Following on from my previous post on the tiebar installation, I have been carrying out testing of the new tiebars and turnouts in situ.
As outlined in a previous post, the wire-in-tube (WIT) hardware were mounted on timber bases directly underneath the spline at each turnout location.
The wire from the turnout back to the lever frame was temporarily connected to the frame using brass screw ferrules from terminal blocks.
During initial testing, I found that length of the vertical drive shaft attached to the brass block had too much flex in it to work the turnout reliably. Due to the thickness of the spline at around 25mm, the resultant drive shaft length was around 30mm. The image below shows the vertical drive shaft and brass block. (Note – image shows the revised drive shaft length)
It was also found that the length of tube attached to the underside of the tiebar was too long. So this was reduced to around 3mm in length.
To reduce the drive shaft length, I realised that a reduction in spline thickness would be necessary at each turnout location.
After carrying out some tests with different drive shaft lengths, I found that a length of around 15 to 17mm operated much more reliably. I decided to reduce the spline thickness to 10mm. This was removed quite easily with my multi tool and saw blade. At one of the other locations, I had to use a router.
Once the spline was cut away at each location, the previously made timber mounts for the WIT hardware were re-attached to the spline by gluing in place.
I am quite happy with the result, so the next stage will be to paint the turnouts and fix in place.
I have made a short video showing the turnout operating from the lever frame.
I have made more progress on the Kankool turnouts. I have now fitted tiebars.
I have always wanted to have tiebars that look as realistic as possible, within the bounds of practicality for HO scale and reliable operation.
Some time ago, Rene kindly sent me one of his 3D printed tiebars. I had planned to look at his design and see if it could be adapted to my new track standards.
I put the whole thing on the back burner for a while, but resurrected it nearly 12 months ago when it was getting to the point that I was going to need something to be able to complete the turnouts.
I put the idea to a mate who is a bit of an expert on 3D design. He thought the idea had merit, so I left it with him to come up with a design.
Over the last few months however, I began to have reservations about the 3D print idea. Because the plastic tiebars would have to be glued to the points, I was worried about the mechanical strength of such a bond. Also, as the 3D printing thing is still relatively new, the materials are untested over time. Will they deteriorate over the next twenty years?
When Andrew and I built the P87 turnouts for Bowen Creek, we used thin pieces of printed circuit board that would allow for a soldered joint to the points. So began the manufacture of a prototype.
My design uses brass strip soldered together in a similar design to Rene’s. It still allows the tiebar to slide underneath the second sleeper back from the toe. It also has a drive tube underneath into which the wire-in-tube turnout activator will fit.
I had to have a method of holding the tiebar underneath the turnout whilst soldering to the points. So, using a piece of old melamine shelving, I marked out and routed a recess for the tiebar to sit in.
The turnout was then located over the tiebar and clamped in position.
Soldering the points to the tiebars requires a great deal of care. It is very easy to solder the points to the stockrails! To reduce the risk of this, and also to reinforce the soldered joint, small pieces of brass strip are soldered to the tiebars then to the points. The point is clamped against the stockrail then the brass strip carefully soldered in place.
Once the first point is soldered in place, the turnout is repositioned so the other point can be fixed in position. Again, the point is clamped to the stockrail, and ensuring the opposite point is the correct distance from the stockrail to allow for wheel clearance, the second point is soldered in place.
The finished tiebar! It is then tested for binding and to ensure both points sit snugly against each stockrail. The turnout can then be removed from the melamine base. The plan is to temporarily clamp the turnout in position on the roadbed and connect the actuator and test the operation using the wire-in-tube. Once it is proven to work effectively, the turnout will be painted and prepared for final installation on the roadbed.
A similar recess for the tiebar was routed out in the cork roadbed at each location.
A brief update on some more progress on the Chilcott’s Creek bridge scene.
The bridge abutments are now fixed in position, and most of the foam is also fixed down.
I also did some more weathering to the bridge piers. Following on from the previous Part V post, the rust streaking was done using oil paints and turps to drag the colours down the piers.
I’m quite happy with the results with some more work to be done.
I’ve done some more installation of the Wire-in-tube (WIT) system for points and signals at Kankool.
Some timber bases were made to fix the WIT hardware to underneath the spline at the Willow Tree end of Kankool loop.
These have been made adjustable to allow for final tweaks when the turnout throwbars are installed.
