Author Topic: The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch  (Read 21085 times)

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TrainCat2

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The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch
« on: November 11, 2022, 02:02:49 PM »
+2
The plans for retirement are still 4.5 years away and I can’t JFRTM at home. I have been looking at all sorts of ideas that maybe able to be used to get a small layout going. Problem is, I don’t like racetracks and it would have to be able to be broken down and shipped to AZ later on. Then I saw something in the MR Plans database that struck a chord, after a slight modification.  :trollface:



It interested me because my wife and her family were from Philly (Overbrook Park) and I liked the idea of keeping her life with me in my hobby. So, I studied the plans quite intently for a couple of weeks doing the ops in my head over the plan and I had some problems. Research was in order.

The first thing I found was that the overhead trackage in the plans was actually for passenger and it dived underground as a subway. The overhead line called the Ferry Line, ran until 1936 when all Ferry operations ceased due to the Philadelphia-Camden Bridge opening. The Ferry line was dismantled immediately after the 1936 closure. As for operations, I found that this little branch was not so little! There were four different railroads, side-by-side, running down the center of a 150-200ft wide street (B&O, RDG, PRR and the Belt Line).


Regards
boB Knight

I Spell boB Backwards

TrainCat2

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Re: The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2022, 02:06:26 PM »
+2
Continued research brought one thing clear to me in that the focal point of the switching branch should be the one thing left completely out of the MR plans … the piers and manufacturing plants on the actual riverside. These should be the focus with the other RR customers to fill out the plan. On the south side of the Philly towards Greenwich Point, and north of Packer Ave, there were some really big manufacturing plants in the area; three different sugar refineries, three different alcohol refineries, two different linseed oil refineries, a camphor refinery and a large ship repair facility. This was a busy place!!! Between the alcohol and the linseed refineries, I am going to need a lot of tankcar loading platforms. The Publicker Commercial Alcohol Co at piers 104 & 105 had 9 loading tracks alone.

The character of the area is the main attraction as you can see in some examples; an ariel view of Delaware Ave around Pier 27 showing the warehouses and cold storage as RR customers. The tracks down Delaware Ave serving the piers. Notice the through truss bridge going into Pier 27.



Typical of the Delaware Branch Line, there were customers on both east and west sides of Delaware Ave with tracks spurs in both directions. That curved street on the left is Dock St which was a busy place for fresh produce distribution. The B&O and the PRR controlled the Perishable Products Terminal on the west side of Delaware Ave between Snyder Ave and Porter St.



I love this scene at Pier 34. You have the ships docking at the Pier and across the street you can see the four main tracks serving different customers. Large warehouses on the right including loading at the street (Bailey Warehouse far right), inside loading for the Merchant Warehouses and then right in front of #34, spurs into bare lots for customer loading/unloading at both Gallaghers Warehouse as well as Pennsylvania Wharehousing & Shipping. BTW, NOTHING was clean! Dirt, grime and filth were the norm requiring lots of weathering.


Regards
boB Knight

I Spell boB Backwards

TrainCat2

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Re: The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2022, 02:09:16 PM »
0
The PRR had at least three Coal Loading Piers over time. Here is Piers 53 and 57 with the yards to support the loaders. Take note of the area in the top center. This was the large B&O Stock Yards that were being built and a meat processor to it’s right. The large complexes south of the PRR Coal Pier is Franklin Sugar Refining and Philadelphia Ship Repair.



If you have docks/piers, you will need ships too. This modern day scene will give you the idea of what I mean. You can also jump back to the pic of Pier 34. I will need cargo ships and I have found some really nice plans for 1/175 scale WWII Liberty Ship SS Jeremiah O'Brien that should make some nice waterline ships for the piers. My thought here would be to make the piers and slips on a 45deg angle so the pier would block the user from seeing that only the front half of the ship would actually be there. A Liberty Ship was 441ft long or 33in. If I make the slips/piers 12in deep at 45deg, that would give me 17in to show at least ½ of the ship. Looking straight on to the bow of the ship would be difficult to make believable.



The real challenge will we the street and the in-street trackage. Delaware Ave was paved with bricks and remained so until 1990. The trackage in the brick streets had single point switches and two frogs, one at the straight stock rail and the second in the normal location. Finding a suitable gray brick/cobblestone (and the shear quantity that will be needed) has already proven to be a challenge. I haven’t backed away from a challenge yet so, onward.






Regards
boB Knight

I Spell boB Backwards

TrainCat2

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Re: The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2022, 02:12:24 PM »
0
I have made a spreadsheet of each pier and the owner as well as adjacent RR customers at the pier location. The modular layout will be a “U” shape fitting into an 8ft x 9ft square. Initially, the design will be started with 30in deep modules for the purpose of laying out what I want. There will be some serious concessions to find the right blend of items to model in the space. A bigger consideration will be how model the customers on the west side of Delaware Ave. You don’t want the facing Delaware as you could not see the industry, except from the back. This will require a deviation from the actual branch line to have other streets beside Delaware to have tracks and the front of these customers face the operator.

