Author Topic: Echo Canyon TTRAK Module Feasibility Study  (Read 464 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

basementcalling

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 2775
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +310
Echo Canyon TTRAK Module Feasibility Study
« on: February 10, 2021, 10:10:12 AM »
0
Been kicking the idea of a Weber/Echo canyon set of TTRAK modules around for a while now. They could be fairly prototype based, allowing for ballast color and track geometry of Kato UniTrack, which does cause me some second thoughts.

I've always liked the scene at Taggart, between Morgan and Echo in the canyon. It's double track bridging over the Weber River with picturesque cliff and tunnel in the background logically fit onto some type of triple module/corner. though the traditional TTRAK module construction might lose some of the flowing curves that make the prototype through here a challenge for operations but a great area for rail fanning.

Here's an overview of the scene from Google maps.

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

Here's a video with a shot of a modern freight exiting the tunnel on the eastbound track and crossing the bridge. Skip to 4:10 for the Taggart Scene


And one more for good measure. The Taggart bridges are featured around the 9:50 mark and again at 14:10 in the video below.



In contrast to previous complicated hobby attempts, I am seriously thinking of just a 2 module starting platform. 2 triples are about 6 feet, coincidentally the N scale distance from the I84 overpass to the tunnel portals. This would ignore the track spacing and start of the curve that begins on the west end of the bridges, which are 150 spans. The I84 overpass and ridge would neatly bookend the scene. Module width would determine how much of the river and scenery is included. I don't really want to model interstate highway on TTRAK, but backdating the scene to pre Interstate is a thought, but that loses the overpass. I am inclined to think a standard or just slightly wider depth would work best with a prototype photo of the ridge on the backdrop. How to get said photo is a problem to be solved.

Another option would be to include the tunnels through the ridge of a corner module, as the tunnels are curved. A larger radius curve module might be best to better match the prototype geometry, but add complication to the building. A logical extension of the set would then allow the plate girders at the next river crossing, though the curve here is not 90 degrees. A further extension could use an inside corner module and then lengthen the total scene to the next set of truss bridges.

Track spacing, as it widens from standard UP double track to almost 45 feet apart for the tunnels, one dating to the original Transcontinental RR with the second added during line upgrades in 1916-18, so TTRAK would not allow the prototype spacing. Although, using the alternate spacing adapter would compress the gradual expansion of the track centers but keep some of that flavor of the place. Doing so would almost require a use of a corner module to do as the prototype and bring the track centers back to standard spacing. Flex track in between UniTrack end pieces could be used to accomplish this.

Another less accurate rendition could be done with a 180 degree corner for the tunnel module with the scene extending down the opposite side of a table. This would facilitate layout set up, as having enough space for the bridge, curve, bridge, inside corner scene might be problematic for anything but larger TTRAK set ups. Most of the ones I have seen are usually limited to an oval shape on a couple tables, but I know larger clubs do more complicated arrangements.

Thoughts and constructive critiques welcome.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2021, 10:20:19 AM by basementcalling »
Peter Pfotenhauer

Ed Kapuscinski

  • Global Moderator
  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 19813
  • Head Kino
  • Respect: +3599
    • Conrail 1285
Re: Echo Canyon TTRAK Module Feasibility Study
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2021, 10:17:11 AM »
0
DO IT.

And keep in mind, you don't NEED to follow the Kato track geometry inside (although it'll help make life easier).

The only thing I'd recommend is making sure that the whole thing matches Kato geometry (so it can fit in layouts).

Also... DO IT.

wm3798

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 14527
  • Gender: Male
  • I like models. She likes antiques. Perfect!
  • Respect: +2893
    • Western Maryland Railway Western Lines
Re: Echo Canyon TTRAK Module Feasibility Study
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2021, 10:26:24 AM »
0
If you're on the Facetoobs, check out Roy Smith's page, N Scale Union Pacific Evanston Sub.  He's done a pretty creditable job of modeling Echo Canyon using Unitrak, and I think he's got Taggart in there too.
Check it out.

