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Looking for MR article on making industrial (paved) yard using styrene sheets

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Looking for MR article on making industrial (paved) yard using styrene sheets
Posted by groundeffects on Sunday, June 27, 2021 7:26 PM

Hi everyone,

I'm looking to make a industrial paved lot with an imbeded railroad track running through it.  A styrene sheet was used for the lot itself which also included the strip that ran between the rails.  I remember Cody Grivno did an article on this subject a while back but I can't seem to find the MR issue that covered this.  Any ideas when this article was printed?  Thanks in advance!

Jeff B

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, June 27, 2021 10:03 PM

I don't recall seeing that particular article, but there's not much mystery about using sheet styrene for pavement, whether it's a street, parking lot, or railway crossing...

 

...and it's also easy to add sidewalks and crown the streets, too....

I use .060" sheet styrene, bought in 4'x8'sheets, and have gone through at least four or five sheets, as it's useful for modifying structures, too, especially the normally-unseen side of buildings on an around-the-room layout.

Wayne

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Posted by groundeffects on Monday, June 28, 2021 1:09 PM

Thanks!  Nice work on that grade crossing too.

Jeff

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Posted by hornblower on Monday, June 28, 2021 4:49 PM

Very nice work Wayne! I especially like the crown in your roads! 

I also have several places on my layout where I have modeled tracks embedded in concrete or asphalt using sheet styrene from 4' by 8' sheets.  Obviously, you need to lay and paint the track first. Then use sheet cork or similar material of the proper thickness (at least the same thickness as the ties and possibly a little more to help clear the spike detail).  Also make sure whatever underlayment material you use keeps the finish surface of the sheet styrene paving at least .020" below the top of the rails as this makes it easier to clean your tracks without damaging your paving surface.

A few tips I'd like to pass on includes the use of cardstock sheets to cut, trim and create templates for the final styrene pieces.  Use something like dry erase makers to "dirty up" the tops of the rails in the areas to be paved.  Lay a piece of cardstock on top of one rail then draw your finger or a burnishing tool along the top of the rail to create a cut line on the cardstock.  Cut along the cut line and trial fit to the rail making any adjustments as needed.  Tape the various pieces of cardstock together as you go until the entire section of pavement is covered with cardstock trimmed to fit.  Use heavy cardstock and tape the pieces together well as you now need to trace the perimeter of your cardstock template onto your styrene sheet.  Carefully cut out the styrene following the template lines and fit the piece of styrene into position on the layout.  You may need to sand or file some of the styrene edges for best fit.  You may also find that you need to bevel or notch the edges of the styrene where it meets the rail.  This step allows the styrene to clear the spike detail but fit tight to the outside of the rail.  Gaps between the rails and styrene can be filled using caulking smoothed with a wet finger.  I next use sandpaper to give a little texture to the styrene surface and various scribing tools to create expansion joints in concrete and cracks in concrete or asphalt.  Paint you styrene an appropriate color and use spray adhesive to glue in in place on the layout.

The same dry erase marker and cardstock technique will work for creating the "between-the-rails" styrene pieces.  Just be sure to provide sufficient wheel flange clearance between the rails and styrene.  This clearance also eliminate the need to bevel or notch the edge of these styrene pieces.  You'll have to add shim material between the track ties and the finish styrene but be sure the top of the styrene is at least .020" below the top of the rails.

Hornblower

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Posted by Jumijo on Monday, June 28, 2021 6:39 PM

That was a wonderfully thorough tutorial on embedding tracks in styrene sheet roads, Hornblower. Thank you for taking the time to share it. 

Modeling the Baltimore waterfront in HO scale

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Posted by willy6 on Friday, July 2, 2021 9:35 AM

I am using alot of styrene for my layout and doctorwaynes layout looks good. I have been experimenting with textured rattle can paints and I am finding good weathered road colors. But, I am trying to figure out was is a good template to use for cutting curves / turns. I am thinking of getting some Dollar Store salad plates and using them for a template for curves / turns.

Being old is when you didn't loose it, it's that you just can't remember where you put it.
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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, July 2, 2021 12:22 PM

When doing the layout work for putting "paved" roads around (and/or over) tracks, I tape a large piece of paper over the area, then add marks and notes for reference points where the paper is attached - this allows it to be taken off and then place correctly back in its exact original position, whenever needed.

To accurately indicate the position of tracks, I use a pencil, laying it almost horizontal with the "ground", with the lead portion against the outer top-edge of the rail. 

I then repeat this for the inside edges of the rails if that area is to be "paved" too.

The paper can then be cut along the sharpest side of the pencil lines, then taped in placed on the sheet styrene, so that the pattern can then be drawn directly on the plastic.

