Animated Gas Station Reboot

Back in 2014, long before I'd conceived of the Reading Central Railroad, I began work on a replacement for the first gas station I built for the White River & Northern IV. I started with the same Showcase Miniatures N Scale service station kit. The only useable parts from this kit were the base and the etched brass walls; everything else I scratchbuilt.

By the time I got around to taking photos, I'd already finished the base and built the car lift mechanism. Unlike the original, where all of the works were under the layout, this one is entirely self-contained: a pager motor with a double-worm reduction slowly turns a cam that lifts the car with a Z-shaped rod. Everything is hidden in the restroom.

The diodes and resistor provide the motor with constant 1.5 volts, regardless of what the supply voltage is. The square copper-colored post to the right of the motor provides power for lighting via contacts mounted on the roof.

The car lift itself is a brass assembly; the hydraulic pole is actually stationary, and fits inside the car when it's lowered. Thus, nothing sticks out the bottom of the structure. I would love to have animated the roll-up door as well, but that was a bit too much to cram into the space. But I do intend to add a rotating illuminated sign, just like the original.

The interior is fully detailed—or will be when it's done; I still need to make some more tool boxes, a fan belt rack, a cash resister, and products for the shelves in the office, amongst other things.

I scratchbuilt many tiny details, including an air compressor, an old-fashioned soda pop machine and a push broom.

I made a new roof from PC board and sheet styrene. I hand-etched traces on the PC board to power 10 SMD LEDs soldered to the underside for realistic lighting. A pair of metal contacts allow the roof to be removed.

The project has recently been resurrected, and now has a new home on the Mountain Vista Railroad, my last layout.

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