Hamptons Subway
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The Hampton Subway:
Creating a Model From a Myth

By John D'Angelo

Westhampton Station on the Hampton Subway.

I guess it all started with the Giant Ecuadorian Eel, so I'll start there.

Dan Rattiner is the owner and publisher of Dans Papers, a weekly newspaper that is distributed throughout the east end of Long Island, NY. His free newspaper always has interesting stories, many of which Dan writes himself, and sometimes Dan likes to have a little fun. At the time he wrote about the giant eel, there were all kinds of stories going around about the Loch Ness Monster, and Dan felt that the Hamptons area should have a monster of its own.

Dan's Papers started issuing stories about sightings of a 35-foot long Giant Ecuadorian Eel in the ponds and bay waters of the Hamptons in 1998. His stories were so well written that a number of people actually believed them and became quite angry when they discovered it was just a tall tale. One network anchorman actually sent a crew, by helicopter, to the location of one sighting to interview a pair of students who were reported to have seen the eel. Unfortunately, since the story was a fable, there were no students and the anchorman was NOT amused! Dan wrote about this in his recent book "In The Hamptons", which has become a best seller.

I think that once Dan got a taste of writing a good tall tale, he continued with the practice, and every so often would write a tongue-in-cheek piece for the paper. The Hampton Subway is another creation of Dan's creative mind and is now an active part of his paper with weekly reports on the events surrounding subway operations.

Dan wrote a story about a person named Ivan Kratz. Per Dan's information, Mr. Kratz had passed away long ago, and recently documents were found in his abandoned mansion, ala Citizen Kane, indicating that he had built a subway system to connect the Hamptons in the 1920s. According to the documents they found, the system had 18 subway stations and ran between Westhampton and Montauk Point with branches to Sag Harbor, 3 Mile Harbor, and Gosman's Dock. When a large gas ball was dismantled in Sag Harbor, workmen dug down and discovered a subway station and track beneath the village. Here is a link to trainorders.com and a copy of the original story.(If clicking on the link doesn't work, just copy this - http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,1197331 - and paste the address into your browser to get to the site.)

Dan can really write! Again, his story was so well written that people were discussing the subway, Ivan Kratz, and the question of whether the story, or any parts of it, were real or fake.

Naturally, I thought the Hampton Subway would be a fun project for Trainz and I decided to build a full scale model of the subway for TRS2009 as described by Dan Rattiner. By the time I made the model, the subway had a total of 30 stations.

I had one advantage. For a number of years I had been building a full-scale model of the Long Island Railroad, covering the north and south forks of Long Island. Due to health issues, I had not progressed in the scenic area, but all the tracks and stations were in place and operating. I made a copy of that model, eliminated the baseboards that were beyond the scope of the subway, and then built the subway, starting from Westhampton and heading east to Montauk Point. To give the subway line a proper feel, I used the routing of the LIRR tracks as my guide.

Since I decided to make my model with only the subway running on it, I deleted the LIRR tracks as I progressed along the route and was able to build the subway on the surface of the baseboards without the need to bury the tunnels and stations beneath the surface.

Being a subway, no buildings, trees or landscaping elements were needed. I actually built the layout in movie set style. Everything inside the subway looked real, but an exterior view would reveal it was just a set. All I needed to create the subway was subway track, tunnels, stations and a ceiling and wall system to house tracks at junctions where I needed to join the track to the stations or make divergent routes.

Here is a full list of all the items I used to create the layout, a number of these items are included in TRS2009, but anything not in TRS2009 is at the Download Station.

Items Used

Item KUID Author
Track: Subway 3rd Rail Cement 58843:38031 Magicland
Track: Subway No 3rd rail Cement 58843:38034 Magicland
Tunnel: Subway Tunnel 4 (4 lanes) 58843:38113 Magicland
Tunnel: Subway Tunnel (2 lanes) 58843:103 Magicland
Station: AJS Invisible Station 2T 3.5 2:122285:3402:3 Andi06
Station Platform Spline: Subway Platform-4 58843:10371 Magicland
Sign: Sign Station Oz 3a 30204:23005 Davidt
Switch Motor: Point Motor WH63 33572:24000 Rabid
Signal: Signal Dwarf -1:10093 Auran
Tower: Signal Box With Interior View 193148:1198 Alex23
Tower Sound: Signal Box telegraph office Clock 193148:1197 Alex23
Tower Interior: Signal Box Interior 193148:1196 Alex23
Subway Car: NYCTA R62 Subway Car 58843:321 Magicland
Subway Wall Spline: AJS Portal Wing Wal 122285:2030 Andi 06
Subway Roof Spline: Conc Slab 100m 30671:38002 llj
Ground texture: BallastDGrey 98193:10646 Betriebsleiter

Hampton Subway route showing major destinations (Google Earth map).

