Chicago Union Station (North) + Ogilvie Transportation Center Layout

nlaempire Jun 16, 2012

  1. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    As a little "welcome home" present to my new arrivals, I finished up the layout table:
    layout-feb2013.jpg

    It's very difficult to get a good picture since the layout takes up a majority of the living room. Now that the "flat benchwork" is done, I can begin building the supporting structure of the subterranean portion of the layout. :teeth:


    Go back to the end of page 6 in this thread to see my most recent acquisitions: Kato F40 Metras and Amtrak Heritage set!! It only lets me post 10 pictures at a time so I had to make a second post to show the layout.
     
  2. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    The subterranean framing begins!

    subgrade03.jpg subgrade-long2.jpg subgrade-long.jpg subgrade02.jpg subgrade01.jpg

    Tabs are added to give the plywood something to bite on to at its edges between different segments:
    subgrade-tabs.jpg

    I had to cut away some of the L-girder to allow hand-access to place an alignment bolt:
    subgrade-access.jpg
     
  3. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    Weekend progress:

    I am nearing completion of the subterranean framing. In the process however, I have decided to add a few elements to the layout, and remove one:

    [TABLE="width: 800"]
    [TR]
    [TD] no-subsub.jpg [/TD]
    [TD]I removed the spur that branches west just above the green tracks shown in this image. Now, just the 3 red tracks remain. That spur was to drop an additional 2 inches in order to prepare for the James River module. Not only would creating the supporting structure for that track below the "L" girders be difficult, it would still not give me the proper height offset I would need anyway.
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: right"] spur1.jpg [/TD]
    [TD]Where the tracks finally settle into their lower elevation, I have a
    3-track "main" of sorts. That 3-track main will always have traffic,
    with very little time for trains to pause before having to get out of
    the way for the next train. There was a lot of unused space in the
    corner, and no real place for extra rolling stock or motive power to
    hide. So, I created a spur that can hold 4 pieces of equipment.[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: right"] ugstation.jpg [/TD]
    [TD]And now for the big surprise: the 3-track main will now have a spur capable of holding the Amtrak Hiawatha set, Amtrak Heritage set or a Metra with a 7 car consist. Hmmm... it sure is beginning to look like its own station under there. Come to think of it, Chicago Union Station is underground... why not just develop this whole portion and model it out with lights and people? I will install several micro video cameras so that any visitors to my layout will get to see my little "Easter Egg." ("Easter Egg" is a term used in computer programming for when the developer inserts a secret portion of code that does something unexpected.) I will have to make the road plate above the station removeable in order to correct any disasters that may happen down there.[/TD]
    [/TR]
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    With the two additional spurs, I can now build consists underground for trains to pick up. It will be a decent challenge, since I will only have the camera feeds for a reference.

    Here are a few more photos:
    under-station1.jpg under-station2.jpg
    Nothing is glued or in final position. The track placement is approximate and for me to see how well my drawings are matching up with the actual placement. So far, so good. I will be using Unitrak for the underground portion of the layout for 2 reasons:
    1. I already had some purchased.
    2. Other than the cameras in the station, nobody will be able to see the track.


    Clearances are going to be pretty tight due to the Unitrak:
    clearance.jpg
    That's not really too bad. Needlesstosay, I won't be running any double-stack container cars here.
    (I stuck a 9volt on the rails just behind the cab car to bring it to life)

    By this next weekend, most of the rest of the underground track should have arrived, as well as a few other items. I should also have completed the subterranean framing.

    Something that I have just realized though: If I have seen a picture of it in Union Station, I "have to have it" on my layout. Does anybody know if the Silver Streak Burlington Zephyr (the E5 type) ever ran through Chicago? I think there was a Chicago-Denver one but I'm not sure. A link to a photograph of one in the Chicago area would be just the excuse I need to get that set.

    Thanks for keeping up with me, and happy railroading!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2013
  4. k-59

    k-59 TrainBoard Member

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    IRM ran special trains with their E5 and Nebraska Zephyr out of Union station this past summer. The Silver Streak would work as a foobie for the Nebraska Zephyr. The specials themselves ran out of the south end, but to get the equipment from IRM they used the north end to connect with the UP. Here is picture with the skyline http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=411604&nseq=7
     
  5. Fluid Dynamics

    Fluid Dynamics TrainBoard Supporter

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    Really interesting layout concept.
     
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wasn't the Chicago-Denver version nicknamed "Silver Streak", after a movie was made using the name?
     
  7. mcjaco

    mcjaco TrainBoard Member

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    They're in Japan, if I recall, and that websites been spotty since the tsunami. I've had my eye on the Cabbage myself, as my Kato Cabbage project is going very slowly.

    Now if we could get someone to do the earlier Budd Bi-levels to mix in with the modern Nippon and American Railcars....

