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Streets and roads

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  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,278 posts
Streets and roads
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, August 8, 2003 3:24 PM
I am modeling the Maine Central (HO) for the 1960s. I feel that the commercially available road and street kits present a wider-than-actual size. They just look too contemporary to me. Is anyone able to set the matter straight. What was the typical width of a town's main street, residential streets, and country roads during that time-frame?

Thanks[?]
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,278 posts
Streets and roads
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, August 8, 2003 3:24 PM
I am modeling the Maine Central (HO) for the 1960s. I feel that the commercially available road and street kits present a wider-than-actual size. They just look too contemporary to me. Is anyone able to set the matter straight. What was the typical width of a town's main street, residential streets, and country roads during that time-frame?

Thanks[?]
  • Member since
    June 2001
  • From: Anderson Indiana
  • 1,209 posts
Posted by rogerhensley on Friday, August 8, 2003 3:39 PM
Here in Anderson Indiana, each lane was about 12 feet wide. It was dependent upon the type of roadway (main street, residential or back country road, etc) but most business streets and highways were built at about 12 feet per lane. Earlier, in the twenties, roads were only about 20 feet wide total, so, if the portion of the town you wi***o model was built in that era, a 20 foot roadway is fine.

In HO, if each lane were 10 feet wide, that would be 1 and 3/8s inch. So a two lane street would be 2 and 3/4 inches. 10 feet is what I use for the lanes of my city streets. Modern hiway lanes would be wider. Parking lanes would have been more narrow in the 50s, say 8 or 8 1/2 feet.

As a guide in HO:
8' = 1 1/8
10' = 1 3/8
12' = 1 5/8
15' = 2 1/16
20' = 2 3/4
25' = 3 7/16

Around here, little has changed in the city streets since the late 40s. A few sidewalks have been removed to widen the lanes and a few streets have had major work done on them to add additional lanes, but the width still stands at about 10 to 12 feet per lane and most side streets are really about three lanes wide total. Small towns would have been this way as well. Some of the main streets in small towns actually had wider streets and also used angle parking.

Country lanes and county roads were much narrower back then, in some cases no more than 12 or 13 feet total. If you met a farm truck you were in big trouble. Part of the problem with all of this is that the width of streets and roads vary according to where you are and what the local street and hiway departments did. This is why there are no set widths for streets in any scale. You can calculate what you need according to your area and era always keeping in mind what looks good to you. Rather than calculate 3.5 mm equal 1 foot, I just used a scale rule and a regular ruler to change the actual scale feet into inches so the figures are not exact, but are very close. I highly recommend a scale rule. The one I have is a 'General' no. 1251. It's been well worth the money.

Oh, one other thing, sidewalks in the business district were about 10 feet wide.
Roger

Copyright 2000 - rph
CID Rusty Spike
Volume 30 - Number 2 Mar - Apr 2000

Roger Hensley
= ECI Railroad - http://madisonrails.railfan.net/eci/eci_new.html =
= Railroads of Madison County - http://madisonrails.railfan.net/

  • Member since
    June 2001
  • From: Anderson Indiana
  • 1,209 posts
Posted by rogerhensley on Friday, August 8, 2003 3:39 PM
Here in Anderson Indiana, each lane was about 12 feet wide. It was dependent upon the type of roadway (main street, residential or back country road, etc) but most business streets and highways were built at about 12 feet per lane. Earlier, in the twenties, roads were only about 20 feet wide total, so, if the portion of the town you wi***o model was built in that era, a 20 foot roadway is fine.

In HO, if each lane were 10 feet wide, that would be 1 and 3/8s inch. So a two lane street would be 2 and 3/4 inches. 10 feet is what I use for the lanes of my city streets. Modern hiway lanes would be wider. Parking lanes would have been more narrow in the 50s, say 8 or 8 1/2 feet.

