I’ve been having so much fun building track and sharing what I’ve learned with friends. I was really flattered when the idea of hosting a “learn to handlay a switch” workshop was proposed and last Saturday afternoon we did just that. Everyone who attended built a HO scale number five turnout. We standardized on code 100 rail and we built everything in place over paper templates printed from the Fast Tracks online library. Speaking of Fast Tracks, we used their Copperhead PC ties throughout.
Rather than drag everyone through a presentation and then hands-on we just dove right into construction. In an attempt to help moderate construction, I tried to divide out my method to handlay a turnout into individual stages. I introduced each stage and then everyone worked through it on their turnout. As the afternoon progressed we developed a really nice rythm and I found things moved along at a great pace with me floating from work station to station to work one-on-one with everyone and make sure things were proceeding. I can’t begin to express how proud I am with everyone’s progress and the track we made. While not everyone finished their turnout during the afternoon, every one of these pieces of track should become a terrific turnout that could be installed in a layout. Friend, fellow Island model railroader, and blogger, Taylor Main snapped some terrific photos from the afternoon and graciously extended permission to post some here.
I think it would be terrific if we could have a follow-up session. Everyone could bring turnouts that they’re working on and we could work together to make sure they get completed. We could also cover some methods to wire them and some options on how to move the point blades.
“I just never figured this would be something I’d try.”
There are so many different skills to become familiar with in the hobby. Learning to make things is fun. Doing so in the company of friends is really fun. I feel all that much richer for having had this workshop and I’d love to do it again. Lots of coffee, cake, and donuts later we got together learned something new. I think that’s what model railroading should be about.