Small Change

I’ve been making some, albeit slow, progress on the layout this week.

Today I glued down the first length of track. If I get a chance, I may break out some acrylic paints and start painting and weathering this short length of track to prepare it for ballasting.

I’ve elected to use Micro Engineering code 40 flex track. The track is beautiful but the spike heads demand wheels with a closer to scale flange depth. On my rolling stock, I’ll just swap out the existing wheels for finer ones from Intermountain or those really neat ones from BLMA. The engines are a different story. I see that NWSL still sell replacement wheels with a finer scale flange (depth) and wheel profile and I’m keen to try these. I had been trying to talk myself into chucking the existing wheels into my drill and carefully reducing the flange depth. This afternoon I felt equally reckless and irresponsible which seemed to be the perfect mood to be in to attempt the drill-and-file approach. The engine I chose was an older Atlas (Kato) RS-1. I determined that if I reduced the flanges to about a 0.020″ depth they’d work quite well with my track. The Kato wheels were pretty close to this already. My primitive (crude?) method was efficient at the main goal of reducing the flange depth but it wasn’t easy to re-profile the overall shape of the flange’s cross-section. Not that I was surprised by this result, but it certainly underscored the difference between what I did and what I should have done. I’ll re-assemble the model and I’m curious to see how well these re-shaped wheels navigate through my turnouts. I’ve re-assembled the modified trucks and they seem to work fine so, albeit cautiously, I’m ready to proclaim this experiment a success.

What’s next?

I should really get around to finishing the two turnouts. I’d like to wire these off the layout and while I’m working on that, I’ll also attach the mechanism to move the point blades. If that were done I could creep along the mainline a little further and flirt with installing the first siding track and perhaps also the lead into that.

I borrowed this post’s title from the Tom Waits album I’ve been listening to a lot lately. Not really sure if there are any tie-ins from that album to where I’m at right now with model railways. Rather than over-thinking that, I’ll just keep plugging away at little projects. Time to boil the kettle, brew some tea, and just generally enjoy the hobby.

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2 comments

  1. Small Change could pertain to a Small Amount of Change or monetary Small Change. Confucius say “Longest journey begin with single step”

    But the journey is generally moving forward. Keep moving forward and keep keeping us posted, Chris.
    Eric

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