For the pieces which go between the rails, whether they're road crossings or portions of paved areas with tracks, the between-the-rails areas need to be narrower than the rubbed pencil lines indicate, to leave room for the wheel flanges of locomotives and rolling stock.

On the crossings shown in the photos, those pieces fit in the space between the moulded-on spike heads of Atlas code 83 track and turnouts. That width is .528".

If those crossings were blown up to full size, the .060" thick styrene between the rails is .023" lower than the railheads...roughly the equivalent of 2", as bad or worse than some real crossings. 
I suppose that I could have used .080" sheet styrene for those areas, but the LPDs (Little Plastic Drivers) haven't yet complained.

The .060" thick sheets are almost perfect for the pavement outside the rails, though, as they sit atop the moulded-on spikeheads.  This places that pavement .013" below the railhead, which means that if you're manually cleaning track (I seldom do, except after ballasting or adding track-side ground cover, using a very fine abrasive pad, meant for cleaning electrical contact points), so the track cleaner won't touch the "pavement" at all...no scuffed-off paint. 

All of the paved areas shown in my earlier photos are atop plywood, so they're cemented to the plywood using gelled contact cement.
To get maximum adhesion, I used lacquer thinner and a 1" brush to "prep" the styrene - this allows the contact cement to better bond to the styrene, and none of the pavement has lifted or come loose in the many years since the roads were installed. 
Since most lacquer thinner nowadays is less aggessive on styrene, I'd recommend MEK as an alternative prep if you're planning on gluing-down your styrene pavement using contact cement.

I've also done some crossings with "planks" between the rails and a couple outside each rail...

Unfortunately, I used drywall mud for the "pavement", which is easily marked or damaged.
The "planks" are strip styrene of appropriate widths and thickness, distressed with a few passes of a razor saw, then painted with a creosote-coloured paint.

Another option is gravelled crossings.  The ones shown here use "creosoted planks" on the outsides of the rails, and similar planks inside the rails, to keep the gravel out of the flangeways...

...while the one below has the gravel run right to the outsides of the rails, with the flangeways protected using .080" angle iron from Evergreen...

Wayne

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Posted by groundeffects on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 7:02 PM

Okay, it's been over a week and I finally started and finished a paved asphalt lot with railroad track imbeded:

Valley Lumber

 

Valley Lumber

Valley Lumber

This was designed for N scale, with the track used being code 55 Micro Engineering flex track cut to length.  The base shown is made of gatorfoam, with two layers of Evergreen sheet styrene used to bring the parking lot surfaces to just below the rail height.  The lot was initially painted using grey primer, then Woodland Scenics asphalt color paint was applied to the surface using Wedge shaped sponges.  After drying I used Pan Pastels and applied a lighter grey plus dirt weathering for the lot.  The buildings (from Walthers Waltons and Sons Lumber kit-done with some modifications) haven't been secured down as there still is some finishing work to be done, however the fencing (Woodland Scenics) have been secured to the lot.  The gates in the front drive through entrance and the back railroad entrance do actually open and close.  The gates and fencing were also weathered.

Thanks for everyones tips and suggestions.

Jeff B.

 

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 8:10 PM

Nice work on your lumberyard and the pavement, too, Jeff.

Wayne

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Posted by groundeffects on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 8:52 PM

Thanks again Wayne!

Jeff B.

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Posted by NorthsideChi on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 9:15 PM
Awesome work on modeling the camber in the streets
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Posted by hornblower on Friday, July 9, 2021 12:50 PM

Wow Jeff!  It's weird how two people can independently come up with nearly identical scenes.  Below are some photos of the McFadden Lumber scene which partially covers the top of a helix on my HO scale Santa Ana & Newport layout.  The office building is a small DPM structure while the foreground lumber shed is the old Atlas model.  The two large lumber sheds along the rear of the scene were scratch built as they are actually low-relief structures against the backdrop.  The chain link fence uses Walthers vertical poles and tulle but substitutes .020" music wire for the horizontal tubes.  This allowed me to build long fence sections around the perimeter of the scene.  The "straddle carriers" are white metal kits from, if I remember correctly, SS Limited.  These are challenging kits but I don't know whether they are still available.  I also buried the tracks in the asphalt.

  

  

  

  

I don't remember where I got the wheels stops but these are laser cut wood kits.

Hornblower

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Posted by groundeffects on Friday, July 9, 2021 7:35 PM

Hello Mr. Hornblower.

Pretty amazing that the arrangement of my lumberyard is similar to yours.  Mine is N scale though, and would I'd love to have some of your detail items for my display, such as those straddle carriers.

