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Old 11-02-2019, 08:55 AM   #1
Station Master
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: SE Pennsylvania
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Converting My Trolley Loop to a Streets Loop

Around seven years ago, I made a trolley loop for my motorized Corgi PCC trolley car. I initially planned to use E-Z Street track, but the trolley would not negotiate the O21Ē curves so I used O27 track. I used Z scale roadbed between the outer and center rails and craft store 1/4ď foam sheets to simulate asphalt streets. The loop goes around a small park in a small town, goes into the boonies and then under my upper loop to interchange passengers with the train.

About a year ago, inspired by Mr. Willis to motorize a Birney safety car using a streets chassis, I got a Divco and a Birney. I liked the Divco and the Birney so much I decided not to do the conversion. Instead I got more streets vehicles and also converted a 57 Nomad. The streets cars run on the trolley loop, but much of the loop is below my upper track or in the background so you donít see much of them.

Iíve been thinking about turning my trolley loop into a streets loop with more visibility, but I have been putting it off because it involves quite a bit of deconstruction and changes. Iíll need to temporarily move the Manayunk viaduct, some buildings and some of the upper train loop to lay in new track. Iím not sure if all the work will be worthwhile. Also wonder if the main street will look goofy since one side of the street will have lots of traffic but wonít move and the other side will have very little traffic, but will move. HmmmÖmaybe that last thing will look like a traffic jam in one direction.

Now that the weather has cooled, the attic is a better place to work so I am finalizing my plans. Here they are:

- I wonít use E-Z Streets track. I will use a combination of Gargraves, Ross and O27. As I did with some of the trolley loop, Iíll use Z scale roadbed and ľĒ foam craft sheets for the streets. Iím not crazy about having all the streets black (like fresh asphalt) so I may make some sections gray.

- Iíll move the section under the upper level out to the street and extend the line a few feet. This will create about 6 feet where the cars are running in the foreground.

- I would like to be able to do some street running with small switchers. I cannot do that with the current trolley loop because there is not enough clearance under the upper train loop support. I tested a BEEP and an MTH 44 tonner on the O27 loop and they were not at all happy. I was thinking I would have to go to O31 or at least something larger than O27, but either way, that means more reconstruction to my little town and park. Bending Gargraves to O31 or smaller is a pain especially if you are using 30 year old track, so I may go with Ross O31 or Gargraves O32 curves. I got some Ross O31 at York, but then I tested the 44 tonner and an SW1 on stand alone O27 track and they seem to work fine.

- There is currently an interference between the trolley loop and a loop 3 siding if I run something with even a small amount of overhang. Reconstruction will solve that.

- The loop will be about 28 feet long. Not sure how many cars I want to run at one time. Iíve read some of the things that Lee has written, but have not decided on how I will keep the cars separated. I havenít figured out a good place to put the IR sensor blocks (where I could hide the components and have a good line of sight on just one section of track). I donít really want to remove the rectifiers either since I also want to use the track for AC switchers and trolleys.

- Iím thinking about having each car stop for about 3 seconds at a stop sign, but havenít looked into what circuitry is needed to do that. I saw a Train Presence Sensor from JW&A the other day so I may look into that. Iíll have a switch to turn the stop feature off for when I run the Peter Witt (Bachmann) trolley.

- Iím thinking Iíll have a DPDT switch so I can run conventional for the streets vehicles and trolleys and DCS for street running of switchers.

- I may run a strip of LEDs behind a shelf to illuminate the background.

Here are the before (trolley) and after (streets) loop plans and a few pics of the area to be changed.

Feel free to chime in if you have any comments or suggestions.



This area will remain more or less the same, but will be moved to avoid an interference (circled). Cars will stop at the stop sign (arrow).
IMG_3689_LI (2).jpg

Streets track will run on the roadway. LED strip will be mounted behind the shelf (yellow).
IMG_3690_LI (2).jpg

Passengers on the trolley line (arrow) currently interchange with the train by climbing steps. Upper station platform will be smaller.
IMG_3301 (2)_LI.jpg

Existing loop (blue) is under upper level. New loop (red) will be in the foreground.

Feel free to chime in if you have any comments or suggestions.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:18 AM   #2
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Great Idea, I plan on finding a place for Streets on my layout.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:29 AM   #3
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You will enjoy the results. super streets make a big difference.
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:17 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Stoshu View Post
You will enjoy the results. super streets make a big difference.
I agree 100%.
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Old 11-03-2019, 09:17 AM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Scales Modeled: Heavily into semiscale 0-27 with a few scale 0 and some older HO, S, N, and one G and Z scale set.
Yes, by all means, go for it!
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Old 11-04-2019, 12:45 PM   #6
jay jay
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A very impressive plan and upgrade for your great layout!
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Old 11-06-2019, 10:14 AM   #7
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Scenery deconstruction virtually complete. It only took a few hours, but I have no illusion that will take anywhere near that little time to reconstruct the puzzle once track is laid. I also ran my SW1 and 44 tonner around the entire loop. Good to know they will run on O27.



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Old 11-06-2019, 11:38 AM   #8
Lee Willis
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I think this is a cool plan. I also like the idea of, and have/will use again normal track just made into 'streets with foamboard. Works as well and more options in may cases.

I'm in the process of deciding how much to revise my 'Streets, but plan to do some cool stuff with it, too.
"If no one has ever done it that way, it might be fun to try."
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:00 PM   #9
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While I have the scenery removed, I have access to the back of the layout so I added a backdrop, installed some insulating pins to separate points of my DCS star and started working on a wooded area for the back corner. I havenít even started to modify the loop yet, but thatís next. Here are a few before and after/during shots.




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Old 11-08-2019, 12:15 PM   #10
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Nice project! The “interaction” between street cars and trains is really interesting.

The fact that you have the capability to run small diesels on the trolley line, makes another facet possible. Many traction lines pulled small one or two car freights to local customers. Maybe a siding or two for the customers. Street running is always cool to see...

"The glorious past, the wonderful future and the crummy now"- Jean Shepherd
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