He's also got an extensive YouTube channel. 

Lee
Rockin' It Old School

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

Jbub

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1315
  • Gender: Male
  • HP 9999
  • Respect: +301
Re: Echo Canyon TTRAK Module Feasibility Study
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2021, 10:30:22 AM »
0
I wholeheartedly agree to DO IT! This is my favorite railfanning location and I loosely (and I mean loosely) based my club module of this location. Although it's not TTraK it can be seen here.

https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=42393.msg534254#msg534254

@robert3985 models Echo canyon which is just up the line like 15 or so miles.

I'll be watching this thread with much interest!


"Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!"

Darth Vader

basementcalling

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 2775
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +310
Re: Echo Canyon TTRAK Module Feasibility Study
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2021, 12:54:40 PM »
0
I wholeheartedly agree to DO IT! This is my favorite railfanning location and I loosely (and I mean loosely) based my club module of this location. Although it's not TTraK it can be seen here.

https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=42393.msg534254#msg534254

@robert3985 models Echo canyon which is just up the line like 15 or so miles.

I'll be watching this thread with much interest!

Jbub, love your module set. That's a great representation of that area. Never seen it in person myself, but it sure looks like what I see in videos from those who railfan the area.  Tell me more about that kitbashed short truss bridge you did. Love the mini look compared to the longer ones. Is that an Atlas you shortened?

Lee, thanks for the link to Roy's videos. I've seen a bunch of his, but I thought he focused more on Green River than Echo canyon. I must have missed that. I know he has been reworking his layout.

Ed, wanna make some trees? For Utah, it wouldn't have to be one a day to cover a TTrak module.

I am hoping @robert3985 chimes in. He's the resident expert on this area of the railroad universe, and his modeling is amazing.

I've got ripped plywood in the basement to do double wide frames, but wondering if buying module kits would be worth it for triples. Probably lighter, though if I go off specs for track locations in between set ends, the predrilled hole locations for track screws would not be needed.

Any thoughts on the pros and cons of using a 180 turnback curve vs the 1 outside large radius module and inside corner arrangement that matches the prototype track flow? The latter would certainly give viewers the feel of pacing a train while on the interstate, but most people in Virginia have never done that in Utah.
Peter Pfotenhauer

Jbub

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1315
  • Gender: Male
  • HP 9999
  • Respect: +301
Re: Echo Canyon TTRAK Module Feasibility Study
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2021, 01:20:41 PM »
0
Jbub, love your module set. That's a great representation of that area. Never seen it in person myself, but it sure looks like what I see in videos from those who railfan the area.  Tell me more about that kitbashed short truss bridge you did. Love the mini look compared to the longer ones. Is that an Atlas you shortened?

Lee, thanks for the link to Roy's videos. I've seen a bunch of his, but I thought he focused more on Green River than Echo canyon. I must have missed that. I know he has been reworking his layout.

Ed, wanna make some trees? For Utah, it wouldn't have to be one a day to cover a TTrak module.

I am hoping @robert3985 chimes in. He's the resident expert on this area of the railroad universe, and his modeling is amazing.

I've got ripped plywood in the basement to do double wide frames, but wondering if buying module kits would be worth it for triples. Probably lighter, though if I go off specs for track locations in between set ends, the predrilled hole locations for track screws would not be needed.