The photo below shows the mounting block for the WIT signal hardware for the two Down starters on the left hand side, as well as the mounting block for the WIT point hardware for the runaway turnout in the loop and the mainline catchpoint.
The next photo shows a shot from underneath the spline of the mounting block for the Up Home Main & Loop bracket signal and the mainline turnout to the loop.
The next photo shows a shot above the turnout complex at the Willow Tree end. The loop of WIT that can be seen is to connect both mainline and runaway points to a single cable (lever #7).
This now completes the WIT installation for the Willow Tree end of Kankool. Scenery installation can now commence in this area.
I have recently been redoing the weathering on the Chilcott’s Ck bridge abutments and piers. I wasn’t happy with my first attempt using the acrylic crayon powders quite a while ago. So, this time using oil paints, I applied an all over light grey colour using a stippling brush and I think it has produced a neat effect. Then using other colours like black, white and more grey, I have again stippled over the top for a random effect. For the rust staining, I used the oils again but washed them down with turps. Again pretty happy with the results so far.
I have also finished the “base” grey coat on the piers and will let that dry before moving onto the rust staining.
I have also made some more progress on the Chilcott’s Ck bridge scene over the last few days. A slight change of plans to what I mentioned previously, in that I have decided to fix the timber sub-module base in place then add the scenery foam around and on top of it. The abutments will then be fixed in place, along with the piers. Scenery including dirts and grasses will then be applied, and hopefully some ‘water’ in the creek! The bridge span will then be fixed in place once all this has been completed. Pictures show all the foam pieces and the sub-module base temporarily in place.
A plywood base was fixed in place to provide support for the foam.
With the bridge sub-module sitting in place, a jigsaw of various pieces of foam were cut to fit. First off were two pieces front and back to continue the creek bed, which was drawn in and then routed out to the same depth as on the timber sub-module.
Then other pieces of foam were cut and shaped to fit the previously made pieces under the bridge.
The last two pictures show the bridge span and piers temporarily in place to give an idea of how the scene will look. Final shaping of the foam will be done when the pieces are fixed down.
Recently I have continued work on the Chilcott’s Creek bridge scene.
Back in December 2014, I made a post where I had started to weather the bridge piers and abutments.
I was never really happy with how the colour on the abutments had turned out, so I decided to redo them.
Using some new oil based paints and some new techniques, I mixed up a new lighter colour of grey and applied to the abutments. I am happy so far with the result. The paint was stippled on and has given a rougher surface appearance. I’ll redo the rust stains as well. I think I will also redo the piers.
I also added the small extensions to the wingwalls.
The plan was always to build the bridge on a sub-assembly and then slot it into place. As the base of the sub-module needed to be near to perfectly flat, I decided to laminate a piece of 3-ply to another piece of hardwood. I roughly marked out the future riverbed and removed the first layer of ply using a router. My idea is to eventually try my hand at some model water.
I have also started on forming the scenery around the bridge. The idea is to form up the base scenery foam, add the dirts, grasses etc then assemble the bridge, fix the sub-assembly into the layout, levelling up as I go. Anyway, we’ll soon see if that plan works!!
The last photo shows the bridge & piers temporarily in place. You get the idea!!
Some months ago I started laying tieplates on the bridge and have fixed one rail in place. I had been thinking of ways to do it easily, including making a jig, but Andrew suggested I just line them up against a straight edge.
The frets of the tieplates were masked off where the base of the rail sits, painted with some Krylon flat brown paint, then dusted a ‘rusty’ colour with some powders.
The underside of the tieplates were then coated with Pliobond glue.
The individual tieplates were then cut out and located on the transoms, one at the end and the other about 40 transoms away. Using a soldering iron, the tieplates are bonded to the transoms. The heat activates the Pliobond. This then gave me two points to line the straight edge against. The straight edge was clamped to the bridge. More tieplates were then bonded to the transoms. The process was repeated along the bridge.
The next step was to fix one length of rail to this first run of tieplates. This was done by applying the Pliobond to the underside of the rail as well as the tops of the tieplates, then locating the rail in position and carefully applying heat to the top of the rail using an old clothes iron and gradually moving along the length of the bridge. The bond appears to be OK so far.
The plan is to then, using gauges, locate more tieplates underneath the second rail and repeat the above process.
I have started to install the wire-in-tube (WIT) system that will operate the signals and points at Kankool.