    There's a guy that's done the southside of Union Station in HO. It's impressive, much like this project.
     
  8. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    Progress:
    Ok, so it's been a few weeks and I feel the need to do an update.
    [TABLE="class: grid, width: 900"]
    [TR]
    [TD] newcross.gif [/TD]
    [TD]I have received all of the Unitrack I need (so I thought) but still need to get 2 more # 4 right turnouts because I added a crossover before the double crossover at the west side of the loop. (the grey lines are overhead rail at ground level, unpowered)[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD] overall-17mar.jpg [/TD]
    [TD]The layout looks more disastrous than it has in a while. "Too many irons in the fire," my neighbor said. That's okay, I have a really big fire. In my head, I'm all over the place. I have a tugboat model that's going to be turned into one of the tour boats from Chicago's First Lady, I have an FP45 (SP - sorry in advance, you SP folks) that will be turned into a Metra F40c, custom cut Unitrack all over the place (just like I anticipated)...[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD] stationend.jpg coffee-station.jpg [/TD]
    [TD]My intention is to make the entire underground portion of the layout a kind of amusement park ride. Partly because I'll get to practice scenery and construction, but mostly because I have half of my layout underground where nobody but a camera will see it, so I want it to be entertaining. Of course, there will be a small version of Union Station underground. Here's the north end of it with my intent in black marker.







    A long view of the underground station, featuring 2 cups of coffee :teeth:[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD] loopwork.jpg [/TD]
    [TD]The loop is almost complete, with all of the necessary track cuts performed. I just need to pad the far side, strip the Kato turnouts, prep the track for feeders,and prep the turnouts for switch servos.[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD] atlas-kato.jpg [/TD]
    [TD]This is a common thing for me where the track goes from surface to underground: switching from ME or Atlas track to Unitrack. I shave the ties and a small portion of the Kato roadbed off until the rails meet flush, then superglue the non-Kato track to the roadbed. It actually works really well.

    This photo features my biggest "no-no" : curved turnout, into different manufacturer track, on a 3% grade. I'm actually not worried about it at all.
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]

    I've been all over the board with questions on reverse loops, booster districting, power districting, thermal expansion, etc. While the track in these photos is more or less in place, it certainly isn't secured yet and not soldered together. I have to head back to my drawings to work out all of the cuts for block detection, power districts, and now, expansion joints. I'm glad I thought of this now instead of after attaching the track to the layout.

    The rolling stock roster has seen another increase since my last post as well, but I just don't feel like pulling it all out of the boxes to take a picture right now, so here's a list:

    Kato Silver Streak 5 car set
    SD70ACe C&NW and SD70ACe MP (I will turn these two into a UP Heritage Excursion trainset with smoothside UP cars)
    P42 Amtrak #100 "Celebrate the Century" (wish they had the PO car that went with the engine)
    2x P42 Phase Vb (finally - true blue color instead of the turquoise)
    Dash 9 BNSF Heriatge II (the start of the rolling stock for the "racetrack" module between Chicago and Aurora)
    Another 3-bay covered hopper, BNSF, for the chocolate factory
    Another 17,600 Gal corn syrup car for... you guessed it: Blommer Chocolate
    SP FP45 (donor to be turned into Metra F40c)

    I still need:
    UP GP38-2
    UP MP15DC
    Amtrak Phase V cabbage (I wish)
    2 or 3 F40 Metra (waiting on another city name to show up)
    Metra MP36
    at least 50 Metra railcars (cab and coach)
    UP smoothside cars (still need to find videos of the UP Heritage excursion train)

    Oh, and I also have a few items being printed up at Shapeways to see how the strength and detail works out for some station details:
    bumpmodel.gif - hydraulic bumper as used at OTC and CHN
    - Platform stairs with railing (I have a bad feeling about the railing)
    - "tilt-up" wall panels (to be used as a mold)
    - suspended ceiling grid segment with fluorescent lights (pretty excited if this works)
    - soon: station platform modules that fit Kato's double-track viaduct (another mold project)
    - soon: industrial ceiling-mounted light fixtures (might be too small to handle)
    - soon: furniture and fixtures for retail and residential structures
    - soon: sidewalks, roadways and bridge mold segments
    If the above turn out well, I will probably have them for sale for the few that would be interested.

    Also, I'll be toying with nano LEDs to see how I can use them for layout lighting.

    This electrical planning is literally giving me a headache. I think I'll have an aspirin... and some more coffee ;)

    Happy railroading, folks!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2013
  9. Sd70ACe1030

    Sd70ACe1030 TrainBoard Member

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    The silver streak ran between lincoln neb and omaha. the denver zepher was chicago to denver.
    afatastic layout concept. I have recently switched to ho scale and am thinking of doing something similar. I am a huge passenger fan, and the vivid colors of the 1950's are always in my mind. I have a 3.5x8 foot space and was thinking about makeing a opperational diorama of los angelas union passenger terminal. I dont have the space for the interlocking. However, my other thought was to do dearborn or chicago union. how are you going to do the interior of your station. for visibility reasons, how high will the roof be?
    my only complaint about chicago union is that its so drab...oh well, i guess the trains make up for it!
     
