|O Scale Interurban - Layout and Operations -|
|Updated: January 12, 2021|
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O Scale Interurban DescriptionO scale is similar in size, but not quite the same as the Lionel trains many people had as kids. The scale is 1:48, so an O scale boxcar is 1/48th as big as its full size counterpart. In O scale, _ inch on the model equals 1 foot on the real thing. 110 actual feet on the model equals 1 scale mile.
Electric railroad locomotives receive their power from an external source, usually a wire suspended above the rails or a third rail. Electric railroads first found a home carrying passengers in large cities. Steam engines were noisy, smoky, and frightened horses, so quiet and pollution free electric trolleys were developed. As the cities grew, the electric railroads grew with them, often extending to the suburbs to carry people to work.
Several electric railroads ran throughout the Bay Area. The Key System carried passengers from the East Bay to San Francisco across the Bay Bridge. The Sacramento Northern ran from Oakland all the way to Chico and carried passengers and freight.
Mainline railroads also used electricity in some areas. While expensive to construct, electrification resulted in lower operating and maintenance costs. The most famous electric railroad in America was probably the Pennsylvania Railroad, which had thousands of miles of electrified trackage. Their most famous electric locomotive, the GG1, was in service for over 50 years! Some railroads in the West, notably the Great Northern and the Milwaukee Road, electrified portions of their line where they had easy access to Hydro-electric power. Electrification eliminated the problems of smoke and exhaust building up in the long tunnels.
We have track for a city trolley system in the Pt. Richmond, Yaquina Bay area. The city trolley does not currently support overhead operations.
O Scale Interurban Layout SizeThe Oakland, Antioch & Eastern Interurban layout occupies over 400 square feet of the O Scale layout. The layout is not a model of any particular region, instead it is intended to capture the flavor of the interurban areas of the West while providing us with as long a mainline run as possible. We currently have a mainline that is about 4 scale miles, or 400 feet long, connecting the Chrurhill yard area and Barstow, plus over 200 feet or yard trackage.
Layout ConstructionConstruction is the same as for the O Scale and On3 layouts, except that additional attention is needed for the overhead wiring.
Track PlanHere's a complete track plan of the layout - click image for larger view:
The O Scale layout doesn't attempt to model any specific area, but generally resembles the Western United States. The layout is noted for its high mountains, deep canyons, wide rushing rivers, steep climbs, long straight-aways, and snow-capped peaks. Although a specific era was not targeted during construction, most of the structures would mark this as a mid-1930s to mid-1950s motif.
One yard area is visible to the public. This is the Churhhill yard and industrial area near the Post Rd area of the O Scale layout.
One additional staging yard, with a total of 6 40-car tracks, is outside the view of the public beneath the Midway O Scale yard. It is here we build and dispatch the trains we run.
The interurban layout is not yet completely wired. A new control panel is being wired beginning in March 2009. Trains will run with a mainline cab using a manual power block control system. The control panel allows block power to be same or opposite polarity on the rails, in addition to power to the overhead. This allows for all types of electric trolley and standard equipment to be used.
Historical Layout Pictures
Buckingham and Shattockshow some of the early historical prototype and layout pictures.
If you are interested in the latest progress, please visit O Scale Progress Section.
If you are interested in learning how to become an O Scale member of the East Bay Model Engineer's Society >click here.
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