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Need ideas on building a subway layout of N.Y.C

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Need ideas on building a subway layout of N.Y.C
Posted by havplenty2001 on Monday, May 23, 2011 12:54 PM

I'm open to any advice from anyone whose familiar with New York City Subways. I'm trying to put a layout that looks closely like N.Y.C subway. New York City hasve 5 burroughs which are like little islands. Trains are above ground and underground. I do have just  about all of the M.T.H subways that they produced. I just need  help on how to design a layout that i can see underground. Any Ideas?

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, May 23, 2011 4:53 PM

I model subways in HO, using the Proto 1000 subway trains.  My subways run beneath the "normal" layout on the surface.  The track plan is a simple loop, with one passing siding at the "Penny Lane" station.  There is a short spur going to the "Scollay Square" station, and a pair of staging/storage tracks which I built the "South Ferry" station around.  There is no attempt to model real stations, or a real track plan.

The Penny Lane and Saint Anne Street stations (after my wife Penny and daughter Annie) are at the edge of the layout, so the viewer sees them from the side.  The Scollay Square station is viewed end-on through a tunnel portal.  The South Ferry station will be visible using an old video camera, once I get around to hooking it up.

I grew up on Long Island, so I did try to get the "look and feel" of the NY system.  I modeled tile walls and concrete platforms, and used girders for tunnel supports:

I built the stations from the ground up, and then covered them once the station scenery was complete.  This is the Penny Lane station without its cover:

I put a video camera into the front car, so I modeled all the insides of the tunnels as well.

This short video shows most of the system.  It's really not large, but I recorded the same scenes from both directions and with a few other trains running, so it looks like there's more to it than there really is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ5OvZtI-QU

 

 

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by wp8thsub on Monday, May 23, 2011 11:10 PM

Check out Alan Wolfson's site at http://www.alanwolfson.net/sculptures.htm .  He's an artist and not necessarily a model railroader, but he has built some very nicely executed NYC subway scenes that could provide some ideas.  Scroll down on the above linked page to the "subway scenes" section.  Some of his street scenes also have stairway entrances to the subway, even if the subway itself isn't modeled.

Rob Spangler

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Posted by oo-OO-OO-oo on Monday, May 23, 2011 11:53 PM

I've been working on a friend's NYC subway layout for a little over a year.

Like Mister Beasley, he has scenes that are modeled at the edge of the layout, showing stations inside.

There's also a "ground level" yard accessed by a ramp.

It's all MTH and runs under an O-scale interurban line that's under construction.

The only track running back under the layout is return loops at the two ends of the "subterrainian" sections of the layout.

Eric

I wish I was a headlight

On a northbound train

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 6:34 AM

Mr. B's subways look a lot more like NYC than mine, but I do model a subway.

It runs along the face, below the layout.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by CTA Fan on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 8:22 AM

I model CTA in O with MTH...

Under the L...

View into the station:

 

I haven't weathered my cars yet...

 

Island station...

Good luck!

CTA Fan

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 8:34 AM

Welcome

I would love to see details on how you built your elevated track.

It's very impressive.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 9:57 AM

One thing that I would definitely do differently is the tunnels.  Mine have vertical walls and a flat roof.  They look OK, but for the NYC system, most of them should be "bored" tunnels with a round cross section.  I couldn't figure out how to do that back then.

Someone here came up with a great idea for tunnels, though.  He took a Weller soldering gun and replaced the tip with a loop of #12 wire, which he bent into a circular loop.  Presto - a hot-wire foam cutter that will make round tunnels.

Remember, though, that access is important.  Make sure that you can get to the insides of the tunnels.  I coverend mine with a series of lift-offs, so that I can get to most of my tunnels from above for routine maintenance.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by chutton01 on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 1:26 PM

Well, similar to the Chicago El, the NYC Subway has some extensive above ground/elevated operations in the current day - mostly in the Bronx, Queens,and Brooklyn (Manhattan only has a small amount of elevated trackage, mostly the 1/9 north of Dykeman and in the 125th St 'Valley'.  Most of the Manhattan Els were torn down in the mid-20th century (for example, the Second Avenue El in the 1940s, and the third Avenue more or less in 1956 - I mention these mostly because their planned replacement, the 2nd Avenue Subway, still hasn't been completed after 70 years and counting, and even then not the full route its supposed to be)

The Bronx, OTOH, has some decent Elevated routes (the 3rd Avenue El section there was demolished in the early 1970s, again a fairly silly move from today's perspective), and with a little Modeler's license you can work in Heavy Rail operations (Metro North and Amtrak) and Freight Railroading too. Ironically, the Bronx is most certainly NOT a small island (it is part of the mainline), although like all areas with coastlines/rivers it has many islands.

