When in doubt, make a turnout.


It’s really been too long since I made a model of anything. After having run a few more mock operating sessions on my cardboard layout I figured I might be close enough to having the track plan nailed down to spend some time at the dining room table, sorry, work bench, to indulge in a little track building. After a couple hours work and accompanied by a lovely glass of Port, I have the part built turnout shown above.

This particular turnout is used to complete the runaround loop. It’s built along a curved road and uses a number eight frog. The rail is code 40 from Micro Engineering and the ties, copperclad, from Fast Tracks. As I’ve been doing lately, I’m using only copperclad ties under the turnouts. It makes a more durable turnout and I find it easier to work against. I’ve certainly not invented anything new here, just affirming what I’ve read and learned from those who’ve been doing this longer than I have.

I’m building the turnout itself over a template that I drew using Templot. This really is the first time I’ve ever really used one of these templates and I’m very impressed with how accurately drawn each element of the turnout is. I didn’t modify the tie spacing in Templot before proceeding with my plan and these ties are further apart than I’d normally place them. I don’t dislike them spaced this way and the spacing is actually pretty close to what Atlas and Peco use on their code 80 flextrack. However, the ties are noticeably further apart if compared to the Micro Engineering code 40 flex track I have and had intended to use on this layout.
DSC00702I’ve been mulling over the question of tie spacing a lot and have no answer, yet. I did remember taking some photos last summer at West Lebanon, New Hampshire, of the Claremont-Concord’s yard and a particular group I took of their track, looking down from the Main Street bridge. I took the photos to record the condition of the track and its appearance. Now they serve equally well helping me determine what will be “right” for this venture. The older track is original in the yard while the freshly ballasted is a new siding recently added as a result of increased traffic.

I’m pleased with this evening’s work and feel terrific for having invested some time in making something. I’ve pushed a truck through the frog and even without guardrails it rolls through beautifully. Yup, feeling quite proud of this work.

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4 comments

  1. Looks like a rewarding endeavor. Seeing others building track is inspiring. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the track turns out.

    Jeremy

    1. Thank you Jeremy

      Building track is one of my favourite parts of the hobby. I love the look of the finished turnout, before painting, with all that copper and solder. Once installed, they’re always a source of pride as trains pass through them.

      Thanks again

      Chris

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