Any thoughts on the pros and cons of using a 180 turnback curve vs the 1 outside large radius module and inside corner arrangement that matches the prototype track flow? The latter would certainly give viewers the feel of pacing a train while on the interstate, but most people in Virginia have never done that in Utah.
Technically speaking, Taggart is in Weber Canyon and Echo canyon is further up the line. The small Echo creek drains into the Weber river and the confluence of the two is at Echo, UT which is where the former Park City branch began. Echo is still used today as a grain car loading site for the local farmers.
As far as the bridges are concerned. The small deck girder is a Kato bridge that I removed the Kato track from an laid either Micro Engineering or Atlas C55 track on. The bridge next to is is a C55 Atlas truss bridge and the last one is a Central Valley Models 150' truss bridge. Thanks for the praise on the look of the module. I'm redoing some of the rock work on it and still have no water poured. Hopefully one day it will. I do have trees now and that area is interesting. The north facing slopes have a lot of pine and some scrub oak and a fair bit of deciduous along the river. The south facing slopes don't have much of anything tree wise. Mostly grasses, brush and some small patches of scrub oak. When you model the river, maker sure you get a little ramp and people in tubes and kayaks since Taggart is the collecting point for the river tube rides that start up river.
"Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!"

Darth Vader

davefoxx

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 10001
  • Gender: Male
  • TRW Plaid Member
  • Respect: +3571
Re: Echo Canyon TTRAK Module Feasibility Study
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2021, 01:30:13 PM »
0
This looks like a neat project, so I'm on the side of DO IT.

On another note, I wonder if Taggart was named after this guy?  "How about some more beans, Mr. Taggart?"

/>
DFF

General Counsel to the Laurel Valley Ry.
Member: ACL/SAL Historical Society
Member: Wilmington & Western RR
A Proud HOer

robert3985

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 2367
  • Respect: +627
Re: Echo Canyon TTRAK Module Feasibility Study
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2021, 01:44:24 PM »
0
I wholeheartedly agree to DO IT! This is my favorite railfanning location and I loosely (and I mean loosely) based my club module of this location. Although it's not TTraK it can be seen here.

https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=42393.msg534254#msg534254

@robert3985 models Echo canyon which is just up the line like 15 or so miles.

I'll be watching this thread with much interest!

I also have a 6' corner module/section for my sectional portion of my layout that adapts to Gregg Cudworth's layout portion...which comprises our show layout, that pretty much duplicates Taggarts, with the bridges on the east end of the dual tunnels, the superelevated curves through the tunnels and the re-aligned Weber River...which was re-aligned before the freeway was built.  My era is much earlier than the freeway on all of my modules/sections (circa 1954) so the highway represented is the Lincoln Highway, otherwise known as "The Old Road", portions of which still exist through the Wasatch Grade mainly between Morgan and Echo (and, at Taggarts), and then a major section three quarters of the way from Echo to Evanston.

I am not very familiar with all of T-Trak's modular specifications, but I DO know that there is no cast-in-concrete rule that disallows the use of another brand of track between the Kato Unitrack modular portions that form the parts of the track at the edges of the modules that must be compatible with other Unitrack T-Trak module edges.  This means that the complex curves and track spacing required by the twin bridges, the twin tunnel bores and the track superelevation will be possible to achieve using flex such as Micro Engineering Code 55 and Micro Engineering Code 55 Bridge Track on the twin spans...which simply would not be possible using Kato Unitrack if you're seeking a very close to prototype "look" for your modules.

An interesting aspect of this area is that concrete ties have been laid on the westbound trackage, and wooden ties are still used on the eastbound trackage.  The concrete ties transition to wooden ties at the bridge, then back to concrete.  ME Code 55 flex would depict this excellently since it's available in both concrete ties and wooden ties.  Also, ME Code 55 doesn't have flange clearance problems like Atlas 55, so everything will run on it.

ME Code 70 would be an option too, but it isn't available with concrete ties.

The last time I was taking photos at Taggarts was probably 3 years ago, so the possibility exists that both east and west bound tracks now have concrete ties.  I'll check the next time I take a trip to Evanston to buy lottery tickets (Today??). 

Since I've been working on this adapter section of my layout for well over a decade and haven't made much progress due to family circumstances and a major move, I'll be happy to provide whatever assistance you might need to complete your T-Trak version of Taggarts.

I'll start with my CAD drawing the track plan on my transition module...