  10. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    I guess my Silver Streak will be the Denver Zephyr then ;)

    The small portion of Chicago's Union Station (north concourse) that I'm doing will have a 20' ceiling height from the railhead. I know that's a little shorter than reality, but actually doing the underground station was an afterthought. I can probably squeeze out a few more feet if I don't like the low height. I had originally only planned on showing the above-ground approaches. For the underground portion, you won't be able to see anything more than the platform, some walls, columns, stairs, lights... basically what you'd see right when you get off the train. It's going to be a lot of detail work for little reward, since the only way to view that portion of my layout will be through several stationary cameras I place down there, and a train camera.

    It's strange. I've never really been interested in passenger service until about a year ago except for the Super Chief. Now I'm almost totally focussed on anything that went through Union Station in the past 15 years.

    I'm also doing Ogilvie Transportation Center, which again will only show what you can see as you get off the train. The focus will be the interlocking.

    I can't wait to see what you come up with!
     
  11. mcjaco

    mcjaco TrainBoard Member

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    If you want I can forward you pictures of the Phase III I'm working on. If you're really interested in one, I may be arm twisted into making one for you.
     
  12. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow, this is an ambitious project! Should be a nice layout, no doubt.

    I really wanted to buy into some Metra equipment since I frequent Chicago but I just couldn't justify it in the budget. Those F40PH's look great though.
     
  13. Run8Racing

    Run8Racing TrainBoard Member

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    NO !!! NO !!! NO !!! This has gone far enough !!! You're doin' it all wrong !!! Get rid of that "stuff" and bring back the Es and the Fs and, of course, the Geeps of N&W and PC !!! Ha,ha,ha !!! I'm not a fan of modern stuff, but who cares ??? This layout is amazing !!! Even without using my "fossil train" ideas, it seems there will be alot of variety !!! I think you'll have some very busy switch motors. If I read all this correctly, this is only 1/2 of CUS ops, right ??? Was also wondering how many people will it take to operate it ??? This is REALLY cool !!!
     
  14. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    I wouldn't mind getting back to the early days of Metra to add a little more variety, but yes, this is only the North Concourse of CUS. The southern end wouldn't fit in my living room ;)

    I plan to have it 100% automated, eventually mimicking the actual train schedules in and out of both OTC and CUS-N. I know that later on, I will create some engineer "puzzles" for others to have fun at clubs or shows. Of course, "big brother" will be watching every move with the kill switch ready :)
     
  15. Sd70ACe1030

    Sd70ACe1030 TrainBoard Member

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    Ive loved the Chicago union station from the 50's for a long time. Sure, I wasn't born then, my parents weren't, either. However, the beauty of that era Is something that shan't be forgotten.....
    pie have an 8x3.5 foot space that Ike planning to make into a representation of the south concourse. I wouldn't be able to do the interlocking, but when I do get the space, I could turn it into a full fledged layout. And more genius about this idea is that you can run a line from cus to virtually any major railroading location. Do keep u the good work, this is a layout worth following.
     
  16. Sd70ACe1030

    Sd70ACe1030 TrainBoard Member

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    What are you going to do for the inside of Chicago union? Is it going to be a full interior? Also, what are you going to do for the track inside the terminal. On the prototype there are no ties, just rails embedded in the concrete.
     
  17. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    I will have a 4-track version of Union Station. It won't be very long but here are some pics of what I have, and have in mind:
    [TABLE="class: grid, width: 900"]
    [TR]
    [TD] bumpmodel.gif bumper5L.jpg stationend.jpg [/TD]
    [TD]This is a model I made of the hydraulic bumper for the single EOL I have at the station. I just got the model back from the printer and it looks and fits perfect (actually the fit of the box is .5mm off) The camera is charging and I will take pics of it and the other models soon. I may thicken up some of the details because .1mm is just really not that visible.




    I will need to develop something for the little red light that will go on top. The photo is the goal for that one area.



    I don't have a lot of room to work with though.
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD] ugstation.jpg



    plat07.jpg
    viaduct02.jpg [/TD]
    [TD]This is the trackplan I have in place for the mini Union Station:
    4 tracks, one with a dead end. If I add more track to the right, they will not be powered at all and will just sit there. If I connect them to the layout, I will have to cut a significant portion of the benchwork and I'd rather not weaken it. Also, the room needed to add enough turnouts would limit trains to 6, then 5 then 4 cars. I could add 3 more tracks, but Ogilvie Transportation center would be right above them, making them all but inaccessible, the whole station will only be viewable by cameras I put in there anyway, and there is plenty of storage on the layout already. I have thought about it though. I will just position the cameras on special areas so nobody will know except when the camera train rolls through.