Judging by the name of your layout/railroad, I'm assuming your layout is based upon Orange County/Southern California.  I had relatives that lived in Newport Beach 30-40 years ago, and can think back to wonderful times as a young adult taking the car ferry to/from Newport Island (just for fun) as well as body surfing in the area.

Thanks again for showing your lumberyard.

Jeff B

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Posted by hornblower on Sunday, July 11, 2021 2:10 PM

Jeff

You are correct!  I was looking for a short line to model and found the Santa Ana & Newport right in my back yard.  I grew up in Huntington Beach and now live in Fullerton.  I worked in Santa Ana for many years for a boss who was a train nut, too.  

The Santa Ana & Newport RR was built by James and Robert McFadden in the 1890's to haul lumber from ships docking at their McFadden Wharf (now the Newport Pier) north to their lumberyard in Santa Ana.  They located their lumberyard in Santa Ana to take advantage of a convenient connection to the ATSF with whom they enjoyed a strong business relationship.  Later, an attempt was made to build a second line from Newport to Los Alamitos to serve a sugar beet plant but construction troubles and costs meant the line stopped just south of Westminster.  After just a few years, the brothers decided to get out of the railroad business and offered their line to the ATSF. ATSF was in receivership at the time and could not buy the line.  Eventually, the line was swallowed up by the Southern Pacific.  The SP extended the two ends of the SA&N to join up with the SP main, creating a loop of track around much of Orange County.  Commercial development of San Pedro Harbor was a death knell for the commercial future of Newport Harbor and the SP abandoned most of the SA&N trackage by the 1930's.

I didn't want to build an 1890's era layout so I model a "what if" scenario assuming the SA&N remained independent and operating into the 1950's.  My track plan includes the SP track connections to create the "loop" and the layout features the SA&N, ATSF, SP and Pacific Electric railroads.  It's been a lot of fun!

 

Hornblower

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Posted by groundeffects on Sunday, July 11, 2021 2:51 PM

Hi Mr. Hornblower,

Here are two photos taken in LA/Orange county that my grandfather had shot sometime in the 50's/early 60's:

I think this first photo was shot near Newport, or possibly up the coast from there:

SP at Newport

 

I think the second was taken near "Pierpoint Landing".  I'm not sure if that was near San Pedro or not.

PE car near pierpoint

Perhaps you or someone else can give a more accurate idea of where these photos may have been taken.

Thanks,

Jeff B

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Posted by hornblower on Monday, July 12, 2021 3:19 PM

Jeff 

The first photo could have been shot along Seashore Drive (parallel to Pacific Coast Highway) in West Newport between the Santa Ana River and Balboa Boulevard.  The old right-of-way is now called West Newport Park.  Even though the two structures on the left side of the photo look to be brand new (stickers still on the windows), real estate trends in this area almost demand that the original structures be highly remodeled or torn down and replaced with something twice the size.  I could not find any of the three structures using Google Maps Street View.  Except for occasional special events, the PE no longer ran trolleys to Newport by the 1950's.  As you can see, the caternary is already gone so rail operations required diesel locos. The PE often leased equipment from the SP although the photo appears to show an actual SP train. Originally, the SA&N and PE tracks ran parallel to each other along the coast but only the PE tracks survived beyond the 1930's.

I am less familiar with the Pierpoint Landing area although this was near the Pike Amusement Park (long gone) and would have been a popular PE destination.  This is very near to the Long Beach Convention Center where the Long Beach Grand Prix is run today.

 

Hornblower

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Posted by groundeffects on Monday, July 12, 2021 10:34 PM

Hi Mr. Hornblower,

Thanks for looking at those two pictures for me.  I didn't even think the first photo could have been parellel to the PCH, but that now makes sense. Regarding the second photo, I'm not too familiar with the area around the Long Beach Convention Center, but I'm generally familiar with the course layout that is used for the Grand Prix.  I would have loved to been there when F1 races were run in Long Beach in the late 70's.

It's nice there are hobbyists that have the local knowledge that others can tap into and utilize.  I'm up in the Sacramento/Folsom area so if you need some info on railroading up in Northern California/The Sierras perhaps I can assist.  

Thanks again!

Jeff

 

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Posted by hornblower on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 2:56 PM

I was fortunate to attend a qualifying day during the F1 era of the Long Beach Grand Prix.  Those six-wheeled Tyrrels were something else!  I would frequently attend if not already working the event during the CART era.  As part of the sound control team, it was nice to get paid to sit right next to the track!  I can't stand IRL so I haven't been back in a long time.  

I'm a little jealous that you have such ready access to the Calironia Railroad Museum.  I never have enough time to spend there when we visit!

