It’s been far too long since I posted on traction and trolleys. But the start of this post is a reminder of how useful Google Earth can be. First, here is a screen dump from Google Earth, “somewhere in Los Angeles”, with aerial data taken in 2o13.
Not much of interest here for the discerning railroad modeller, you say. But if you find the timeline slider on the Google Earth menu, we can roll back the years. And hey presto, we have a picture of the same area in 2002.
In fact we could have rolled back time to the 1980’s, but the photographs then were lower resolution USGS black-and-white shots, and amazingly, the area has hardly changed in that 20 years.
But what do we have here? This is Toluca Yard, at the entrance of the Pacific Electric Belmont tunnel that ran from here to the Subway Terminal in the centre of town. Below are some photographs of it at the end of its working life in 1955. (There are plenty of photographs on the web, some in colour – hunt the Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society site – but I think these are free-to-use shots).
I began to get interested with Toluca as a module. A little scaling off Google Earth gave me the following plan, with a 1200 x 400 mm module superimposed.
There were six yard tracks, and there was a cross-over just inside the tunnel portal to give access to both up and down lines. This size plan would make a good stand-alone layout, built into a box, so that the main line goes off scene under the flyover to the left and into the tunnel to the right. It might look best looking towards the slope, i.e. top to bottom. If one wanted to make an N-club module out of this, a longer board would be needed, to model the full flyover to the left and a little more of the hill to the right. I’m not sure that selective compression would work that well. The yard could be reduced to four tracks, and made narrower and shorter, but really, it’s already tiny! I think the grade was quite steep into the tunnel. If used as a module running any trains and not just interurbans, the gradient might also need to be a little shallower.
Anyways, Toluca Yard is a good minimum space design. Any models of it out there already?