The current model showing baseboards.

Since I was building the subway on the surface, I textured all the baseboards in grey ballast color. This made the map view look good when you acted as the dispatcher in the tower. I may make some adjustments to the branch routes because they were not done exactly to scale and the Gosman's Dock branch looks a bit long right now.

G train to Gosmans Dock in Map View.

In this picture of the model in operation, the G Line Gosman's Dock train is approaching the Lewis Avenue Station. There are three Lewis Avenue names visible on the map because I have placed station signs at all the stations. I use the tracking camera option with one fixed camera at each station showing the station name. I also used GIMP to modify the route signs on Magicland's subway cars so they had the Hampton Subway routing. Currently there are only two lines, the M Line to Montauk Point and the G Line to the various branches. The route sign on the car side shows the line and the final destinations.

The G train to Gosman's Dock.

Route sign on the G Line Gosman's Dock train.

All of the stations are the same. The only change is the name. Creating a station is in eight steps:
  1. Lay down the AJS invisible station
  2. Place subway track without the third rail at the station. I lock in the track sections so they are centered and locked as straight sections.
  3. Lay down the subway station spline. This spline includes the third rails for the track.
  4. Join sections of subway track with third rails to the station tracks and to the tunnel entrances
  5. Build the walls and ceiling of the transition sections to the tunnel. I set the ceiling height at 9.5 meters. I place the center marks for the ceiling off to the side of the track to keep it from interfering with the station spline.
  6. Name the station and set the passenger height at 1.5 meters
  7. Name the two station signs and then place them in the center of each platform
  8. Place the tracking camera to show the station sign

The completed Lobster Roll station.

The Lobster Roll station is now complete with the transition walls and fixed camera in place. The ceiling of the transition section has been moved aside for clarity. After all of the track tunnels have been laid and all of the stations were put in place, I had to decide how to handle the operation where the route ended at Westhampton, Montauk Point and the branches.

Operating Setup

I wanted to have a continuous operation, and that meant when a train ended its run it had to do a return run and then start over from the beginning. If I had the tracks at the ending stations end in a stub siding with a crossover track, the train could enter the station, load, move to the stub siding, take the crossover to the return track and head back. I set it up this way at first, but there was a problem. The problem for me was that the cab view does not change and with this method, on the return trip the cab view was from the back of the train. I chose to fix this by using loops at the end points. This way, the train would pass through the station, go around the loop and then start out on the return trip with the cab view continuing from the head of the train. I used four-lane tunnel track at Westhampton to make the tunnel act as a yard in addition to turning a train around. The other loops use two-track tunnels. One track is for storage, the other is to allow the train to pass through.

Westhampton yard/loop with four trains ready for departure.

The trains are spaced in order to assist the AI system in controlling them. Dwarf signals are used throughout the layout spaced about one train length apart.

In order to set up a continuous operation, each train needs to be programmed to stop at the proper stations for its route, turn around at the end, make the return trip and then repeat the operation. All eastbound tracks at the stations are track 1 and all westbound tracks are track 2. In the branches, all northbound tracks are considered eastbound and southbound tracks are considered westbound.

Programming by editing the session for a number of trains using different routes was difficult for me, so I created a spreadsheet to use for programming purposes.

