Anyone Else Modifying Superstreets/EZ Street Vehicles? (Updated w/additional Y Roadway spring return info)

With the benefit of Lee Willis’ well written “All I Have Learned About Supersteets” and “Anatomy of a $110 Supersteets 18Wheeler” I purchased  Superstreets vans and step vans along with some track.  Like Dave Allen, my first modification was to add lights using the Evan Designs 1/43 lighting set.  The next project was to motorize and light a fire engine.  The wheelbase of the step van chassis is just slightly less than that of the Corgi Mack CF fire pumper.  The construction of the fire pumper lends itself well to mating it to the step van chassis with only a few minor modifications to both.  The Evan Design 1/43 Police Car lighting set with 3 mm LEDs plus 3 additional flashing LEDs were used for the lighting.

I purchased a Y switch that now allowed me to have the fire engine pull out of the fire station and drive “around the block”.  I also added a Dream Player Lite from Pricom Design that I set up with a sound file of a Federal Q siren.  By removing a center rail joiner from the road at the door of the fire station and running a wire with a pushbutton from the center rail power terminal, I could now have the fire engine exit the station with all lights “ablaze” by pushing a button.  Well, everything worked well.  But what if:  I could back the fire engine into the fire station under its own power; the engine could have a siren as well as horn sound on board; the lights could be turned on before the engine started out of the station; the fire engine needs to stop at the scene of a fire and keep all the lights going full brightness.  The answer – command control.  After ruling out MTH DCS and Aristocraft/RMT Crest Train Engineer due to component size and availability, I realized that I could use my MRC Prodigy Advance system that was sitting idle after upgrading to MRC Prodigy Advance 2 on the N scale side of the house.  I began to look at what was available in O, HO, and even N decoders.  Train Control Systems (TCS) has a wired decoder (M-4T) designed for use in trolley’s with a brake light/tail light feature.  Digitrax has a wired sound decoder (SDN144PS) that can be customized with sound sets from their website or by developing or modifying your own sound set using their software and hardware interface.    The sound volume with the N scale size speaker did not have enough volume.  I replaced it with an MRC speaker twice the size with its own baffle.  By using the RDC sound project from the Digitrax website as a starting point, I removed some of the sounds that were not appropriate and replaced the bell sound with a siren sound file and the locomotive horn with a truck horn sound file.

The DCC has also allowed me to run multiple vehicles on the same roadway and be able to adjust the speed individually.

The only problem - when the trains run, their sound (and track noise) drown out the fire engine sounds.  I’m following the discussions on how to reduce track noise with renewed interest.

 

  

 

 

Larry

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Super EZ Street
Original Post

Great Job! Looking forward to seeing additional info.

Dennis
Piscataway, NJ

NJ Hi-Railers Member

North Penn O Gaugers Member

TCA Member 13-69453

LCCA/LRRC Member

 

If you haven't checked out the new NJ Hi-Railers Website please do. Go to the "Photos" page to see galleries of their events and check the "What's New" page periodically to see what they have added.

Larry your modifications are fantastic.  Where did you purchase the "Y" switch.  I've been under the impression they're weren't made.  You can imagine my excitement when I saw yours.  E-Z Streets opens a whole new play level.  Thanks for posting.

 

Son-Of-A-Gun, found them.  I've been looking at EZ Streets instead of Lionel Super Streets.  Now I can have my reverse loops at each end of my trolley line.  Just ordered two of them.

 

Wild Mary (AKA Nick) Retired & "Riding The Wild Mary"

 

 

Forum Member Since 24 Sept. 2004

 

Lionel bought the old K-Line name for the track, Super Streets.

Williams by Bachmann uses the name E-Z Streets.

As far as I know they should both fit with each other, not 100% sure on that though, as I have Super Streets and not E-Z Streets.

The only one that I know for sure that is being produced currently is Bachmann's E-Z Streets.

There could be a license agreement that won't let Lionel make the old K-Line Super Streets, but sell off old stock, again I am not 100% sure. The one thing is that license and legal problems had to be smoothed over with Sand Kan Holdings or somebody similar in China before Bachmann could sell the product as E-Z Streets.

 

Lee F.

Philadelphia & Reading Railway, one of the first railroads in the USA, first to have a double track system in the USA.

L.J.,

 

Great job on the Super Streets vehicles, especially the fire trucks.

I would to have one on my layout, but probally can not afford it right now.

 

Lee F.

Philadelphia & Reading Railway, one of the first railroads in the USA, first to have a double track system in the USA.

The Y roadway is no longer produced by either.  I actually ended up buying four Y's since whatever is available is old stock and when that goes that's it.  At $10.95 ea I couldn't pass it up and chance it not being available down the road.

Wild Mary (AKA Nick) Retired & "Riding The Wild Mary"

 

 

Forum Member Since 24 Sept. 2004

 

Larry, I so enjoyed your video, you have done what I am currently building, I had the exact same idea as you for the fire station. I was going to use TMCC. ERR's Mini Commander will do the trick. I got a Lionel Step truck in last week with TMCC fitted and it works great, I'm converting it into a fire/rescue truck, using again, the Evan Design wig wags and siren. By replacing the momentary push button with a miniature non-latching relay, I can change siren sounds en-route. I hope Bachmann bring out a good variety of vehicles, this is going to be fun.

