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After some five years of lurking and digesting all I can here at MLS (and over at LSC, don’t want to leave them out) the stars have come into alignment and I am ready to begin building my outdoor, raised layout. Two boxes of AMS NG 250 brass track are on hand. Now currently in the layout design process. I hope to get the raised bench work constructed and in place by mid Spring 09. I have no clue about switches and need some help in selecting the appropriate switches to match the following layout/design element.

The following historic photograph (actually one-half of a stereo photograph) from the Civil War has caught my attention. It is of the railroad facility at Culpeper Court House, Virginia photograph by Timothy H. O'Sullivan in August 1862.

















































While searching the Net for more layout ideas I came across the following on Carl Arendt’s web site: http://www.carendt.com/


































To me, Moore’s terminal design has the same feel of Civil War Era terminal at Culpeper Courthouse.

This link provides some background information on Moore’s design. http://www.carendt.com/microplans/index.html
The problem now is to get Mr. Moore’s design from paper to actual layout. Perhaps I may be over thinking this out, but……. Will be placing this activity area onto a 6’x8’ flat top module sorta like what Richard Smith has built for the POC. For right now I would like to know what size switches I will need to create a near likeness of Moore’s Shortline Terminal. Except in my version, the storage track line will continue beyound the 6x8 module (this line will transit into a broad 20’ diameter curve just prior to exiting the 6x8 module). Will I need to add another 6x8 module to make everything fit without that crunched up look?

How about stub switches? Which I’m assuming must be hand crafted.
 

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Joe,

First, a question. You say you have boxes of AMS NG code 250 track. That's narrow gauge, representing 3', yet both the photos and drawings are of a standard gauge yard. Are you planning to run narrow gauge (e.g. Fn3 = 1:20.3 or 1:22.5) or 1/29th to 1/32nd scale std gauge models?

Then, from perusing the link you provided [ to find it I had to look up 'shortline' on the list linked on the left ] I note it says it was laid out for Atlas switches. They look to be about 8" long, so if you scale this up 3 times you are only at 24". To get to 3' narrow gauge, you should multiply everything by 87/20.3 = 4.35, whereas your 6' x 8' is only 2 times longer.

There are a couple of software programs that allow you to lay out LGB track pieces, or you can draw the layout in Visio using the stencils from one of our fellows. (Do a search on this forum.) Off the cuff, I can suggest that #6 switches won't fit (about 9' radius, 30" long) but 6' radius should work.

Stub switches can be made by cutting up an ordinary switch. Most switch construction is complicated by the frogs and point rails - with a stub made from an off-the-shelf product, you bypass all those problems!
 

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Joe,

One thing that's very important to consider on a raised benchwork layout is "reach". Maximum practical reach for most people is about 30" with 24" recommended. With access from both sides of the benchwork that makes a maximum of 60" wide for trackwork. Of course bits of scenery or buildings can be reached on a limited basis beyond that if hard spots are provided on top for leaning over. Either way I'd advise not placing structures between the turntable and one edge of the benchwork as access will be greatly compromised. Stretching the terminal out a bit would allow for the fuel/servicing structures to be placed before the turntable instead of alongside it.

As to length, the engine terminal area on the POC is 16 feet long. I use Llagas no. 6 switches and recommend them if you can possibly fit them in. Of course they are point switches whereas stub switches were used in the Civil War era. You might convert regular switches to stubs as Pete suggested, compromise with point switches or build your own stub switches. I use a nominal 40" for height which varies as the ground undulates beneath the level benchwork.

The prototype you've chosen to replicate is a neat one to do and I'd encourage you to try and adapt it for your use. It'd sure look good if you can do it.
 

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Actually, Kevin pointed out, the track in the Culpepper shot is probably 5 foot broad gauge.

I'd like to see some hand laid stub switches!


-Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks to all who read and to those who have responded. Plan to run 20.3 scale equipment on gauge 1 track through a 20.3 scale world. The historic, ACW era photograph is just for inspiration. What I will probably end up with is something akin to Mr. Moore's Shortline Terminal. The Orange & Alexandria RR, which ran through Culpeper C. H. was 4 foot 8 inch gauge of 51# rail of unknown type (at least some was T-rail). More historic photos are available here: http://www.wmhf.org/so62/civimages.html

Managed to find a copy of Visio 2000 at work to install on home system and downloaded the track template from Stan's site. Thanks I was so close to ordering RR Track.

AMS #6 code 250 Guage 1 (brass) switch is 30.5" long and Sunset Valley's #6 code 250 Guage 1 (brass) switch is just 26" long. Why the difference in length? From Stan's LGB Visio template the 16050/16150 switch appears to be 18.5" in length (the 1200 series switches 12.5"). Have figured out how to remove the protection properties and created 26" and 30" version of the 16000 series switches. Yes I realize that these are not "right", but I believe they will be close and of use in planning the relative placement of all the elements in my adaptation of Moore's Terminal scene including the raised bench work modules.

Taking Richard's advice I will dedicate two 4x8 modules to the upper half of Moore's terminal and angle off another two 4x8 (or 3x8 modules) for the southern half. Forming a shape something in the manner of that shown below (will not be building triangle-shaped modules, but then again!).




