessions on this layout. The street section will be particularly fun, with the switch crew having to tread carefully down the middle of the street, bell ringing and crew ever-watchful for cars and trucks driving too closely to the centreline…

7 thoughts on “More progress in Scarborough

  1. Thanks for all the work Trevor, those in-road turnouts are going to make for wonderful scenes, and great operational options.

  2. It looks to be a very interesting layout. Street running really interests me, but earlier, I had a mistaken idea that it was something that was primarily an Eastern, Midwestern sort of thing, but it isn’t, it’s all over. One of my favorites that I’ve visited, but have yet to see a train on, is Rainier, OR.

    One interesting thing that I recently read, but unfortunately cannot recall where at the moment, was the challenge with vehicles parked interfering with the safe passage of the train. This was dealt with by either contacting the owners, calling a towing company (or if no one was around, using the engines themselves to ‘gently’ nudge a car or truck off the ROW. Although I don’t know just HOW gentle you can be with a switcher, either steam or diesel!

    • Hi Brian:
      This was a regular challenge for Canadian National Railways crews working the ex-Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto trackage in St. Catharines. There was a lot of street running on this one-time Interurban line, including up some narrow secondary streets. It was a particular problem in winter, when snow banks encouraged drivers to park further away from the curbs.
      It was the street running in St. Catharines that inspired me to include this bit of track in the pavement on the design I did for Regan. Here, in the early 1990s, a CNR SW1200RS pulls a cut of auto parts boxcars from GM south on Ontario Street:
       photo CN-StCatharines-04_zps58c6a22c.jpg
      Even on this main thoroughfare, there’s not a lot of room for vehicles to either side of the train.
      Cheers!

    • Hi Tom:
      I did not consider it. I had rail on hand and am happy with the results. I know others have used them – I believe the flangeways are quite shallow as they’re designed for P:87 so trucks ride on their flanges. You would have to test that to decide if it’s a problem.
      Cheers!

      • Trevor, I recall that we did talk briefly Proto-87 in street rail, but I decided that it was prohibitively expensive (a couple hundred US dollars, IIRC) on top of the not tiny amount to get set up with the proper tools and jigs for building my own turnouts and track. having proto 87 flangeways, may have also forced me to re-wheel my ‘fleet’.
        Seeing as I had never really built turnouts before, and wanted to, I decided to start with regular turnouts, and ‘see’ about Proto-87.
        Next thing I knew, you had resolved the concern by building those excellent turnouts yourself!

  3. Nice work and neat layout design.
    Keep this up and you will force me to give up narrow gauge and go back to SG urban modeling!

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