Photo (1) - CAD Taggarts Module Trackwork Showing Bridges & Tunnel Portals:



For additional perspective and references, here's a drone view of the Taggarts tunnels and bridges that looks almost like an N-scale module: 
/>
I have additional detail photos of the bridges & trackside furniture I'll be happy to share.

Have Fun!!

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

« Last Edit: February 10, 2021, 02:27:05 PM by robert3985 »

basementcalling

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 2775
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +310
Re: Echo Canyon TTRAK Module Feasibility Study
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2021, 02:26:08 PM »
0
Technically speaking, Taggart is in Weber Canyon and Echo canyon is further up the line. The small Echo creek drains into the Weber river and the confluence of the two is at Echo, UT which is where the former Park City branch began. Echo is still used today as a grain car loading site for the local farmers.
As far as the bridges are concerned. The small deck girder is a Kato bridge that I removed the Kato track from an laid either Micro Engineering or Atlas C55 track on. The bridge next to is is a C55 Atlas truss bridge and the last one is a Central Valley Models 150' truss bridge. Thanks for the praise on the look of the module. I'm redoing some of the rock work on it and still have no water poured. Hopefully one day it will. I do have trees now and that area is interesting. The north facing slopes have a lot of pine and some scrub oak and a fair bit of deciduous along the river. The south facing slopes don't have much of anything tree wise. Mostly grasses, brush and some small patches of scrub oak. When you model the river, maker sure you get a little ramp and people in tubes and kayaks since Taggart is the collecting point for the river tube rides that start up river.

@Jbub, in some of the Google Map images you can see tubers and kayakers on the river. It's got a few class III rapids, so even though it's a tiny stream a couple of the rapids mean business. Supposedly it has trout in it too, but I imagine it gets fished pretty hard being in such close proximity to the interstate. Kayaking and fishing are what eat into my modeling time as much as work. They are my other two passions besides trains. Maybe one day I'll kayak railfan Weber canyon. Water level perspectives on trains are cool.

@robert3985 do you know if anyone has done 3d prints of the tunnel portals or has drawings? Getting those right would be key to the look of the scene. One version of the idea in my head was an L shaped TTRAK module  similar in shape, but obviously smaller, than your module drawing.
Peter Pfotenhauer

Ed Kapuscinski

  • Global Moderator
  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 19813
  • Head Kino
  • Respect: +3599
    • Conrail 1285
Re: Echo Canyon TTRAK Module Feasibility Study
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2021, 04:22:20 PM »
0
Here's some perspective on frames:
If you can DIY, DIY. Specifically because, in my experience, pre-made frames do not generally work well when you need a lot of vertical space.

I've been playing with plans for "Super low profile" frames, you can see them in my recent "Sunnyvale" module set. I've also thought about saying "f it" and just using 3/4" plywood cut to the right baseplate size. I've got some MDF versions of that, but they might be a bit of overkill.

This is a good example of the SLPs in action.




robert3985

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 2367
  • Respect: +627
Re: Echo Canyon TTRAK Module Feasibility Study
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2021, 04:46:02 PM »
+3
@Jbub, in some of the Google Map images you can see tubers and kayakers on the river. It's got a few class III rapids, so even though it's a tiny stream a couple of the rapids mean business. Supposedly it has trout in it too, but I imagine it gets fished pretty hard being in such close proximity to the interstate. Kayaking and fishing are what eat into my modeling time as much as work. They are my other two passions besides trains. Maybe one day I'll kayak railfan Weber canyon. Water level perspectives on trains are cool.

@robert3985 do you know if anyone has done 3d prints of the tunnel portals or has drawings? Getting those right would be key to the look of the scene. One version of the idea in my head was an L shaped TTRAK module  similar in shape, but obviously smaller, than your module drawing.

