Sunday, March 14, 2010

Chicagoland O Scale Modular Club

First semi-official meeting of the newly formed Chicago area O Scale Traction modular club was Saturday, March 13th. We met up at the Clever Models booth/display at 1PM, and adjourned out to a side hallway for some quiet and privacy.

Had a half-dozen folks show up and the interest is very high.
We were also lucky to have Ed Skuchas from Berkshire Car Shops and an active EPTC guy sit in and give his impressions and advice.

Kevin spent part of last week building a prototype table, based on his ideas and modifications to the East Penn standard, which after some discussion we've adopted as our "standard" table.

Basic differences are we've elminated the lip on the ends of the modules which serve as leg pockets for the East Penn group, our tables will be 18 inches wide compared to EPTC' 16 inch width (adding two more inches to the rear) and we'll go with a 3-1/2" track center.

In the unlikely event that a Chicago group/EPTC get-together occur, a couple of transition modules could in theory be cobbled together.

This is the basic design, showing Kevin's concept for raised risers as opposed to a flat tabletop design. This is a really well thought-out design and nicely built. Cabinet grade materials, yet it's still very light weight and easy to handle
(Admittedly without track, overhead or scenery as yet !)

As seen below with the sub-roadbed, the design allows the front of the risers to be cut away to represent landscaping and ground contouring, or with a wider sub-roadbed, could also have the table-top style (if needed for a city/town scene, industries with a lot of switching, etc)

We decided to adopt Kevin's prototype as our new "standard" table design, with dimensions of 4 feet long x 18 inches deep. We decided on getting something up and running as quick as practical, so we'll work on getting a number of straight modules together, and then build a return loop at each end, as opposed to a circular layout.

We'll have a double track mainline, starting with Code 148 track, preferably the Micro-Engineering over the Atlas track (although either will work), as the ME has a better look to it.
The consensus was that a tall layout was more appropriate to our needs and our intent which is to have a highly sceniced layout, something that you'd want closer to eye level to enjoy and catch all the details of. Leg height was determined to be 48 inches and a number of design ideas were discussed, Kevin will test these ideas over the next week and come up with a prototype design.

We're also waiting for samples on roadbed, once we have roadbed samples and a leg design, we can come to a consensus and start building tables. I see no impediments to having several tables built and ready to operate (perhaps no overhead just yet), by tax day. Once we have a few tables to work off of, we can design and build the return loops, and we're ready to go public.

As noted interest is very high amongst the handful of guys who showed up, I'm guesstimating we're looking at a minimum of 5-6 tables to be built to start, up to 8-10, somewhere between 20-40 odd feet of running to begin with.

A pretty auspicious start, certainly more than I had dared to hope for.

Sometime in the near future, the scene below (Kevin's prototype with some of his IT fleet on display), will be set up and operating at a show near you !
Thanks to everyone who showed up and expressed any level of interest.
Special thanks to Kevin for all the hard-work and to Ed Skuchas for his
advice and encouragement.

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