BTW; The setting of my railroad will be on Chisolm Island in the Lowcountry of SC. Here is the link to view the Chisholm Islands area using Google Map.
http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=chisholm+islands+sc&ie=UTF8&ll=32.528434,-80.615959&spn=0.059051,0.175781&t=h&z=13
Be sure to take a ride along Witsell Road in Google Street View.

Time range will center on 1900 +/- 10 years. Industries will include phosphate mining, truck farming and sea food processing. From 1870 until the Great Sea Island Storm of ’93 help end operation this area of SC was a center of phosphate mining. A mining tram did operat on the island. Then truck farming became the big deal and once the SAL line was completed in the late teens an agriculture spur was built connecting the island to the world’s markets.

Gotta get going with Visio as I want to start cutting lumber in January.

Joe
 

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This looks like an excellent modelling project.

If stub switches are desired, they are reasonably easy to build. The hard part is of course the frog but frogs are available from Llagas Creek in a variety of sizes. The rest is just spiking rail and is straightforward. I have built a number of these stub switches spiking Llagas Creek rail to cedar ties. For the "points", I like to drill a small hole in the inside web of the rail and push a brass escutcheon pin through. This pin (one in each rail) is then pushed through a predrilled brass throwbar and soldered on the bottom. I use a choke cable (from an auto parts stor) as the switch throw.

It takes me about 2 hours to build a switch on the workbench and maybe another half hour to install it and the throw on the railroad. An added bonus is the cost is a small fraction of a commercial switch.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Just a comment for anyone wanting to build stub switches, especially by modifying commersial products. Remember that, unlike a modern switch, the movable rails on a stub switch are the single set at the approaching end, rather than points. If you already know that, ignore me, but if not, bear it in mind. I would think that the easiest way to modify a regular switch would be to remove the points completely, and cut the stock rails to line up with the now vacant ends of the point rails.

Interesting project, by the way. I've been inspired by that same photograph and track plan, and at one time had cooked up a small HO layout based on them.
 

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Posted By altterrain on 12/04/2008 6:44 PM
Actually, Kevin pointed out, the track in the Culpepper shot is probably 5 foot broad gauge.

I'd like to see some hand laid stub switches!


-Brian



How about this one?



Clems' Warrior Run layout, which he brings to shows around the East, has many stub switches. I once ran my live steamer out of the steam bay onto the main line without aligning the switch, so it ran off down the ties between the rails.
 

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Posted By Pete Thornton on 12/05/2008 9:06 AM
How about this one?



Clems' Warrior Run layout, which he brings to shows around the East, has many stub switches. I once ran my live steamer out of the steam bay onto the main line without aligning the switch, so it ran off down the ties between the rails.



I'm trying to figure out the track geometry of that switch! At the bottom of the image, it looks like 3 rail dual gauge track. However, each of the diverging routs appear to be narrow gauge, with no place for a standard gauge train to go. What am I missing?
 

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A homemade three way stub switch made with small nails to limit the travel to the outside rails.


A better view of the brass throw lever. The rest of the switch is made of acrylic and aluminum rail.



The rest of the switch is made of acrylic and aluminum rail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Brian- Been visiting Shorpy since I first heard of the site here back in early Spring 2007. Great way to spend time at. Yes, I first saw the Culpeper C. H. photo on Shorpy.

Kenneth- It surely is a small world.


Thanks for all the info & photos on stub switches. I will be needing this shortly. Right now switching types, stub or with points, is up in the air. Depends upon final count of switches.


Joe
 

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I'm trying to figure out the track geometry of that switch!


Thanks for the interest. It's a 32mm (O-gauge) switch (2' prototype) with an additional 45mm gauge rail on the right, going straight on. The left hand rail is common - except when the switch is moved, as it is in the above photo.

I found another pic of it in the other position, below. (Part of the confusion is that there's a very short piece of rail in front of the RH rail of the stub switch - part of the crossing where that rail crosses the RH 45mm rail.)
 

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Right now switching types, stub or with points, is up in the air.

For what it's worth, I suspect that stub switches would be a heck of a lot easier to build, if you're hand laying your track. On the other hand, forget buying them!

I found another pic of it in the other position.

Ahhh, now it makes sense. What had me confused was the apparent lack of a place for the 45mm gauge equipment to go. Now I can see that the rail is there, and simply very slighty out of the frame on the first photo. I could see the guard rail on the left stock rail, which would only make sense if there was a straight route, but I didn't see the right hand 45mm rail, and didn't realize the flangeway would be as wide as it is.

It's a really interesting piece of trackwork!
 
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build your own stub switches!
and if you are lazy, like i am, use as much commercial parts as possible.

by using a curved and a straight length, cutting the ties and pushing them together, the only things left to build are the frof and a short, movable piece of straight track:







if you are too lazy, even to build a frog, do like i did for the access of a small bridge.
i just used half of a commercial crossing with some pieces of curved rail:



 

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build your own stub switches!
and if you are lazy, like i am, use as much commercial parts as possible.

Exactly my point. Take an existing switch, cut the rails at the pivot for the points, throw away the points, and bend/move the outer rails as a pair to meet either of the remaining two paths.
 
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