I have been modeling for a long time now and acquired quite a few brass engines, nice rolling stock and craftsman buildings. But because of circumstances, I will not be building another railroad for about 2 years, after I move. And I have also accepted the fact that I will never build one of those huge railroads. I ended up selling most of the big stuff and started collecting traction models, mostly along the lines of the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee. Traction seems to be a great alternative because a whole train can be just 1 car long.
There seems to be a recurring theme in this blog: “Just get started.” So I am taking that advice. I am building a new traction layout digitally. Using some of the CAD programs that are available, I have built a railroad along the lines of the North Shore Line, centered around Howard Street in Chicago.
Here is the basis of this layout. Howard Street yard of the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority). The North Shore ran right through this station.
Looking at the photo, the track that runs to the upper right side is the Shore Line. This was the original railroad that served all of the little towns through Illinois up to the City of Milwaukee. It was a long, slow trip because of all the stops and street running along the way. The track that runs to the upper left side is the High Speed line. It was relatively flat and straight. Trains would hit 90 MPH as they headed to Milwaukee. This is where the Electroliners ran. The track that heads to the bottom of the photo ran into downtown Chicago on “the El”.
Next, I developed a wish list. I included everything that I could think of, whether it was feasible or not.
Overhead wire, Cobblestone/asphalt streets, Electroliner (High Speed line), Heavy weight cars (High Speed line and Shore line), Streetcar (Chicago Surface Lines on city streets), Steeple Cab for Freight Operations, Merchandise Dispatch for small package delivery. The North Shore offered all of these services.
4×8 and 5×10 plan (Hey,, when you do it digitally, it is pretty cheap.)
Main Street Station Suydam kit. (Couldn’t find a good one on ebay, so I ended up getting a brand new one from Alpine Models).
High speed line with reverse loops and storage stacks, Shore Line with reverse loop and storage in Waukegan (Lake County seat)
Insull Spanish station (This is actually on the South Shore, but they are all the same.)
Interchange track with railroad for freight operations
Easter Eggs(Just hidden little surprises): Nighthawks Scene, Where the streetcar bends the corner around (just google it. it is a real place), Merchants curve
I jammed most of these into my first try, using XTrk CAD.
If anyone is interested, let me know. I will continue to update with how I revised my thinking and my track plan to create a more realistic model railroad.
Here are some photos of my hand made turntable for my 0 gauge layout.
I bought a lazy Susan base off eBay for under £12 screwed a piece of plywood across mounted a length of track wired it into my 16v track wiring via a on-off-on switch as you have to reverse the track polarity as the table turns the track round from positive to negative.
Fitted a 15 rpm motor with threaded shaft also off eBay underneath via another on-off-on switch so I can reverse the direction of the table.
To finish I scratch built a hut for the controls added railings, figures, oil drums etc and covered the floor with corrugated sheet painted grey.
One problem was the motor went too fast and didn’t stop immediately so I wired it to a potentiometer and I now control speed and stop it to exactly line up with the main track all for under £35 !!
A big thanks to Ken and Gregory.
Gregory is right – it’s all about making a start. What’s more, if you can make a start with a theme too, you’re well on your way.
Please do leave a suggestion below if you can help Greg.
That’s all for today, folks.
Please do keep ’em coming.
And if you want to stop dreaming and start doing, the Beginner’s Guide is here.
PS Don’t forget the latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Still updated daily.