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bill937ca

Tram track grand union

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bill937ca

My Toronto streetcar list on Yahoo has been discussing new diversion track proposed to keep streetcars moving during emergencies, protests and demonstrations.  At one point a grand union came up and I was asked to define it which lead to an interesting discovery.

 

Grand unions have come before in the discussion wish lists for Unitram and Tomix tram track.  Do you really know what you are asking for?

 

A grand union is an intersection that a streetcar from any direction can turn right, turn left or go straight.  There are eight facing switches, 8 trailing switches, 88 frogs and 32 switch points. The overhead is just as complicated.

 

88 frogs and 32 switch points!!!  This a wallet emptying piece of track work.  The prototype is high maintenance and the overhead is a nightmare for the line department.

 

In Toronto the grand unions are at King and Spadina, Queen and Spadina, and Bathurst and King. This photo looks Queen and Spadina, looking south on Spadina.

 

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Toronto_Streetcar_Grand_Junction.jpg

 

Wikipedia grand union track diagram.

 

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grand_union_diagram.svg

 

The Wikipedia grand union article.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_union

 

Another diagram.

 

http://www.proto87.com/media/GU-template-HO-thumb.jpg

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David

I'd settle for a basic double junction - you can try to make one using some R140 switches and the 30 degree crossover, but the geometry is all messed up. The R541 15 degree switch and 15 degree crossover work a little better - the geometry isn't perfect, but it actually fits together without creating much weird track spacing. However it uses a lot of room and is still not a pretty "curve", it diverges 15 degrees and then has to continue straight for a while to clear the other track.

 

Ultimately you'd need a left and right switch of the next size up or down (an R177/R103, or whatever you trying to match such as R243/R317 ) and a left and right "curved" 30 degree crossover track, where the curve matches the new switch.

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Bernard

Bill,

I was just up in Toronto 2 weeks ago to do some location filming. As we were driving in the city I saw the Grand Union.....Holly Molly! What a complicated piece of track work that is!

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bill937ca

That was something I tried when I first got my Tomix tram track.  I never got the intersection completely covered before I moved on to other things.

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David

But I'd like to get both tracks, and have a smooth curve if possible (right now the track spacing gets really messed up, and it certainly isn't a smooth curve like you would use at an square intersection). When I go home I can post my 15 degree double track version (I've done the geometry for a Kato 15 degree version too, but in Kato the spacing is not as close).

post-219-13569925068173_thumb.png

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bill937ca

Bill,

I was just up in Toronto 2 weeks ago to do some location filming. As we were driving in the city I saw the Grand Union.....Holly Molly! What a complicated piece of track work that is!

 

You got that right!!  I used to live just past a 3/4 grand union at Church and King  Oh the noise!

 

Photo 1.  This is King and Church prior to reconstruction of the intersection the summer of 2003. Looking east on King.

 

Photo 2 .  King and Church in 2004.  One curve from northbound Church to eastbound King was removed during the rebuilt (its connecting street a few blocks away was made  one-way in the 50s or 60s and one track became redundant).  The double poles are during the process of replacing poles with streetcar wires and Toronto Hydro wires attached.

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bill937ca

But I'd like to get both tracks, and have a smooth curve if possible (right now the track spacing gets really messed up, and it certainly isn't a smooth curve like you would use at an square intersection). When I go home I can post my 15 degree double track version (I've done the geometry for a Kato 15 degree version too, but in Kato the spacing is not as close).

 

What you really need is a crossover with a curved track and a straight track.

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Guest ___

Having seen pictures and video of the New York City system around the turn of the Century, the Grand Union pales in comparison. Still despite that, and with the Vikiden talking, the Grand Union diagram gives me a migraine. (Something of which the Vikiden is suppose to get rid of)

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marknewton

There's a grand union in Melbourne, on Balaclava Road in Caulfield. A few years back I was on a heritage tram tour that got off the road there - very exciting!

 

Cheers,

 

Mark.

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bill937ca

Many castings used in Toronto come from Davies & Baird in Australia.

 

http://www.daviesbaird.com.au/html/light_rail___tram.html

 

Toronto also has Edgar Allan castings from the UK.

 

I presume Japanese tram lines have Japanese castings although I don't the names of any suppliers.

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marknewton

We have some of their gear at Loftus, interesting to see they export to Canada.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark.

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