Staten Island has no Subway per-se, the Staten Island Rapid Transit line, while owned by NYC/MTA, is NOT part of the Subway system, and is run a bit differently (I think it still uses R44 subway cars, though). It is a bit of a shame it was never connected to the Subway system (via a tunnel under the Narrows from Brooklyn), but that's what it is.

And if you really get into collecting subway models, remember that most Subway yards are huge AND outdoors in various areas around the boros (including Manhattan this time - 207th St Yard - a few dozen blocks north of that, around 238th St, the IRT has an Elevated yard - spend sometime w/ Bing Maps Bird's Eye view to get other ideas.)
Now, while a particular subway yard will really only service models of it's own division (IRT/BMT/IND) and line groupings (1/9 - 4/5/6 - R etc), no reason you can't show off a yard full of subway models to those unaware of that fact (and impressive them w/ your modeling skills) - just don't post those images on SubChat if you don't wan't to get razzed ("It's the... Triboro yards! Yeah, that's it, Triboro yards!")

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 5:24 PM

MisterBeasley

One thing that I would definitely do differently is the tunnels.  Mine have vertical walls and a flat roof.  They look OK, but for the NYC system, most of them should be "bored" tunnels with a round cross section.  I couldn't figure out how to do that back then.

Someone here came up with a great idea for tunnels, though.  He took a Weller soldering gun and replaced the tip with a loop of #12 wire, which he bent into a circular loop.  Presto - a hot-wire foam cutter that will make round tunnels.

Remember, though, that access is important.  Make sure that you can get to the insides of the tunnels.  I coverend mine with a series of lift-offs, so that I can get to most of my tunnels from above for routine maintenance.

Not to contradict an acknowledged master, but your video was VERY reminiscent of the NYC Lexington Avenue line (and its Bronx feeders) which were built, `Cut and cover.'  Since that's where you would find cars routed to Pelham Bay Park and Brooklyn Bridge, I think you nailed it.  The only circular cross section tunnels on those routes were under the East and Harlem Rivers.

The new South Ferry station is also , `Cut and cover,' as was the old one on the return loop.

Chuck (Native Noo Yawker modeling Central Japan in September, 1964 - lots of tunnels, no subway)

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Monday, December 27, 2021 12:47 AM

Well, its 10 years later but perhaps this will stir some new interest.  I have been modeling NYC EL lines and streetcar lines since the mid 1960's -- first in HO, later in O Scale since 1984.  I never modeled a subway because like real ones, its generally is NOT visible.  While Elevated lines are quite visible.  Here are some photos my NY City based O Scale  "EL" system !

If further interested to see more of my extensive work -- in Photo albums displaying various segments of my EL layout and modeling ---  click OR copy-paste  this URL here

https://www.flickr.com/photos/44268069@N00/albums

 

I am quite surprised that after 60 years of my being well known in this modeling form of the hobby, that there was no mention of my NYC transit modeling work on this thread 10 years ago !!! Even Terry (CTA Fan) who posted on this thread, knows well of my work ! And never even mentioned my work. Even tho I mentioned and supported his modeling work on the internet for many years !

 

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Posted by dknelson on Monday, December 27, 2021 9:32 AM

The realism, particularly of the photograph all in gray-scale, is extraordinary.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by Colorado Ray on Monday, December 27, 2021 5:52 PM

dknelson

The realism, particularly of the photograph all in gray-scale, is extraordinary.

Dave Nelson

 

 

I agree.  I thought that you had snuck a prototype picture in there.

 

Ray

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Monday, December 27, 2021 8:38 PM

[quote user="Colorado Ray"]

 Hello  Dave - and - Ray

 

Thanks for the nice comments !  Well, seems the Black & White Photos of my layout depict more of a 1940's-1960's vintage photography era of what film most of us used for photography way back then for filming the protype Subways, EL's, and trolleys.  Color was way too expensive and took sometimes 2 or more weeks to get processed results back.  For example, these few B & W images below (of many more on my website albums) on the O Scale system --- the B&W sort of adds a vintage mystique to the images  -- regards - Joe F

 ==================================================
[quote user="dknelson"]

The realism, particularly of the photograph all in gray-scale, is extraordinary.

