What type of roads for industrial area?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by foulrift, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. foulrift

    foulrift Bob

    Now that construction on my layout has come to a screeching halt I have deceided to use the time to finish a couple of small projects and finalize the location of buildings.
    I do have a couple of questions,My layout is a switching layout-not a game or anything like that.It was inspired my the real thing. It is set in the 50's and I would like to know what type of roads-concrete or asphalt would have been used in an industrial setting.
    Also I want to build my own grade crossings.I am using code 100 rail so what size(s) lumber would have been used?
    Thanks for any help or ideas-Bob :thumb:
  2. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    In the fifties.....that's a time that I remember, but the memories are becoming a bit harder to "see" now.
    Concrete was still used for major highways, and some local roads, but blacktop / asphalt was already widely used. Roads, would most likely be asphalt. Local governments wouldn't be willing to spend larges sums on road construction, and maintenance.
    The aprons, and parking areas for industries would more often have concrete, especially if heavy loads, and extended wait times before the loads were moved off property, were the order of the day. I do remember seeing trailers, parked on asphalt, in the summer heat, sinking to the rims in the softened asphalt. It did make moving them a bit difficult.
    Grade crossings.
    There are a number of wood grade crossing kits on the market if you'd be interested. Code 100 rail is 0.100" from bottom of web to top of rail. You'd want the wood to come just short of the top of the rail, so it didn't lift loco drivers off the track and lose electrical contact. You would also want to insure that the planks between the rails, left sufficient flange clearance.
    Typically, there's a layer of material that sits on the tie surface (base), the height of the "spike heads", then, the finish planks are fastened to that (detailed crossing). The total height above the tie surface should not exceed 0.100". The two concerns being: 1. the center planks do not get hit by the coupler pins. 2. the outer planks do not lift the wheels off the track.
  3. foulrift

    foulrift Bob

    Sumpter250-Thanks for the reply and the info-I appreciate.I know what you mean about asphalt in hot weather.I'll probably go with concrete.As far as grade crossings go I'll have to see about that one.I'll look at what's commercially available and see if it out weighs making my own-Bob
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I don't think the roads would be concrete. As far back as I can remember, (mid 1950's) all roads except freeways out here in So Cal were asphalt. Only freeways were concrete. Even major highways that were not freeways were asphalt. Most roads in industrial areas would be asphalt, and even parking lots would be asphalt, with concrete pads in front of loading docks or anywhere that semi trailers would be unhooked and left for spotting at loading docks. Trucking companies that I worked for would often have an asphalt yard with a strip of concrete about the width of a sidewalk or a little wider running about 40 feet from the perimeter around the yard on 3 sides for a place to set the landing gear when dropping trailers. Asphalt is typically much less expensive than concrete.

    Also in industrial areas the rails moving up and down from the weight of trains would tend to buckle asphalt near the tracks. If you are modeling the S.P. in Los Angeles in the early 1950's, the roads around the industries and warehouses in downtown L.A. were mostly asphalt. I think Alameda Street might have been concrete, and it had tracks running down the center of the street, with switches in the street where industrial spurs came off the lead. Parts of Alameda street were also divided with tracks running down the median. There are still tracks in the median that are in use now by the U.P. in the median. They are 2 or 3 tracks wide with spurs coming off to go into alleys to service industries. On Alameda St. near the Los Angeles Produce Market, the street is now asphalt and the tracks are to the side of the street, but spurs cross frequently. These "grade crossings" are unmarked and very rough. When the railroad switches in that area, they do it late at night, and have a flagman with flares to stop traffic for the switch engine to make it's moves.

    Oops! Bob, I got you confused with EsPeeMec from the U.K. who posted "Cadillac Ranch". I'll leave the info on L A here in case there is interest by someone else.
  5. foulrift

    foulrift Bob

    Russ-no harm,no foul.
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    You might want to take a look at John Pryke's work in MR. His industrial area (set in the late 1940s or early 50s, IIRC) has concrete "streets" with asphalt patches in some spots. His trackage runs right in the street, and the volume of truck traffic implied would require concrete for the reasons sumpter stated above...

  7. foulrift

    foulrift Bob

    Thanks Andrew-I was leaning towards concrete anyways based on some pictures I've seen in MR and their special issues,Realistic layouts and Great Model Railroads-Bob
  8. There's a lot of options - and the "mixed media" may help to reinforce the nature of the area. Depending on the locale, a nice detail to model is old brick streets that have been paved over with asphault, which has broken off in places, revealing the brick below. And John Pryke's MR article on the Boston industrial switching railroad goes into excellant detail on his beautifully decrepit streets.
  9. foulrift

    foulrift Bob

    Thanks again to all for the replies.There is one more type of road that I over looked that might work in an industrial setting. As a kid I remember that when the neighborhood roads would get re-surfaced they would first put down a coat of hot oil (it might have had some liquid asphalt in it) and then put a layer of stone over it and ran a roller over it.Made for a real hard surface.Perhaps a mix of fine ballast colors might work for this type of road.
    Anyway lots of good ideas as usual-Thanks again-Bob
  10. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    IIRC, that kind of raod surfacing is called "chip and seal". It used a lot on county roads in Colorado that don't see a lot of traffic.

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