    I will be making models of the platform itself, complete with the tactile paving (yellow bump strip at the edge) and the curb as shown in the photo.



    For the track, I'll be taking the easy route and using Kato's Viaduct double track since it has the overall look I want. I'll paint the tie-downs and fill the grooves. I will probably cut up the leftover viaduct portions and use them for... something.[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD] bumper2.jpg [/TD]
    [TD]This captures the feel I'm going for. I will be detailing the ceiling, adding the columns, the baggage platform, and even working on a design for the light fixtures that will actually work. The ceiling will be removable since there's just a 6-lane road above it. The panel will be prewired and I haven't decided if I'm going to go with my own version of fiber-optics or just use 1 nano-LED per light. I will need to test the light output. I definitely want good shadow casting to take place.[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD] wallplate.jpg [/TD]
    [TD]I have designed, and received the model for the wall and lit hallway in this picture, complete with conduit and pipe. The ceiling grid and lights will be as they are in this picture. If my idea works, the lights will even cast the light pattern on the wall. This will be on the far right at the "north" end of the station in my layout. A camera will be there for sure.[/TD]
    [/TR]
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    [TD] step3.jpg steps2.jpg [/TD]
    [TD]The lead into the station will be as detailed as I can make it, with few lights, lots of columns and pipe, etc. I just received a model of the staircase with railing and am VERY pleased it came out. The stairways will be in several locations and look as close to this as possible.



    I'm out of picture space for this post, but when the camera charges up, I'll take photos of the models, still in their clear form, and post them.[/TD]
    [/TR]
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    In addition to the above, The wall going up the left side on the layout's station will be just patterened concrete with random pipes, conduit and columns. The right wall will have a little more variation and feature some glass with shops, complete with interior. It won't follow the true layout of Union Station, but will give some of the feel I want. It's a lot of tender work going into this portion of the layout that will be hidden from view 100% of the time. As for the rest of the underground, I will get really crazy with it, like an amusement park ride. I'm using the underground to practice modeling, painting, etc. so by the time I get to the surface, I will have a good grasp of what to do.

    My primary modeling tool is the computer, and I will be making molds of the commonly occurring items, like columns, platform sections, etc. It would be cost prohibitive to make the whole thing through Shapeways, but if I was a millionaire, I'd go back to Chicago, take a couple hundred photos, and build it right down to the last bolt. On that note, any of you all that would like something built for printing through Shapeways, let me know. My focus is architectural, but given sufficient photos and drawings that I can scale from, I can build just about anything. I will send you the file to send them.

    Some things to keep in mind when sending models to Shapeways:
    - Frosted Ultra Detail is the finest detail they have, but the material cost is a good bit more.
    - A small detail like mullions needs to be a hair thicker than in actual life or it will simply warp or break off.
    - Large wall sections do very well at 1mm thick, but that thickness costs you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2013
  18. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    Here are some shots of the models. Once I spray them (once I get an airbrush) some of the hard-to-see details will pop out, like the conduit (complete with anchors) and the bolt heads on the bumper. The bumper was designed to fit on the Kato viaduct double-track, but looks like it'll work just fine on other track if ties are removed from where the box sits. I actually have to shave about .5mm off the width of the box at the bottom for about 1mm tall because I didn't account for the tie-down clearance enough. The bumper aligns perfectly with the coupler height. Needlesstoay, this bumper will NOT stop a runaway N-scale and survive intact. You can see in one of the stairway pics, the railing came loose from the steps at the bottom. With .5mm holding it in place, not much I can do about it but maybe thicking it by .2mm where it meets the steps. You will barely notice. The raililngs might come out better too if I used square extrusions instead of circular ones. The only problem there is that the square would remove the illusion of the railings being thinner.
    bump1-1.jpg bump1-2.jpg bump1-3.jpg bump1-4.jpg stairs1-1.jpg stairs1-2.jpg wall1-01.jpg
    The railing and mullions may look a little thick, but they are .5mm. I'm actually not sure on the railing style... if it matches Union Station or not, and to me, that's a detail that matters. I will have to schedule a trip to Chicago this summer again. By train of course :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2013
  19. Sd70ACe1030

    Sd70ACe1030 TrainBoard Member

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    Are you still looking for superliners? I have some in phase ivb that I'm trying to sell
     
  20. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm actually overstocked on them. I had to buy a few extra sets to get the lounge cars and coach/baggage to build the Amtrak Heritage set. Right now, I have 4 coaches, a sleeper and a diner extra, and that's after pushing my Empire Builder to an 11 car consist. Not really sure what I'm gonna do with them.
     

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