Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Walkways and sidewalks

In the world around us, we are accustomed to most walkways being paved in some fashion, commonly concrete. This is as true in industrial settings as in residential and commercial areas. So one would think that the same would be true on model railroad layouts. In fact, it often is not, and this post sets out to address the point.
     Anyone doing a city or town scene, with buildings close together and urban-style streets, naturally includes sidewalks too. But around industrial buildings, and even in residential settings, those walks are less commonly modeled. I am not trying to point any fingers, because I am as guilty as the next modeler. But I want to change that.
     My project in this connection is to work out where there should be paved walkways around my structures, and to start adding them. I like the Evergreen scribed sheets with rectangular patterns, and use them where I can, though of course you can easily scribe your own desired size and shape of the grooves at the “joints.” If you have watched workmen laying concrete sidewalk, you have seen a tool called a groover used to incise those “joints.” The purpose of the joint grooves is to control subsequent cracking of the slab, and restrict it to the groove locations. Accordingly, these grooves are an essential recognition factor for concrete walks.
     An example of using the Evergreen material is the depot platform at Ballard on my layout. The passenger platform is on the side of the depot toward the top of the photo, in this overhead view. Southern Pacific in fact often used asphalt for depot platforms, but there are certainly examples of rammed earthen ones, and of concrete ones like this. (You can click to enlarge.)

Also visible, of course, is the house track and its unloading platform, to the left of the depot.
     I have in several instances already added concrete pads or walkways near industries to facilitate passage of workers or employees. One example is my recent post about the tank car unloading spot at the cannery in my town of Santa Rosalia (see that post at: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2018/06/more-tank-car-unloading.html ).
     Another example is the small commercial area near the depot in my town of Shumala. There is a nearby parking area, but it’s at a lower level. In the past, I had a small piece of stairway material, simply lying in place against the bank. It didn’t look very realistic, as you can see in the photo below, though at least there is a sidewalk in front of the businesses, and a railing along the top of the roadway wall. The outdoor seating area at right, of course is served by the Dolphin & Anchor Tavern.

Recently I added a little piece of styrene sidewalk to extend the existing walkway, added a railing to the stairs, and positioned them in a reasonable way to reach the upper level. The sidewalk was made from the same Evergreen product used before, sheet no. 4518 with 1/2-inch squares, so that the grooved squares would be the same size.

I think this looks far more reasonable as a way for patrons of these businesses to climb up from the parking area to the walkway.
     One more example here,  is providing a walkway or perhaps a sidewalk in conjunction with the recently added type foundry (my post describing that structure is at this link: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2018/05/whats-type-foundry.html ). The key idea for me is to make a paper pattern for the eventual styrene sidewalk piece. This way, you can cut it a little oversize and then fit to the exact need with the models involved. Here is a first try at a paper pattern in front of the type foundry:

You can see that I want to fit the “concrete” area into the door recess, and also have the sidewalk extend to the street corner. (I have plans to add another business structure at the corner.)
     Here again, I could have used the scribe-and-snap technique to cut my sidewalk shape from the Evergreen 4518 styrene sheet, but since I had the odd shape extending into the doorway of the building, I used the heavy scissors you see in the photo above, and cut out the styrene oversize to permit fitting it into that doorway accurately. Below you see a view of a file being used to complete the fitting.

The new sidewalk needs of course to be painted a concrete color and weathered, but those are routine steps. 
     These kinds of added features on layout scenes, walkways and sidewalks, complete many scenes with a familiar presence, the concrete or other paving that is so widely used around buildings. I plan to add more of these in the places they are missing on my layout.
Tony Thompson

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