The system is designed and sold by Modratec in Brisbane.
I am also using 3D printed signal actuators designed by Ray Pilgrim. Check out his Signals Branch blog.
The actuators will be mounted in a block of wood that has been attached to the side of the spline in the appropriate location. My own signals will then be attached to the base of the actuator.
The photo above shows a view underneath one of the WIT termination blocks. The cable from the lever frame is on the left and another wire then connects from the brass block to the lever on the signal actuator.
The WIT cables from the points and signals all come back to a termination block at the lever frame.
Refer back to a post here for a view of where the lever frame will sit. Go to the last photo.
I have also added extra cranks and linkages to the levers of the Kankool frame to convert from a vertical to horizontal movement.
I had a mate laser cut some new cranks and got some clevises cast in brass to connect them altogether. The wire throw to the points and signals will attach to the bottom clevis.
I realised I needed to commence the WIT installation before any scenery work could start, so I have already installed cables to nearly all signals, but I have to work on the turnout throwbars before I can terminate the point cables.
Every so often, I open up my listing of trains I am modelling and add more information to the spread sheet where I calculate model train lengths and tonnage.
The longest trains that will run on the layout are the Up block wheat and coal, and all of these have four locos up front, with generally two of these being the bank engines.
I was always hoping to be able to run prototypical length trains, but found I had an issue with the road lengths in the Up Staging.
The original design of the Up Staging had the following standing room lengths (in mm) for trains:
5400; 4340; 4200; 3570; 3500; 3500; 2790; 2790.
Currently my four longest trains (to prototypical length & tonnage) are:
Up Wheat, Quad locos + 26 x WTY + brakevan = 5280mm
Up Wheat, Quad locos + 26 x WTY + brakevan = 5260mm
Up Coal, Quad locos + 21 x CHS + brakevan x 2 = 4910mm
Up Coal, Quad locos + 21 x CHS + brakevan = 4800mm
As can be seen, there was no way I was going to be able to fit these trains into the four longest roads.
In hindsight, I should have made the Up yards much longer than the Down yards, but instead made them roughly equal lengths.
So to accommodate the long trains, I have decided to rebuild the Up yards using 3-way turnouts in certain locations to lengthen the roads. I will only have to build three new 3-way turnouts.
The revised Up Staging now gives me the following standing room lengths in mm:
5495; 5080; 5060; 4765; 4310; 4070; 4030; 4020.
On one of the wheat trains, I may have to drop up to two wagons, and on one of the coal trains, one wagon. This will still give me near prototypical length trains.
The drawing above shows the differences between the old and new yard design. The majority of roads are now significantly longer than in the old design.
I have completed installation of the foam roadbed all the way from Chilcott’s Ck almost to Ardglen. I have also laid quite a bit more CV track base from Chilcott’s Ck through Kankool to just before the first peninsula.
The process was the same as outlined here when I did the Temple Court section.
Under where the turnouts are located at Kankool, I laid 3mm cork down instead of the foam. This was done to make it easier cutting out a hole for the future throwbar rather than trying to cut it out of the soft foam. In hindsight, I probably only needed a small section of cork directly under the toe of each turnout rather than under the whole turnout. That is what I will do on future turnouts.
Taking on board an idea from Andrew, I also commenced installing strips of the high density yellow foam to the sides of the spline. The idea here is to lay continuous foam strips along the spline to not only allow for shaping the trackbed, ballast profile and drainage, but to also make it easier to install the main scenery foam later on, rather than trying to cut many small irregularly shaped foam pieces to try and fit against the spline.
Following on from this post back in August 2015 where I outlined the move from Proto-87 standards to NMRA Fine:HO, the new Code 70 vee crossings arrived back in November courtesy of Keiran Ryan.
The picture below show the two new vee crossing etches, 1 in 6 on the left, 1 in 8 on the right.
The picture below shows a completed crossing prior to being removed from the fret.
After I then assembled a few of the crossings, I proceeded to remove the P87 ones from the two turnout assemblies for Kankool and retrofit the new ones. The 1 in 8 is on the left, the 1 in 6 on the right.
Below is a shot of the completed turnout complex at the Werris Ck end of Kankool. All that is left to do here is to fit the throwbars and paint.
Before I could start laying the foam roadbed, I had to make cut-outs in the spline at the throwbar locations for each turnout at Kankool. I used a multi-tool with a small saw blade held vertically.