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Street Car Tracks.

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  • Member since
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  • From: Upstate
  • 47 posts
Street Car Tracks.
Posted by Bennekers on Sunday, October 26, 2003 2:36 PM
I have several street cars and always had a problem getting them to look right in a street. Walthers sells some nice street track inserts (HO scale), but they come in a package, some of it you can use some of it not. If you need e.g. more curves you have to buy a whole new kit. I tried plaster, but that turned into a disaster, had to scrape for days and I can't get it even inside the tracks. Using carton does not look good either. Any ideas how to do inserts inside a track (code 83)?.
dutchtrain
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 27, 2003 10:44 AM
1/16 Wood, sanding sealer, and paint. 1/16 Styrene and paint. 1/16 brick styrene. With careful cutting and painting these look better than the Walthers. FRED
  • Member since
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  • From: Midtown Sacramento
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Posted by Jetrock on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 12:35 AM
I considered the Walthers kits but since trolley track comes much sharper than 15" scale in the real world it's not really suitable for trolleys. "Building City Scenery for Model Railroads" (another fine Kalmbach publication) has a fine article about laying in-street track.

I'm using these techniques right now for my own layout--between the rails, strips of basswood are used to hold up .020" styrene sheet cut to fit between the rails. Outside the rails, 1/8" foamcore is used for street surfaces and foundations with cardstock over it (which might be a bit tall for Code 83, but works fine with Code 100, which I use because you can't tell the track is oversize as it's all under the concrete.)

I'm considering adding little lines of Rust along the edges of the concrete to represent girder rail--as Richard Orr girder rail is impossible to find. If anyone has a line on single-point switches, I'd be glad to know about 'em.
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  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 8:03 AM
An old trick is to take good strong bond paper, lay it over the tracks, go over it with a pencil (like people do with old gravestones) so the rails are prominent.
Cut out the paper between the rail markings like a stencil and use it to cut thin styrene to shape remembering to leave room for flanges -- more room than the prototype did.
Dave Nelson
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Posted by ndbprr on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 8:12 AM
First of all street car tracks were what are called winged rails meaning the had an extension like a flange on the inside of the rail to create a space for the wheel to run. Special rail can be gotten but it is more expensive and harder to work with. Most trolley people lay their rails and then but the head of a piece of rail against the inside of the running rail using the base of the rail to form the edge of the flanged area. This will the allow you to "pour" a street between the inside flanges. The vast majority of these areas by the way were brick insdie the rails so some carving of straight lines is in order after you pour it and sand it level. There are several Trolley related publications that can help you visualize what people are doing. Trolley Talk is probably the most prevelant publication.
  • Member since
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  • From: California - moved to North Carolina 2018
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Posted by DSchmitt on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 9:22 PM
Some old time trolley modeles sodered or laid a smaller gage rail laid on its side to the inside of the running rail so that the flange represented the "wing" (ie. code 70 and code 100).

Not all street car lines used special rail. Some used brick or cut stone to create the flangeway, some used concrete, some just placed asphalt between the rails

Not all street car tracl was in the street. Some lines had areas where the track was outside the pavement.

I've made street track in roads using plaster. before the plaster dried I pushed an old freight car truck with deep flanged wheels along the track to create the flangeway. After the plaster dried I cleaned out the flanggeway and cleaned the rail using a thin file and sandpaper. Worked, but messy

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

  • Member since
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  • From: Midtown Sacramento
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Posted by Jetrock on Thursday, October 30, 2003 7:57 AM
Personally I like the plastic-on-stripwood method because I can still get to the track if I have to with a minimum of fuss--just pry off the plastic and I can get to the rails if I decide I really must put in another switch or replace a section of track, and then if I did it carefully I can just glue the plastic concrete strip back down. Plaster is a more permanent and messy solution: you'd pretty much have to destroy the plaster to get to the track underneath it!

One could simulate cobblestone rather easily using commercial brick or cobblestone sheet using this method. Modeling an early trolley running on dirt would be a little harder, but could probably be done with textured paint over the styrene and a few strategically placed passes with a soldering iron to melt dirt-like ruts and other irregularities into the street surface.

I'm not convinced that making girder rail is worth the effort, but that's just me. I'll just fake it with paint for now.
  • Member since
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  • From: Upstate
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Posted by Bennekers on Thursday, October 30, 2003 9:08 AM
Thanks for the input so far, I have used DSchmitts method, but it was a lot of work to clean up the plaster. I am planning to investigate most of the methods presented. What is 'Sanding Sealer' (flee307)?
The New Orleans Street cars also run most of the time on dirt (grass) on the median of St. Charles.
dutchtrain
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Posted by hwandrews on Thursday, December 11, 2003 1:36 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Jetrock
Richard Orr girder rail is impossible to find. If anyone has a line on single-point switches, I'd be glad to know about 'em.


Not sure why you are saying the Orr track is impossible to find. I ordered a bunch from Mr. Orr recently and got it promptly and in good order.

Check the East Penn Web site supplier information (http://www.eastpenn.org/manuf.html) - they list Mr. Orr's address that you can write to him for ordering information. He also typically run an add in one of the traction publications it you subscribe to them.
  • Member since
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, December 12, 2003 4:02 AM
I'd really like to see a RTR trolley track system. This would sell not only to trolley modellers but also to people wanting to model street running by normal trains. Basically this should be something like Peco's Settrack range, but with built-in trolley roadbed and the correct-section rail. It's available in O Scale from ETS already, so how about some similar track in HO/OO gauge?
  • Member since
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  • From: Midtown Sacramento
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Posted by Jetrock on Friday, December 12, 2003 5:34 AM
The problem is that trolley track had some significant differences from railroad in-street track. For starters, the curves got a lot sharper--trolley modelers will sometimes go down to 5"-6" radius curves (in HO!) which is much sharper than any conventional equipment will run (even 40' boxcars start bumping into each other on curves much tighter than 12" radius, and plays hob with couplers too.)

Switches are also different--trolleys used single-point switches instead of double-point switches (only one point moved, to minimize things scooting about in the middle of the street.) These also featured sharp curves--the aforementioned Orr turnouts are designed for a 6" radius curve.

I'd love to see it too--but you'd need to have two different types, one for trolley/interurban standards (with single-point switches and 5-8" curves) and one for urban freight roadways (with two-point switches and 10-15" curves.)

Another potential problem is the wide variety of possible street surfaces. Street trackage could be placed in concrete, asphalt, cobblestone, or dirt--or a combination thereof (trolleys in downtown Sacramento originally ran mostly on dirt streets, then on cobblestones, then the cobbles were paved over leaving a few inches of cobbles exposed on either side of the rails.) While I'd love to see a line of modular snap-in street simulation bits for Setrack, I'm not holding my breath to see it any time soon...

Walthers does have a line of street-track inserts, designed for use with Atlas code 83 switches, which have a wider radius than Setrack, and 15" and 18" curves. Nice to know it's out there, but it definitely limits one's choices in terms of track choices. Atlas did a trolley trainset in the 60's that featured squares of concrete street with 4" radius curves--I'd love to get some, as my single-truck Birneys would run just fine on it, but it's just a tetch hard to come by...

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