Hampton Subway Routes   Eastbound Trains Read Down, Westbound Trains Read Up        
    Eastbound Trains Use Platform 1, Westbound Trains Use Platform 2        
STATION   G North Haven G Maidstone Park G Gerard Park G Gosmans Dock M Montauk Point
Westhampton   x x x x x
Quogue Street   x x x x x
Midland   x x x x x
Lewis Ave   x x x x x
East Quogue   x x x x x
Shinnecock   x x x x x
Southampton   x x x x x
Watermill   x x x x x
Hayground Rd   x x x x x
Noyac Rd   x x x x x
Bridgehampton   x x x x x
  Sag Harbor X        
  North Haven X        
Townline Rd     x x x x
Main Beach     x x x x
East Hampton     x x x x
  Hands Creek   X      
  Maidstone Park   X      
  Acabonac     X    
  Gerard Park     X    
Amagansett         x x
Beach Hampton         x x
Napeague         x x
Lobster Roll         x x
Montauk Beach         x x
  Montauk Station       x  
  Gosmans Dock       x  
Ditch Plains           x
Camp Hero           x
Montauk Point           x

Using the spreadsheet helped me keep track of each train I was programming. I'd pick the train I wanted, then run my finger down and up the spreadsheet to remind me of what station to add. I labeled the tracks in the loops with track marks to identify the track and position for the train to be at. For example, at North Haven the train would load at the station, then head north into the loop. NHT1, NHT2 (NHT=North Haven Tunnel) are the track marks to bring the train around the loop and head it back to track 2 of North Haven station. The loop track marks are not on the spreadsheet since they were easy to remember.

Once all the trains are in place and programmed, I just "let er' rip" and my trains, consisting of eight cars each, scoot along making their stops. Of course the AI system gave me some heart stoppages because of that deep implanted desire to take the left track, which is the Australian/British method. I really had to use track direction markers, track marks and tight control to overcome that crazy desire to take the left track. I'll give you one example of the kind of things that make me want to pull my hair out!

I had programmed the M train to stop at Montauk Point, go around the tunnel loop via the track marks, arrive at track 2 of the Montauk Station, then just head west to Westhampton, bypassing the stations along the way. It was an operating test and I just wanted to get the train back to Westhampton.

It didn't work. The train stopped at Montauk Point station track 1, went around through the tunnel, stopped at Montauk Point Station track 2, then instead of heading back to Westhampton, the engineer reversed the train and sent it back into the tunnel heading backwards, then it ran into the signals facing the wrong way and kind of went into shock and just stopped dead giving me a big question mark.

What I think happened is that the AI engineer, once he got loaded up at Montauk Point track 2, looked for a left hand run to Westhampton track 2. This destination was only possible using the left hand track by reversing across the loop and backing all the way to the loop at Westhampton, then swinging through the loop in Westhampton to track 2 of Westhampton station! Good grief, talk about a fixation on using the left track! To overcome this I had to order the train to make all the station stops on the way back. That locked the engineer into the proper path.

Finally the trains were moving along fine, but there was one more item I wanted add to the layout. I wanted to add an interlocking tower to Westhampton yard and at the route junctions, so I could sit in the tower and watch the subway trains pass by and, by using the map view, control the operation. I added towers WH (Westhampton), BH(Bridgehampton), EH(East Hampton) and MP(Montauk Point). I wrote an article in Virtual Model Railroader Journal about setting up the towers, also known as Signal Boxes.

For the subway system I lowered the invisible track for the tower so it would fit properly under the ceiling and also placed a station sign outside each tower that would make it visible to the dispatcher.

WH Tower External view.

View From the Westhampton interlocking tower.

Map view of the Bridgehampton Junction.

The only areas not protected by signals are the crossovers, for example where an eastbound train heads north on a junction, crossing over the westbound track. Once the trains were in full operation and crossing back and forth it could be possible for a collision to happen. Most probably the trains would just pass through each other, but adding the towers gave me the opportunity to become a dispatcher and also have a good view of the local operation and control the movement. If I noted a possible collision shaping up I could take control of one train and order it to stop until the other train had cleared. I could then tell it to continue with its schedule once it was free to do so.

At this point I am running four trains originating from Westhampton, and one train originating from Montauk Point. I plan on adding originating trains to the other branches, as long as the CPU can handle the load. So far it's running fine.

Well, I guess that just about covers the Hampton Subway operation. Since this is a mythical subway, I might just extend it at some point, running it under Shelter Island to Greenport and then make a connection to a line for the North Fork of Long Island. The North Fork line would run from Riverhead to Orient Point and that could be a fun winter project.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Article and screen shots 2010 John D'Angelo. All rights reserved.

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