Hornblower

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Posted by groundeffects on Thursday, July 15, 2021 3:44 PM

Hi Mr. Hornblower.  Nice to know there's another model railroader that also enjoys motorsports.  In the early 80's I used to be a volunteer corner worker for one of the car clubs in Northern California.  I was a flagman at both Laguna Seca (Monterey, CA) as well as Sears Point (Sonoma, CA)  I also liked to go to both tracks to photograph Indycars and GTP cars (Laguna Seca) and Nascar (Sears Point).  I would have loved to seen the 6 wheel Tyrrel, but on the other hand I have been able to see some amazing Indycars/GTP cars going through the corkscrew at 'Seca.  Plus, one time down there I got a photo of Paul Neuman playing ping-pong in the paddock.  That was when he was involved with CART Neuman-Haas racing.

It's been about 18 months since I went to the California State Railroad Museum (CSRM).  The museum itself is very nice, and before the pandemic I tried to visit at least once a month.  Next to the museum, is the the railroad archives/library (it is currently listed as closed). Though library coverage is on the western railroads (especially Espee of course), there is alot of info as well on eastern U.S. railroads.  Plus, the library was free!  Nice place to spend indoors on a hot afternoon!

Jeff B.

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Posted by kasskaboose on Thursday, July 15, 2021 7:14 PM

willy6

I am using alot of styrene for my layout and doctorwaynes layout looks good. I have been experimenting with textured rattle can paints and I am finding good weathered road colors. But, I am trying to figure out was is a good template to use for cutting curves / turns. I am thinking of getting some Dollar Store salad plates and using them for a template for curves / turns.

 

I also am interested in how to use stryene to mimic paved roads that curve in industrial areas.

BTW: Great photos!

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Posted by hornblower on Thursday, July 15, 2021 7:21 PM

Jeff

I used to play in SCCA GT-4 class with a 1970 Datsun 510.  Though I never got to drive it at Laguna Seca, I loved driving Sears Point! Getting up on two wheels in Turn 2 (off camber you know) and slowly rotating in a four wheel drift coming down the hill into Turn 9 then shooting off toward Turn 10 without ever moving the steering wheel was a blast.  The Carousel seems to go on forever, too.  I did get to drive a 1960 Corvette in the first ever Corvette parade at Laguna during the Monterey Historics.  Otherwise, I mostly played at Riverside, Willow Springs, Las Vegas, Carlsbad and eventually Buttonwillow. Riverside and Carlsbad are gone while Las Vegas is still there but totally unrecognizable from the days I played there! I prepare motorsports venue noise studies and have worked with NHRA, CART, NASCAR, SCCA, NASA, CRA sprint cars, and others. It's nice getting paid to attend races.

Unfortunately, staying healthy (read alive) in my old age requires medications that preclude me from ever getting in a race car again. Even though I still have the ability, even a little accident could cause me to bleed out before the rescue car arrived.  There used to be a guy in his early 80's driving an H Production Bugeye Sprite in my race group (He was pretty good, too).  I'm only 61 and I'm already toast!

Hornblower

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Posted by hornblower on Thursday, July 15, 2021 7:43 PM

kasskaboose
willy6 I am using alot of styrene for my layout and doctorwaynes layout looks good. I have been experimenting with textured rattle can paints and I am finding good weathered road colors. But, I am trying to figure out was is a good template to use for cutting curves / turns. I am thinking of getting some Dollar Store salad plates and using them for a template for curves / turns.   I also am interested in how to use stryene to mimic paved roads that curve in industrial areas.

I try to cut all of my road sections in one piece from 4' by 8' sheets of styrene.  However, I use cardstock to create my templates.  This allows me to cut and fit strips of cardstock along each edge of the roadway following whatever curves, intersections, grade crossings, etc.  Once all the cardstock strips are fitted to the roadway edges, I add additional cardstock strips down the middle of the road partially overlapping the edge strips, then tape all the pieces together into a single continuous template.  I then lay the cardstock template on the styrene sheet and carefully trace it with a pencil.  Finally, I cut the styrene along the pencil lines using a hobby knife and/or heavy sissors and file/sand the edges smooth.  I sand both sides of the styrene to simulate concrete or asphalt texture on the top side and to give the adhesive caulk a little tooth on the underside.  

I do use an old drafting circle template to lay out the corner radii at inersections on the cardstock template but I rarely find I need to use a rigid cutting guide.  If you really need help laying out large radius curves, you could always use a trammel bar compass.  Both Micro Mark and Grainger have inexpensive versions and you could use either as a radius cutter by replacing the pencil with a hobby knife.  You could also make you own using a yardstick or other strip of wood.  Best part is that one adjustable trammel bar can draw/cut many different radii.

Hornblower

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