Peter @basementcalling , fishing is pretty good in the Weber River, with fly-fishermen being quite prevalent in many locations...fishing for trout.  When I was doing research for my Wilhemina Pass Ntrak module, I included a fly-fisherman below the 1000 Mile Tree Monument and UP cantilever signal bridge because every time I was taking photos that Summer, there was always someone fishing that spot.

Photo (1) - "The Monument" in Wilhemina Pass just east of Devils Slide and the Ideal Concrete Plant spur...look close for the fly-fisherman:


As for the tunnel portals...as you can see from the aerial shots, they aren't "typical" with large portions of their liners showing, and also the contour of their concrete faces being different than "normal".  I've been practicing making them on Nate Goodman's @Nato layout out of prime pine dimensional lumber, which works pretty well, sanding the portals to shape with my shop sander and scribing the removed concrete form outlines and cracks with a straightedge and X-acto knife, using photos as references.  Since I didn't design Nate's trackwork at the tunnel portals on his layout, it's just the standard Ntrak 1.5" apart, which doesn't allow a true double bore tunnel to be depicted.  So, I did one double hole tunnel portal (with a single bore behind it) and a set of double track portals (unprototypical for UP) based on the appearance of the Taggarts portals, with exposed concrete liner between the tunnel face and rock cliffs.

Photo (2) - UP Taggarts "style" Tunnel Portal at Nate Goodman's "Riverside" scene:


Photo (3) - UP Prototype Tunnel Portals at Taggarts East Side:


Here are a few photos of my double track tunnel portal construction...

It's good to know the prototype tunnel bore dimensions, which directly represents the shape and size of the model tunnel portal...

Photo (4) - Prototype UP (Harriman Era) Concrete Tunnel Cross-Sections:


I made paper templates of a hypothetical double track UP tunnel portal, and transferred it to a piece of premium pine board 1/4" thick, then cut it out.  Transferred tunnel bore pieces to 1X4 premium pine, and glued them together with medium thick CA with Accelerator. Notice that I sanded the tunnel liner outside profile using my shop's belt sander after gluing together, but left the inside tunnel liner profile rough....to be sanded after being attached to the portal pieces.

Photo (5) - Double Track UP-style Tunnel Portals On My Bench w/ Paper Templates:


Next, before gluing the portal faces to the tunnel bores, I scribed the removed concrete form lines as well as cracks and chips into the tunnel ends.  Then, I glued the portal faces to the tunnel bores and sanded the rough bores to their final shape. 

Photo (6) - Portal Faces Glued To Tunnel Bore Liners:


Next, I cut stripwood to represent the thick upper portions of the tunnel portal faces and glued them on...

Photo (7) - Tunnel Faces and Bores Showing the Thick Upper Portions of the Tunnel Portal Faces Ready to Glue On:



I then filled objectionable gaps with medium thick CA, setting it off with Accelerator, and sanded it down, then finished the crack/chip carving, cleaning the fuzz with a pliable brass wire brush, and painted the portals black.  After the black had dried, I dry brushed various colors of gray and white to get the effect I wanted.

Photo ( 8 ) - Painted Tunnel Portal & Attached Liner After Gluing In Place and Scuptamold Filling the Voids:



I then cleaned up the Scuptamold with a wet boar-bristle brush...mainly getting remnants of it off the tunnel bores, then painted it using artist's acrylic colors to match the surrounding carved rocks.

Photo (9) - Portal In Place, Gaps Filled & Painted, A Bit of Ground Cover Applied:


What I'm showing is that it's not that difficult to make your own portals, which I am certain you're gonna have to do because there is NOTHING that is commercially available that will come close because of their unusual, unique design.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

basementcalling

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 2775
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +310
Re: Echo Canyon TTRAK Module Feasibility Study
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2021, 05:57:27 AM »
0
Don Strack's website and Utahrails are godsends for UP fans.
https://donstrack.smugmug.com/UtahRails/Union-Pacific/Weber-Echo-May-2003/i-CnBZRDj/A
Peter Pfotenhauer