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Author Topic: A mini layout challenge
Ed Bommer

Posts: 429
Post A mini layout challenge
on: May 25, 2016,
Quote

The local NMRA Division of which I'm a member, came up with a challenge at its March 2016 meeting:
Build an operating layout in any scale that does not exceed 576 square inches in size or shape.
That is 4 square feet.

Being one of the very few active in O scale, the Superintendent leaned on me a bit to come up with something. I checked out a website he gave for ideas about a mini layout and indeed O scale was mentioned there as well. The Division members knew I had the Baltimore & New York layout which they visited in 2010, but it was torn down for a move to Tulsa. They also saw the diorama I built for displaying that ancient Walthers observation car I rebuilt as Beebe and Clegg's "Virginia City" in its 1950s appearance.

So in a way, I felt the challenge to be a good one. I still have a number of pieces of the old B&NY right of way standing in a corner of the workshop, slowly warping into uselessness. One or two of them could give up their rails to such a project!

But what to model? I came up with a return loop on the Route 23 Germantown Ave line, like the one not far from where I lived in Philadelphia in the 1960s. Two switches and a crossing, as the track up to Chestnut Hill had a loop which could turn a car to down-town on the corner of a park. I also have a powered Corgi PCC painted in PTC colors of the 1950s-60s.

Here are a few photos, laying out a return loop. The contest rules allow turntables or cassettes to aid in operating the pike, which must also have scenery to serve its purpose.

Image
The track plan is laid out on a thick sheet of Styrofoam to keep the weight light, as it has to be taken to the meeting in November. The center line for the loop track probably should be a bit farther to the right. A photo back-drop on foam core board would be attached to the far side.

Image
The car is set with its trucks centered on the loop track line. The trucks still have some room to swing even tighter, so hopefully it will work. The radius of the loop is about 8 1/2".
The prototype PCCs also had considerable end overhang on that loop, as well as at the Chestnut Hill terminal. Lots of wheel squeal!

Image
On the track heading down-town. The loop, switches and crossing will be hand laid with code 125 rail from the old layout.

I'm still doodling on how to make the end cassettes so a car can roll onto one and be turned to go out on the opposite track. A cassette will be needed at each end, and this set up could also be made to operate with two cars, I think. I also have a metal Pittman kit that could model one of Richmond Railways 1924 Brill trolleys that ran on my native Staten Island up to the mid 1930s.

Anyone's thoughts or suggestions on this mini-layout are welcomed.
Time is marching on . . . .

Ed Bommer

Harry

Posts: 171
Post Re: A mini layout challenge
on: May 26, 2016,
Quote

Good on yah Ed.
Good to see your back into layouts albeit a small one!
I am sure it will be a winner mate.
Are the cassettes counted in the 4 square feet?
What about something like this to transfer the trolley? at end without the scenery of course
Nev.
Image

Nev

Harry

Posts: 171
Post Re: A mini layout challenge
on: May 26, 2016,
Quote

which must also have scenery to serve its purpose.

Sorry Ed missed that above comment but there is scenery in the photo.

Nev

Harry

Posts: 171
Post Re: A mini layout challenge
on: May 26, 2016,
Quote

This should be a larger photo ...maybe.
Image

Nev

Ed Bommer

Posts: 429
Post Re: A mini layout challenge
on: May 26, 2016,
Quote

Good on you too, mate!
Yes, that's one of the ideas for a cassette-type transfer between tracks at the ends of the mini layout.
The cassettes are not counted in that 4 square feet.

That pivoting transfer table is truly a neat idea!
Saves the space required for a switch and lead to return on the other track.

I am thinking of making two identical pieces of Germantown Avenue(the street being modeled)for each end of the
straight track as cassettes.
Since the PCC streetcar is single ended, it needs to be turned around to run back on the opposite track.

Maybe a half-turn cassette at each end would do the job?
By having it turn only half way around in a given direction, alignment for the track might be better assured as well as the electrical contacts needed for the rails and overhead wire.

I plan to wire this little layout as a two block operation, so the up and down-town tracks are powered separately.
The turn loop would be an isolated part of the up-town track.
That way, (with care!) two cars could be run the same time.

Onward!
Ed B

Martin
Administrator
Posts: 865
Post Re: A mini layout challenge
on: May 26, 2016,
Quote

Interesting challenge, Ed.

Looking forward to seeing your solutions.

Want a balloon?

Harry

Posts: 171
Post Re: A mini layout challenge
on: May 26, 2016,
Quote

Good to finally make contact with you Ed instead of postcards.
You know I still look at your layout for inspiration I have all the photos.
I would like to see how you resolve this little puzzle, I am sure I will be calling it a "little Gem" shortly.
Thanks for sharing it mate.
Nev.

Nev

raybaumill-
er

Posts: 399
Post Re: A mini layout challenge
on: October 13, 2019,
Quote

EdB,
Assuming ur mini layout was finished some time ago and u won the challenge? Give us a report of what else came forth from the group.
My question way after the fact would have been could u in O scale have the PCC turn on a 4x4 so u could have had continuous running. Maybe even out of sight running or staging sort of? Like having different cars with different destinations showing. Didn't think of any of this at the time.
There was a famous layout where some static trolley action was added. It would have been more interesting to have some back and forth action in the small space allotted. But that would have been my take on it.
RAy.

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