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Erie RR East 149th Street “Harlem Station”

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#1 shortliner



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Posted 10 November 2010 - 14:30

In the Beginning…..

…..there was a website, http://www.bronx-ter...></span></span> Tim Warris’ Bronx Terminal, detailing the building of a superb model of one of the New York rail-marine terminals (would that I had the skill and the space), and this was closely followed by http://www.carendt.u...></span></span> where there appeared a Scrap-book #88, which showed (at the bottom of the page) a suggestion for a layout. The suggestion was initially made by Will Ayerst for an N gauge model, and a further suggestion was made by Carl Arendt as to how an O gauge layout could be made. My “WOTIF” went into high gear – wotif it would be possible to make an HO version. The layout was based on what is possibly the smallest switching (shunting) yard that could be built, and operated, prototypically. The yard was built on a small area of land bounded by East 149th Street to the south, East 150th Street to the north, Exterior Street to the east and the Harlem river to the west, in Harlem, New York, measuring an actual 487’ x 350’, and its only connection with the “rest of the world” was by car-float. A lot more information, about this, and other, yards can be found here http://members.train...></span></span>. There were a couple of constraints the main being that it had to fit into my Ford Ka (what the Americans would call a “compact”), and be transportable to an exhibition if required. This meant that it would be a “representation”, rather than a “scale model”. The “real thing” only ever had 4 locos, and since I had 2 box cab shells and a GE 44-tonner I was ¾ of the way to the whole fleet. The second thing that set this in motion was AndyY announcing the contest, so I had no real excuse not to have a go.

A basic track plan was drawn (this, together with the various iterations and amendments to it are in the thread), and this was eventually modified in the light of the constraints above to give this final result.


The initial construction, after carefull measurement inside the car, was used and the base board built. Fortunately, before any further work was done I decided to try it in the Ka, and discovered that it would fit beautifully, but wouldn’t go in through the hatchback! This necessitated the board having a strip 2.5” wide ripped off one edge. This, in turn,caused the minimum radius of the end curve to be reduced to 13 ½ inches – and bought the tracks close to the edge - awkward but not insoluble! Fortunately the locos would accept this curvature, and there was space to add clear plastic sides to prevent accidents.

The building of the layout, together with photos was documented here

http://www.rmweb.co....ners-shortline/ .One feature of the yard was the Major Deegan Freeway, an elevated highway that was built along the east side – a small section of this has been included at one corner. I owe thanks to several people – they know who they are – for help, encouragement, and with obtaining several items including the fourth loco. All track is PECO Setrak or flex track. Two double length PECO Locolifts were used to simulate the car float, and keep the layout within the size permitted. They fit onto an innovative “stick” support that plugs into the side of the main board, and provides the power to the ‘lifts. The layout is HO scale, and measures 1630 square inches without the Locolifts, and 1738 square inches with them. The number 5 appears on the Warehouse as Door #5.

The layout was exhibited at the Inverness MRC show in September, and has been a lot of fun to buil

A few photos, documenting the progress, follow

Checking that the track actually fits as it was intended

The "Stick" and the lifts in position

The sign in its original state

and sfter painting

The entrance to the "Virtual Car-float"

Door #5

The layout mid-build

The first 3 locos, #20 was the original box cab(1926), #19 was the second(1928)both scrapped 1958, #26 (GE44 tonner) was the fourth loco to work the yard - built 1946 , but in the yard from 1968

Alco S-1 built 1950 operating in the yard 1961


The following 2 photo were taken at the exhibition

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