Dave Nelson

 

[quote user="Colorado Ray"]

 I agree.  I thought that you had snuck a prototype picture in there.

 Ray

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Thursday, December 30, 2021 9:26 AM

Well, so much for "Model Railroader" Mag.  forum and interest here - as far as city transit, traction,  rapid transit is concerned -- zilch ! Nada !  I should have realized that a thread that days after being started 10 years ago, died then up to present from lack of further continuing interest  --  would likely stay dead ! Even after I tried to install on topic good modeling materials upon it! 

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, December 30, 2021 10:09 AM

Joseph Frank

Well, so much for "Model Railroader" Mag.  forum and interest here - as far as city transit, traction,  rapid transit is concerned -- zilch ! Nada !  I should have realized that a thread that days after being started 10 years ago, died then up to present from lack of further continuing interest  --  would likely stay dead ! Even after I tried to install on topic good modeling materials upon it!  

Well, as they say, it is what it is. This thread is 10 years old, and it only received 9 replies when it was first active. The OP was asking for ideas, and few if any of the replies offered any ideas. That is clearly indicative of the fact that few modelers on this forum model city transit, traction, and rapid transit. Most forum member on this Model Railroading forum model 2-rail steam and diesel locomotives.

Let me suggest this. Start a new thread and make your objectives clear. Are you looking for fellow modelers of city transit, traction, and rapid transit? Are you trying to stir interest in city transit, traction, and rapid transit? Are you looking for comments on your own work?

I have to believe that there is interest in city transit, traction, and rapid transit. But the idea of modeling city transit, traction, and rapid transit is probably foreign to most of us. Give it a try before writing off this forum.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by nycmodel on Thursday, December 30, 2021 10:37 AM

Joseph, your work is some of the finest modeling I have seen. Those EL and trolley scenes are just spectacular.  You should be featured in Model Railroader.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Thursday, December 30, 2021 3:04 PM

Your work is excellent.

Joseph Frank
Well, so much for "Model Railroader" Mag forum

Don't go away mad.  I'm surprised this thread missed the attention of our member Broadway Lion.   You may find some intersting things at his personal website.  AFAIK he is our only member who is a monk, living in a monestary in ND.

I usually avoid all old threads because many of the links and photos are broken.  Old threads where the OP has a total of 1 post, even more so.  I almost didn't get past his post.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 3:16 PM

Hello Big Daddy and the other responding members. 

THANKS for your collective nice comments and support.  Yes, I noted that the original thread didn't get many replies when originated 10 years ago.  I am aware of the monk Bro. Elias (B'way LION) for many years -- he has a large HO Layout but no where near the caliber and level of detailed realistic modeling work as seen in my layout photos.  But his IS a huge operating system --- somewhat like my earlier but somewhat smaller (than his) HO Scale 1960's-80's era EL Layout (see its photos in my FLICK HO Scale Layout ALBUMS) -- you can have a lot more mileage in HO Scale per layout room size than in 2 times larger O Scale, heh !

Perhaps I will find the motivation to start a new discussion thread of my own on this modeling subject and see what happens here. Thanks again for your assorted commentaries - appreciated !

Regards all - Joe F

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Posted by NHTX on Thursday, February 10, 2022 3:52 PM

     The elevated trains of Boston's Metropolitan Transit Authority first sparked my interest in the flanged wheel on the steel rail, way back in 1949.  Like so many others, this led to exposure to other forms of rail transportation and the el/subway became simply a way to get around.  Not only have I ridden underground in Boston but, also in New York, Hoboken, Seoul, Tokyo, and London.

     I too find the B&W pictures have a magic that would be lost in color.  The ones where the tracks above cast their shadows on the streets below are like a page out of my childhood.  I do have one question that nags me, though.  Is it my eyes or imagination?  In the third photo from the top, is the second girder rail from the left in the left track reversed? 

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Sunday, February 13, 2022 6:48 PM

Hi NHTX

 

NO...it is not reversed -- and  I don't know what you mean "reversed"  The head of the El track flange rail (placed very close to running rail) is parallel to the running rail head - as is on all flange-rails.  My flange rails actually to somewhat engage the wheel flange back-faces on my curved tracks per prototype.  (Joe F)

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Posted by NHTX on Monday, February 14, 2022 7:17 AM

Joe,

     In the picture, both rail heads are facing the left side of the photo, with the guarding portion to the right of both rail heads, of the track on the left of the picture.  If this were the case, the left wheel would ride on the rail head per the norm.  The right wheel would be running on the guarding portion of the rail.  Otherwise, beautiful modeling that sparks so many fond memories.