Originally Posted by Gene H:

The Bachmann E-Z Streets look black or dark gray in the catalog, did anyone see any yet?

Yes, I've seen it, and yes, its darker than the old Superstreets was. 

 

If you want EZ-Street rather than old SS stock modeltrainstuff.com has almost all of the various Bachman pieces in stock.  Other places, do, too, but many stors and sites still carry some old stock.  The new is noticeably darker than the earlier stuff - about like two month old asphalt versus four year old weathered asphalt.   I paint all my road surfaces so it really doesn't matter to me, but the color difference is not that bad - real-world roads vary in hue from near black to white concrete, so . . .

Larry your "Y" photos are great & the spring return feature is very helpful.  I just ordered 4 Y's  and wasn't sure how the switching worked.  I'm using 2 of them for return loops on my trolley line and using your spring wire set up they will always be able to enter the loop in a clockwise direction.  Thanks.

Wild Mary (AKA Nick) Retired & "Riding The Wild Mary"

 

 

Forum Member Since 24 Sept. 2004

 

Thanks for the additional info Larry, I think DCC is a better long term option to TMCC. The decoders are much smaller and will allow fitting into much smaller vehicles. I agree with the observation too re Bachmann's commitment to DCC already. It would make it sense for them to go DCC with this. It's already done in slot cars like Scalextric, digital decoders allow multiple cars to race on the same track and switch, I hope it comes into this range. Back in the 60's Hornby I think had a product called micro-mimic which was a street system, but didn't last long because slot cars came out about the same time, but I think with digital technology, this time it will have a chance.

For “Wild Mary” - Additional info on the spring return for the Y

 

Nick,

 

I removed spring assembly from the layout to get a few better pictures and ended up modifying it to make it less obvious.

 

After debating how to set up a spring mechanism (wanted to use a diskette spring as I have a lifetime supply), this set up provided a low profile.  The sheet styrene I used was only .010 so I had cut it larger to see if the flexing would be a problem.  This picture shows how I notched one side of the 3/16 styrene angle so I could follow the curve of the Y.  I used round styrene tubing at the Y but looking at it now, it would have looked better and worked just as well by using the 3/16 angle cut to form a V.

 

View 1

 

I painted the assembly primer gray but masked the spring mechanism as I was concerned about the paint creating a drag on the spring.

 

View 2

 

Modified it by trimming off excess sheet and painting what was left flat black to blend in with my black posterboard roadway.  This view also shows how I cut and notched the rectangular tube that houses the spring.  A little rough as I wasn’t sure if it would work. 

 

View 3

 

This is a good view of the spring assembly under a turnout.  Two things to note.  Due to the thickness of the bottom sheet, the rectangular tube with the spring is butted up against the side of the track to keep the bottom sheet from flexing.  I also added a piece of .010 styrene under the spring/switch lever area to make sure that the spring did not drop out of the switch lever.

 

View 4

 

Back on the layout, the spring assembly is now less obvious and still remains functional.  Not concerned with gray superstreets on the black poster board as this is my “temporary, learning” layout.  I thought I had finalized my plan for a 12 x 19 round the wall layout, then I took the plunge into Super/EZ Streets.  Back to RR Track, but I think I have just about finalized the revision to keep my original track plan and incorporate the streets.  Now if I could get around to building it.

 

View 5

 

Now starting to look at turnout motor options.  When I convert the second fire engine, I will want to be able to control which section of the fire station each one backs into.  I would prefer to go with a low profile, surface mount without having to make any further modifications to the Y switch itself.  If anyone has suggestions, would appreciate your thoughts.

 

Thanks!

 

Larry

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Nobody ever got back to the switch machine idea...I'd say try an HO scale swtch machine since they're small.

LJ, thanks for the showing of the converted wye set up...nice idea!

...I wish they'd come out with the darn switches like they were supposed to, but more wyes would work too in a pinch.

You know its a good kit bash or build day when there's alot of plastic shavings under the workbench - or- that I really need to clean up the floor again.

-Bob

Really nice.  I have a collection of the old Tyco US-1 HO trucks and the play value of that layout was extremely high.

 

In the slot car world there are folks who manufacture there own track.  I imagine someone could really integrate slot cars onto this too.

 

Pretty soon someone will have a smoking exhaust on the trucks:-)   Obviously the EPA won't be happy.  :-) G

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Bob,

Looked at some of the HO switch machines and think I may go with the Atlas when I am ready to proceed.  I also hope that Bachmann will bring out the Wye as well as the D16 and D21 left and right turnouts.  Those along with a command control system to allow individual control (speed and reverse) would open up so many possibilities for E-Z Streets.

 

G,

I also had (still have) the Tyco US 1 trucking sets.  I wish Bachmann would look back at some of the accessories Tyco offered and possibly look at bringing them to E-Z Streets.  Here is a link to an info page on Tyco US-1 Trucking.

 

Have not done any more conversions lately but I am looking forward to the E-Z Streets sedans that are scheduled for October.

 

Larry

 

 

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