Sometimes… it gets better

Three sidings, two turnouts, zero short circuits.

Three sidings, two turnouts, zero short circuits.

I had intended to build a completely new turnout to replace the one with the mystery short. While I waited for the soldering iron to warm up I took one last look at the turnout I was replacing. I had suspected that when I was cutting the insulating gaps in the ties a small piece of copper had slid beside the turnout. Then I discovered that what I suspected was actually the case. “Why hadn’t I spotted that before installing it?” I asked myself. The problem had been compounded by a cold solder joint on one end, where the rail was tacked in place. The rail was only making an intermittent contact on the tie with the short so I had only a chance of spotting it.

Having spotted the guilty tie I removed it. With that out of the way, the turnout was completely perfect again. Well, almost. I had made a mess of the thing trying to find the source of the short so I replaced a few of the broken and burnt ties with new ones. With the turnout fixed I put down some new wood ties and re-attached the feeder wires. As you can see in the above photo, the turnout is back in place on the layout.

I was kind of on a roll with getting things headed back in the right direction so I tied in the last of the feeder wires and hooked up a controller and finally, after all this patience, rewarded myself with running a test loco around the layout. With no switching lead in place and no method of locking the points in either direction switching cars wouldn’t be easy but I sure enjoyed running that engine around the layout.

So, the to do list continues. I haven’t determined a plan for the second module yet and have no ideas on where to start with that. I do need something on it, if only to act as a switching lead. I think what I’ll do is simply use a bit of double-sided tape to tack a piece of flex track in place to solve this need. I have some minor filing to clean up a few rail joints. Of course, I need to power up the switch frogs and settle on a means of moving the turnout blades. The list goes on from there. I tend to think of layout construction in phases. Obviously you can’t proceed without benchwork. After that’s in place the next marker is running the first train. From that point onward, I tend to think that everything just makes it all better. It feels terrific to be at that point now. I’m already looking forward to working on some scenery and the first operating session.

For now though, I’m going to grab a mug of tea, a few cookies, and push that little 44 tonner around these three sidings and just enjoy the moment.

By the way, thanks to everyone who posted a comment here on the blog, over on Facebook, or by email when I posted about the short circuit a couple of days ago. Thanks for the encouragement and sense of community. It sure felt rewarding to part of such a strong community.


    1. Thanks, Steve

      It feels pretty terrific. Last night I tacked in a length of track to act as a headshunt then dug out a few cars and was actually able to switch some cars around. As fun as it was to run just a solo engine, this fledgling freight working was just that much more terrific.

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