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Monday, February 14, 2022 12:06 PM

The FIRST below shows the beginning of the flange rail and how the inner guard rail moves further inward to clear the flange rail.  The RAISED higher outer rail along the left side of the track is the uncovered "3rd Rail" (or power rail in prototype)

 

The SECOND photo below is a photo closeup of one of the 3 curved tracks.  This is the NY style of curve track flange rail (the one close to, next to theh running rail) and continuation of the safety "derailment" guard rail further inboard.  All curved tracks are done this way.  I think what you may be seeing if you are speaking about the far left (inner most curved track) -- the guard and flange rails were loose on the ties lying in the track bed awaiting installation at that time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by NHTX on Monday, February 14, 2022 5:16 PM

      My question was in reference to the trolley trackage girder rail in the street, under the el.

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Posted by NorthsideChi on Monday, February 14, 2022 8:48 PM

Those elevated track scenes.  Amazing. You'd seriously think these were real if not posted here. It all looks so realistic.  

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Posted by jim57 on Thursday, March 24, 2022 4:10 PM

Joseph Frank
my NYC transit modeling work

Today is the first time I've seen your work.  Breathtaking in detail!  It reminds me of my NYC school years when I rode the subways daily.  Museum quality and worthy of preservation (and much more attention.)  I second the other reader who recommend MRR do a feature article based on your unique and fascinating work.  

Thank you for reviving this.

JimW

 

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 2:09 PM

sorry for the confusion re: the El trackwork photos I showed -- but the streetcar track photo you refer to (?) in the shadows under the EL appears OK to me

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Saturday, July 16, 2022 4:06 PM

Hello Jim W and ALL (who responded)

 

If you want to see a lot more of my layout (The NYC O Scale EL & Trolley system) - Check out my FLICKR photos page and Flickr Photo albums page.  LINKS BELOW

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/44268069@N00/page1 -- This is the Photostream Page --- where all just loaded new photos go to the top of page 1

https://www.flickr.com/photos/44268069@N00/albums -- This is the Photo ALBUMS page --- where photos are put in albums based on their subject, scene,  and content matter

Note:  There are also Photo ALBUMS for my O Scale Railroad Models and for my HO Scale Mainline Railroad (Commuter & long distance) trains covering PRR, NHRR, LIRR, NYCRR, B&O, Reading RR, Jersey Central RR, Amtrak, Metro North

 -- as well as TWO ALBUMS my 1960's thru 1984 and present original HO SCALE NYC Model EL & Trolley Layout 

NOTE:  ALSO on the main (Photostream page 1) page,  see the menu bar near page top (under the blue banner at top) with a link to FAVES (Favorite Photos).   

These are photos of some of my work but mainly work of a few modeler friends of mine.  Astounding modeling also.

Regards - Joe F

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by Rook2324 on Sunday, July 17, 2022 9:11 PM

Check out the Broadway Lion. He used to haunt these pages with the largest subway layout in North Dakota but I haven't seen him in a while. http://www.broadwaylion.com/

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Sunday, July 17, 2022 11:39 PM

Rook 2324

 

Have you even checked out my own website layout photos and videos yet ??!! 

Quite a big difference between Elias's Layout (He is a Monastery Monk Brother) and my lyaout in details, scale, and museum caliber realism.  His layout is mainly a huge operation of loops and up and overs in one long layout - continuous operation.  My decades earlier own HO Scale NY EL & Trolley layout when it was (modular construction) re-built and much expanded and in full operation (1976 thru 1984 was 36' x 9' --- there are 2 Albums of it from its inception during 1964 thru 1970 - and 1970 thru 1984. The earlier version was somewhat smaller from 1964 thru 1970. It is presently in storage in modular-disassembly but many of the modules are on full display in my train room as various "dioramas" -- as can be seen in some of the 1970-1984 (to present) Album photos.

 

I know of "Lion's" (Brother Elias) layout for many years as he built and expanded it. On a very frugal budget but he made do with what he had and could get as scrap materials.  And a lot of work to create it all over many years.

 

Here is a video of "The Lions"  HO Scale subway layout - from 2015 -- 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty3MonR3q5Q

 

regards - Joe F

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