Read the Free Trolleyville Times Monthly for the Latest News on Prototype and Model Traction!

Monday, April 20, 2015

City Planning

What's a City without Buildings?

Its time to start building buildings for this layout. And not just any old buildings. But models of actual buildings from San Diego's historic Gas Lamp Quarter. Because, you know... I like to do things the hard way.

Looking North up San Diego's 5th Street c.1915. Most of these buildings not only exist today, but are beautifully restored as part of San Diego's Historic Gaslamp Quarter.

The Plan
Each street on the layout represents a different decade, from the 1890s to the 1940s. Pretty much the entire era of the San Diego Electric Railway Co (1892 to 1949). The architecture of the buildings will be of the era of the street on which they stand. 

Because this is a model railroad and space is a premium, this layouts blocks are rather short. My blocks are just over 100 scale feet compared to San Diego's 200 x 300 feet. This for the most part relegates me to modeling exclusively corner buildings. Though I might be able squeak in a small mid-block building somewhere, its not a priority. Corner buildings are just fine.

An old edition of a San Diego newspaper touting some of the city's finer buildings. I originally wanted to include all these buildings on the layout, but I have since come to realize that the U.S. Grant is too huge. It's around 200 feet wide and wouldn't compress down to 100 feet very well. But the Union Building would fit well, especially since it housed the offices of the San Diego Electric Railway!

The Ultimate Goal:

This photo of the double-decker San Diego Electric Railway #1 rounding the corner in front of the Backesto Building was a big inspiration for the conception of this layout. Other than getting the layout up and running as designed, replicating this scene in model is my ultimate goal. Modeling ol' #1 will be the cherry on top. Until then, I think I'll start by constructing a model of the Backesto Block building. That should be a good challenge to start with. Yes sir! Should be a good challenge!


Monday, April 06, 2015

Bungalow Row

A Suburban Neighborhood Module Designed For The Southern California Traction Club Layout.

Since the old SCTC modular layout was a continuous loop, adding a module to one side of the layout required another module of the same length on the opposite side. So by adding the Tarnation Module to the industrial side of the layout, a companion module would be needed for the suburban side of the layout. So I designed this:

Bungalow Row. A standard 2'x4' double track traction module.

Nothing fancy in the way of trackwork. Just the standard double-track on a private right-of-way on the center divide of a boulevard. 

This postcard of a neighborhood in Pasadena, California with the Pacific Electric tracks down the center of the street has the look and feel I wanted to capture with this module.

A couple of narrow residential streets like this intersect the main boulevard.

These streets would be populated with various styles of craftsman homes.

To break-up the grid pattern a bit and as added interest, a dry wash cuts through the module at an angle. This would allow for a short wood pile trestle for the tracks and a couple concrete bridges for the boulevard.

I would have like to have included this passenger shelter on the module, but I just wasn't able to get it to fit. Too bad, that would have been a nifty detail.

The Models

There are some pretty decent models of bungalow style houses available out there:

Barbs Bungalow by Atlas could be built up into a really beautiful house.

Alpine Division (old Suydam) has a couple of rather nice craftsman kits of Craftsman style houses. With a lot of work, these could be built up to look great.

Woodland Scenic's Granny's House, all built up and ready to go.

 Rix even offers a couple of houses that could be built up into some pretty decent models.

Speaking of Rix, they offer this overpass that would be perfect for boulevard crossing over the dry wash.
The tracks would cross the wash on these trestle bents by Grand Central Gems.

AMB LaserKits even offers the Pacific Electric style passenger shed seen in the prototype photo earlier in this post. I would love to fit this in!

But alas... the SCTC has taken on a fresh new direction rendering this module obsolete. But the module could conceivably be redesigned to fit the new layout. So maybe there's life in this after all! Yes sir! Maybe there is some life in this after all!