Trackwork for St. Louis Avenue

January 27, 2010:I have been ill the last two weeks so not much has been accomplished but I did manage to think about the layout some. This bit of tinkering and setting buildings and loose bits of track helped to establish the general appearance that I wanted for the layout. It turns out that in order for the tracks to line up along the freight house properly that access from the left hand side of the layout was going to require a couple of curved switches.

The basic layout of the yard at the "Bluff" end of the scene.

The first layout used off the shelf Atlas code 83 turnouts and while I was happy enough with those, I thought I would try my hand at building some for myself. The first attempt at building a turnout turned out well enough so I had courage to do some more. The next two I tackled were those curves I mentioned above. I used the Central Valley turnout kits as a basis. Even though the tie strips I purchased were made for code 70 rail I found they worked just fine with code 83 with a little tweeking (Central Valley does make this for code 83). Some tweeking was needed on all parts of the turnouts as these curves are pretty sharp and care had to be taken to allow clearence for the locomotives as they ground around them. Glad to report that they are working just fine and as dependable a turnout as I have ever used.

18 inch radius #5 curved turnouts. My second and third, hand-made turnouts...the last one turned out better than the one before so I am confident I will continue to improve.

The source for these throwbars was an antique pc modem.

Another neat part about these CVT kits is this nifty switch stand kit that is included. It can be built static or moveable...slick.

March 1, 2010: The yard trackage is comming along slowly. Adding "hand-laid" turnouts as I have time takes time. Not really so much, about an evening each once I get started. I have built another completely from scratch and one more using a Central Valley kit. The CV kits are superdetailed and so make great foreground models. Below is a ground level picture of the yard throat from flood photos at the KC Public Library. The switch stands show really well which prompted me to modify the CV kit switchstand to something close to the prototype.

The East end of the Wabash yard during the flood of 1903 or 1908. Good shot of the switch stands.

A better shot from the old Grand Central Station at 2nd and Wyandotte shows what looks like a tri-pod sort of contraption.

My modified switch stands using the CV kit. Not quite right but it'll have to do for now.

April 15, 2010: Happy Tax Day! I have been in another modeling slump the last month or so. The yard track is complete and as the track heads up St.Louis Avenue West there are a number of custom fit diamond crossings to contend with. Working out the method for constructing these is taking some time. I had hoped to be able to build them in place but that turned out to be impractical. There is a surprising amount of engineering in a simple diamond crossing.

The first crossings are just west of the yard where the KCFS&G tracks come down Santa Fe Street toward the Union Elevator on Eight Street. Since this is a "dummy" line and needs no power, the electrical aspects of the crossings can be simplified so making this a good place to learn how to construct the track.

Electrical plan for the "dummy" crossings.

Since these three crossings are all the same angle I assembled a jig from Kappler wood ties. PC board ties were cut from an old computer modem I have laying around and the rails were assembled onto these the spaces between the PC board ties were filled with ties and the whole thing is made to be set in place.

The jig and completed crossing on the workbench.

One view of the crossing in place.

Another view of the crossing in place.

May 4, 2010:The snag of the three track diamond crossing on Santa Fe Street is finished. There is even some beginings of scenery installed with the brick street with inlayed track and some fences and freight. The grade crossings are a hold over from Liberty Street, I have no historical evidence for the appearance of these at this location but some spots in the west bottoms still contain this kind of feature. Looking closely at theSanborn map reveals the existence of some small structures including a little flagman shack near this location which I have stuck in on the other side of the track but this is an area I can expect to take on later. But, in the mean time this nasty piece of track is finished and I can move a bit further down the line.

Another detail the Sanborn map reveals that the Birds Eye View does not is that the outside siding at this end of the Freight House was actually connected to the line on Santa Fe Street either as a connecting line or (as in my usage) as access to the team track that I have decided to consider it to be. Looks like I will need to evolve my track plan again.

The finished crossings with rough wood grade crossings installed. Looks like these may need to be replaced soon...something for the track gang to do.

Starting out with a little ground cover.

Adding some more photo background here will enhance the illusion and here is what it may look like as a vintage photo.