I ordered the first three volumes of Railroads of Arizona from Mike Dreiling (a member of the On30group site at Yahoo!). They came today and they were better than advertised and packaged very nicely. If you need an out of print book, check with Mike on the On30group site. Highly recommended.
Now I have a lot to read before I go much further with the module. I am not trying to do historical modeling but I do want to be true to the area and era I am modeling as far as building techniques, major landforms, and the general political/cultural climate.
If you read part 5 on the Fairbank module you’ll notice that I ended up needing a very long module if I wanted to accurately model a crossing of the San Pedro at Fairbank.
To just model the crossing without any land other than abutment areas would require a module over 28 feet long. That is a little long to fit in that 46″ box and could prove difficult to get through doorways or in the back seat of a compact car.
Now first, we rarely accurately model any structure or terrain because real world distances just overwhelm a model quickly. If I use selective compression the module will be more manageable but first I need to make some corrections.
As a first step at researching the San Pedro valley, I downloaded several data sets from the USGS. The first one is the DRG for Fairbank, AZ.
Here is a portion of the DRG that corresponds to the area I intend to model:
I was starting to wrap myself around into a tighter and tighter circle over how to determine the maximum dimensions for the module. The circle was getting so tight I was in danger of becoming a personal size black hole.
I decided to regroup and keep it simple. The maximum dimensions and weight for shipping something through the US Post office is (I also checked the Canadian import regulations and their box dimensions are the same):
- Length – 46″
- Width – 35″
- Height – 46″
- Combined Height and Girth – 108″
- Weight 70 pounds
So my module will have to fit within those dimensions, including shipping materials. I guess that means that if it is to be 48″ long, which was my initial intent, it will have to fold, or spindle, or mutilate to fit within the shipping box.
I still can’t talk too much about the standard I am building to since it is still under review but here are the basics:
- Width at interface (including fascias) 12″
- Track centered at interface
- Interface 4″ deep at track
- Height floor to rail head 36″ to 56″, adjustable
So now I have my basic parameters for the module. I just need to design a 48″ x 12″ module with adjustable 36″ to 56″ legs to fit inside a 46″ x 35″ x 46″ box. Actually, smaller than that because if I make the box 46″ long the box will be less than 8″ wide (girth = 2 x length[the longest dimension] + 2 x width) and the box must be no more than 108″ combined height and girth.
This isn’t really any different from what anyone goes through building modules. You have to take into account the interior dimensions of the transport vehicle, and how many people there are going to be to carry it at the least.
I have had a serious set-back in the design of the Fairbank, AZ module. I have gotten totally immersed in the whole endo-skeleton idea discussed in The Origin of Portable Model Railroads: Or the Preservation of Favoured Techniques in the Struggle for Acceptance. The reason is that this also kind of supports the ideas in Something a Little Different.
Building a spine for a flat piece of track is one thing but the Fairbank module is, at least currently, supposed to be primarily a truss bridge over a river. This is going to call for a very different kind of spine that I have not even begun to figure out. Any ideas?
I went to Las Cruces, NM for a few days just before Memorial Day (May 30th). I planned to stop by the San Pedro River in the area of Fairbank on my way home since I would be passing within 20 miles or so of the site. I was going to get a few GPS readings and photograph the area.
It didn’t happen. Between other committments and the burning desire to get home, by the time I stopped for gas in Willcox, AZ I had decided to not spend another night in a hotel and head straight home.
Here is the sum total of the progress I made on the module during the trip:
What is it? The San Pedro River at 75 miles/hour from Interstate 10 (looking North away from the Fairbank area) about 25 miles down-river (down-dirt?) from Fairbank.
Several weeks ago I commited to build a module. No big news there right? After all if I write about portability then building a module should be expected. There are a few wrinkles with this particular committment however.
First the module standard I am building to is as-yet unpublished. It is a new standard with a few sections still under final review within the group that is developing it.
Second, since I won’t have any modules to connect with it, it will be shipped to Canada for testing (I live in Arizona). This means it must be light and extra rugged. It also must have dimensions that take into account shipping tariffs.
I am in the process of designing a modular railroad named the Tombstone and Guaymas Railroad so I decided to build a piece of that layout for this module. So far I have decided that the module will center around a bridge across the San Pedro River at the site of (now a Ghost Town) Fairbank, AZ. Since my layout is in the 1880s era, Fairbank will still be a thriving town.
I’ll keep you posted as it progresses (or doesn’t).