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'Box Street' Micro Layout - 1:87 Scale
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 Posted: Tue Aug 18th, 2020 04:57 am
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James Stanford
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This HO scale micro layout was one of 3 proposed to be built,
to replace a previous modular but large-ish switching / shunting industrial branch layout,
representing the Dolton / Blue Island / Riverdale area in Chicago, IL, USA.

With the possibility of an impending move while that previous layout existed,
I decided that it would be best to minimise the layout moving stress,
and dismantle the previous modules, in favour of some smaller modules / micro layouts.


The Box Street micro is a 1200mm x 300mm switching layout based on the Boxer Shortline,
that can be found on the late Carl Arendt’s small and micro layouts website.

But I did add some extra trackage, and industry switching possibilities,
due to the extra width of the layout compared with the original Boxer Shortline plan.


Below is the track plan I decided on.





Layout Description

The sector plate can hold 1 short switcher and a 40 foot car, or a longer loco and no car.
There is a run around track for getting to the other side of car to switch some of the tracks.
A 2 track ‘yard’ where trains ‘arrive’ from.
2 team tracks, a flour and grain industry spur, and a food manufacturer.

This layout progressed quite quickly to an operating state,
and when I finally decided to do the scenery, basic scenery was quickly added as well.

This layout, along with another layout the same size called Pier 39 (more on that in future)
was added to a custom built bookshelf so that the two 1200mm x 300mm layouts,
only take up a little more than 1200mm x 300mm in floor space,
as they are housed in the bookshelf one on top of the other.





The 'double-stacked' Pier 39 (top) and Box Street (bottom) layouts in their custom built bookshelf.





Jaxxs Snaxx snack food manufacturer.





Looking ‘east’ towards interchange yard and team tracks.





Team tracks and derelict building.


The layout has 1 double slip, a single slip, and 3 turnouts,
and can handle about 6 cars an operating session,
with some cars already in industry spurs and some in the interchange tracks.

It is built to be operated as part of the Virtual Interchange operations group I am a member of,
which tends to have 1 or 2 cars per waybill and most spurs can hold about 2 cars each.


How It Is Operated

The start of an operating session sees some cars in industry tracks awaiting moving,
and a loco and some cars (placed there by hand) in the interchange tracks.

The loco crew has to work out how to best perform the required switching moves,
in the minimum time and with the minimum amount of moves.

This usually means that an operating session is akin to playing chess,
each move having to be thought out in advance.

When I originally envisioned operations on this layout,
I thought that I could have up to 50 scale feet cars without any problems.
After operating this layout for a while,
and experiencing some 'unsolvable' switching requirements when using 50 foot cars,
I now rarely use cars longer than 40 scale feet long.


Locale

The layout represents a small switching area,
near the B&OCT Barr yard in Riverdale, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.

Its motive power is either a B&O S4, or a CM / MPAC switcher from CM / MPAC Blue Island.
CM = Colorado Midland, and MPAC = Midland Pacific,
2 railroads operated by a member of the Virtual Interchanging group I am a member of.




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James Stanford.
Corowa, NSW, Australia.

A many micros modeller.
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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2020 01:58 am
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Si.
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Hi James  :wave:


Congrats on your nice version of 'Box Street'.  :thumb:


I have had this 'micro-layout' in my mind & trackplan folder for some time ...

... as I am sure have many others out there.  ???


Even if one wasn't going to build an exact copy of it ...

... there are for sure space saving ideas here, that could be learnt from.  L:


There are just 3 things about 'Box Street' which strike TOTAL FEAR into me ! ...  :w:

... single-slips, double-slips & sector-plates ! ! !


What's not to like ?  ;)


:P


Si.




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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2020 02:10 am
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James Stanford
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Si. wrote:  
There are just 3 things about 'Box Street' which strike TOTAL FEAR into me ! ...  :w:

... single-slips, double-slips & sector-plates ! ! !

What's not to like ?  ;)


LOL !

Yeah, My first sector plate caused me some trepidation.

But as I did three of them on one layout the first time I used them,
I soon got over the fear of them.


See the attached photo of that layout, the "Case Industrial".





I have used single slips for space saving for quite some time now, so they weren't a problem.
And the one in Box Street is recycled from 2 previous layouts.

But I had to purchase a double slip for Box Street to make the track plan work,
and it was rather expensive!

By far the most expensive piece of track I have ever purchased.


Regards, James




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James Stanford.
Corowa, NSW, Australia.

A many micros modeller.
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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2020 01:58 pm
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Michael M
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Mantua switches might help in building a micro layout. 

Mantua made a #3 switch. 
With the ends of the rails trimmed they shouldn't take up much space.
 
A #3 is really tight. 
I don't have one in front of me to measure, but it's maybe a 11" radius?







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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2020 08:11 pm
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James Stanford
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Michael

Thanks for the info about Mantua switches.

I have found that the Peco Setrack switches are usually fairly good for a micro layout,
but it's good to know there are switches with a tighter radius that those if needed.

I built a 2x2 feet Pizza layout in HO with 11" average radius,
and a Mantua turnout might have been a good option to have a spur or two.




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James Stanford.
Corowa, NSW, Australia.

A many micros modeller.
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 Posted: Tue Aug 25th, 2020 09:59 pm
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Michael M
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James,

Years ago I had a small HO traction layout. 

Wish I had known about these back then. 

Would have come in handy.




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Nye, Inyo & Esmeralda Railroad

https://www.flickr.com/photos/183715370@N03/albums/72157710477887657/
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 Posted: Thu Sep 3rd, 2020 05:10 pm
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Kevin Johnson
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Hi James

I like the planned look of your micro layout.


There is so much potential when building these layouts,

and I look forward to seeing more of your work.

:2t:




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 Posted: Thu Sep 3rd, 2020 09:32 pm
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James Stanford
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Hi Kevin.

Thanks.

As I am primarily interested in operation, switching, and the like,
it can be challenge to design a micro track plan that actually fulfills my interests.

It helps that I found a good basis for the layout,
in the Boxer Shortline track plan.

Regards, James




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James Stanford.
Corowa, NSW, Australia.

A many micros modeller.
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 Posted: Wed Sep 9th, 2020 07:21 am
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oztrainz
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Hi James,

Double-slips shouldn't be too much of a problem.
 
Unless you do this to them... 


 

Not for the faint-hearted..




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John Garaty
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 Posted: Wed Sep 9th, 2020 07:51 am
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Michael M
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That's just begging for trouble.

Hard enough to make sure two rails line up every time.


I did have a small layout that folded up on itself like a suitcase. 

Two tracks bridged the joint. 

Got them to line up accurately most every time, but it was a lot of work.




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Michael
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Nye, Inyo & Esmeralda Railroad

https://www.flickr.com/photos/183715370@N03/albums/72157710477887657/
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