As a guide in HO:
8' = 1 1/8
10' = 1 3/8
12' = 1 5/8
15' = 2 1/16
20' = 2 3/4
25' = 3 7/16

Around here, little has changed in the city streets since the late 40s. A few sidewalks have been removed to widen the lanes and a few streets have had major work done on them to add additional lanes, but the width still stands at about 10 to 12 feet per lane and most side streets are really about three lanes wide total. Small towns would have been this way as well. Some of the main streets in small towns actually had wider streets and also used angle parking.

Country lanes and county roads were much narrower back then, in some cases no more than 12 or 13 feet total. If you met a farm truck you were in big trouble. Part of the problem with all of this is that the width of streets and roads vary according to where you are and what the local street and hiway departments did. This is why there are no set widths for streets in any scale. You can calculate what you need according to your area and era always keeping in mind what looks good to you. Rather than calculate 3.5 mm equal 1 foot, I just used a scale rule and a regular ruler to change the actual scale feet into inches so the figures are not exact, but are very close. I highly recommend a scale rule. The one I have is a 'General' no. 1251. It's been well worth the money.

Oh, one other thing, sidewalks in the business district were about 10 feet wide.
Roger

Copyright 2000 - rph
CID Rusty Spike
Volume 30 - Number 2 Mar - Apr 2000

Roger Hensley
= ECI Railroad - http://madisonrails.railfan.net/eci/eci_new.html =
= Railroads of Madison County - http://madisonrails.railfan.net/

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,278 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, August 8, 2003 7:18 PM
Great help!! Thanks alot.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,278 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, August 8, 2003 7:18 PM
Great help!! Thanks alot.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,278 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, August 16, 2003 1:29 PM
Local town codes require at least a 25ft pavement width within a 50ft wde right of way. The pavement can wander back and forth within the right of way so long as there remains room for required improvements such as drainage ditches, etc. The limits to the right of way are often seen on the ground such as rock walls, icl. remnants of rock walls (white glue and pebbles), barbed wire fences, incl. remnants (bulbous tree trunks having long overgrown the wire that was stapled across it). Locally this describes former pasture, wether or not the former pasture is still open or has been overgrown.
Rural Maine roads are rarely sraight, but usually wander left, right, up and down, due to lots for rain/snow and usually good drainage, gullies, small streams, etc. The paved roads usually have a crown of about 8 - 12" across the 25ft span. If unoaved, thery're beat on, with pot hols and wash-board pattern. Most areas have lots of gravel deposits, since this is glacier scoured topography with boulders, rock, sand and open gravel pit industries.
Consider the Yahoo group MEC_RR or MECRR, dedicated to just the MEC. There are many very knowledgeable people on the list, some former MEC employees and some who model just the 1960's.
Good luck. Paul Boulay Wells, ME
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,278 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, August 16, 2003 1:29 PM
Local town codes require at least a 25ft pavement width within a 50ft wde right of way. The pavement can wander back and forth within the right of way so long as there remains room for required improvements such as drainage ditches, etc. The limits to the right of way are often seen on the ground such as rock walls, icl. remnants of rock walls (white glue and pebbles), barbed wire fences, incl. remnants (bulbous tree trunks having long overgrown the wire that was stapled across it). Locally this describes former pasture, wether or not the former pasture is still open or has been overgrown.
Rural Maine roads are rarely sraight, but usually wander left, right, up and down, due to lots for rain/snow and usually good drainage, gullies, small streams, etc. The paved roads usually have a crown of about 8 - 12" across the 25ft span. If unoaved, thery're beat on, with pot hols and wash-board pattern. Most areas have lots of gravel deposits, since this is glacier scoured topography with boulders, rock, sand and open gravel pit industries.
Consider the Yahoo group MEC_RR or MECRR, dedicated to just the MEC. There are many very knowledgeable people on the list, some former MEC employees and some who model just the 1960's.
Good luck. Paul Boulay Wells, ME

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