So my general placement theory would be something similar to real life. On the left hand of the “U”, there would be the taller customers nearer to the center of town and the freight yards in front of the operator. In the center of the “U” would be docks with ships. The Stock Yards and Perishable Products Terminal, to mention a few, would be in front of the Piers. Finally, the right side of the “U” would be devoted to the larger industries with lower height customers in front of the operator. It would be on the right leg of the “U” where I would place a hinged fold up/down yard to stage trains arriving into the scene from the B&O south access and travel over to the yards for the crew to do their jobs. I’ll find a way to hide or disguise a loopback to the staging yard.
Regards
boB Knight

I Spell boB Backwards

MVW

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Re: The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2022, 11:31:47 PM »
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This looks epic, Bob. Excited to learn more and see where you go.

Jim

Chris333

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Re: The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2022, 11:45:43 PM »
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Almost as many crossings as there as turnouts  :scared:

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2022, 10:57:53 AM »
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Oh yeah. ******** rad man.

@GonzoCRFan is working on the pre Conrail side of that area.

It's amazing.

TrainCat2

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Re: The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2022, 01:47:00 PM »
+1
I don't think (and don't want) I'll have that issue. Yes, there were four railroads running up/down Delaware Ave, but since they both had customers on both sides of the road, the trackage charts show a large number of crossovers so I will assume that everyone worked together and used other tracks for run arounds and access when needed. At least THAT is what I will force the crews to do on my layout.   8)  Here is what I mean.



So, with my computer taking a s--t several weeks ago, I lost my treasured V9 of CADRail. I had tried the upgrade to V9.53 5-6 yrs ago, but I did not like it as much. Now I have no choice as Sandia will not let me install V9. I am trying to get used to newer GUI with the DelAve layout. My first thought was how many piers could I fit on the back wall of the module. I first tried using slips that would only fit one ship, but fitting in the turnouts for the piers became a huge issue so I went to a two ship slip of 10in width. The Liberty Ship will be 4.625in wide. This may be the way things stay. Trying to service that far left pier will be problematic. I am thinking of reversing the the angle of the piers and sticking the municipal yard at the left end. This would allow the Delaware Ave to curve down to the left hand module where the warehouses will be.



I did not like the look of just using two #5's (left) so I also tried inserting a #6 curved 9/12 after the #5 and that looks more betterer like the track diagrams.


Regards
boB Knight

I Spell boB Backwards

davefoxx

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Re: The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2022, 03:52:36 PM »
0
boB,

Your discussion about street trackage and the photo of a ship on the backdrop reminded me of a couple of articles in Model Railroader magazine in the 1980s and ‘90s.  If it helps, find a copy of the old magazines or get a subscription to Trains.com (allows access to the magazine archives) to get these articles:

1) October 1981, pages 84-89.  Bruce Goehmann’s Midland Electric and his description of how he built street trackage, including cobblestones and single-point turnouts.  Granted, carving cobblestones into poured plaster streets seems tedious, but the result was worth it.  Wild to think this article is forty-one years old.

2) December 1990, pages 104-110. Bob Smaus’ Port of Los Angeles layout. Actually, this was a series in MR that continued into 1991, but this issue shows how he used a perspective of a container ship on the backdrop that didn’t seem hokey from different viewing angles.

Hope this helps,
DFF

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ridinshotgun

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Re: The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2022, 07:57:27 PM »
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That will be a neat layout.  I worked several years on Del Ave when I first started my career in the GOV.  Prior to that I spent many a days with my great grandfather, a retired stevedore, as he made his daily trips up and down the river to various piers working the numbers with the guys.  This was when the coal piers still operated up near Tioga, the pellet loaders were running by packer ave and the stockyard were still operating.  I miss all that stuff.

Philip H

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Re: The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2022, 09:52:56 AM »
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Quote
2) December 1990, pages 104-110. Bob Smaus’ Port of Los Angeles layout. Actually, this was a series in MR that continued into 1991, but this issue shows how he used a perspective of a container ship on the backdrop that didn’t seem hokey from different viewing angles.

The entire series is a stand alone book from Kalmbach as well.
Philip H.
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sd45elect2000

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Re: The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2022, 01:38:19 PM »
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I've used these for some of my interurban modules:

https://www.shapeways.com/product/DXCEBYC2Q/set-2x-stra-szlig-enbelag-walze-reihenverband-n-1-160?optionId=43296054&li=ostatus

Downsides are:
The clay they recommend is VERY slow drying, don't count on painting the street for several weeks.
The clay tends to stick to the roller so it best to work in small segments. Keeping the roller wet helps alot.

One upside is that there isn't any plaster dust to manage. I used a combination of the clay and spackle, Only the area around the track got the cobblestone treatment.

Randy Stahl

sd45elect2000

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Re: The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2022, 01:46:06 PM »
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There isn't anyone currently making tongue switches in N scale. There are some nice ones made by Proto 87 that can work for you, but the radius is much too big for interurbans. The Proto 87 turnouts are etched nickel silver. If you happen to etch some of your own tongue switches for this project, I would be interested in buying some or sharing the cost.

Randy Stahl

sd45elect2000

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Re: The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2022, 01:50:56 PM »
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I forgot, the initial roller I used to smooth the clay came from an EMD roller bearing from a SD40-2 main generator. I could use the bearing for asphalt of smooth roads.


Randy Stahl

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: The B&O Delaware Avenue Branch
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2022, 02:19:30 PM »
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I've used the rollers and clay extensively.

They work, but they take immense patience and technique to get heat results out of.

To the point where I'm not exploring other options for my future street running needs.

Bob, if you're curious, check out my old layout build thread.

This is as good as any of a place to start: https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=30583.1305