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Monday, January 23, 2012

Module Spotlight ~ Trolley Crossing Guard Jct.

Getting fancy with the 1' x 4' module. SCTCs Module 972. The Trolley Crossing Guard Junction Module.
The Southern California Traction Clubs module 972. Built in 1997 it was the 2nd module built that year.

There was a need to transition from the center street running of module 971 to a private right-of-way. So this module does just that with a highway intersection as well as a steam road crossing.

The divided highway matches up with module 971. It terminates at the highway that crosses the module at an angle. The tracks of a steam road also cross here and a small elevated interlocker helps guard the junction. The diverted highway freed up some space on the rest of the module for some scenery. In this case a siding and a substation.
With the junction being a prominent feature on this module, the SCTC members decided to have some fun with it.
 Remember those old movies where if a car breaks down, inevitably it stops on railroad tracks? Then there would be the sound of a train whistle~  Its happened to the best of them...

Harold Lloyd...

Buster Keaton...

... and of course, the Keystone Kops. 
And we know the outcome. Their vehicles were no match for the locomotives that rendered them to a state of less than Blue Book value.
Now in the real world, if a streetcar was to stall because of dewiring, the last place you would want it to come to a stop is across some steam road tracks. A streetcar wouldn't fare much better than the Keystone Kops Kruzer against a speeding locomotive. This was a very real danger to some traction companies. So they devised Trolley Crossing Guards.

Here is a traction line junction with a steam road in Toronto with trolley crossing guards in the overhead. Should the streetcars pole dewire at this spot, the shoe would catch in that wire mesh covering the contact wire. That wire mesh is energized and would power the car far enough to clear the crossing and out of danger.

So the builders of this module thought that that would be a pretty nifty feature to model. And it does get noticed by the public who often ask about it.

Pete DeBeers Mt. Lowe car speeds through the junction without fear of being smashed to smithereens should it dewire under that trolley crossing guard.

A fully detailed and lit substation rounds out a fun 4 square feet of model railroading. Yes sir! A fun 4 square feet of model railroading!

Dandy