Category Archives: Trackwork
Yes, it’s been quite a while since the last update, but I have been busy!
I have pretty much concentrated on scenery work from Chilcott’s Ck through to Kankool, including shaping of scenery foam, applying scenery materials around the bridge and installing the front fascia board.
The pictures below show the results of foam carving and application of scenery ‘mud’.
Between this point in time and the next set of photos, the fascia was attached from the bridge towards Kankool. I prefer to carve the scenery foam to shape prior to fixing the fascia in place. Once I have the final contours shaped, some 3mm ply is cut to the required width to suit the highest point. I have allowed around 80mm ‘drop’ below the bottom edge of the benchwork. This will allow the fitting of curtains at a later date.
The piece of ply is held or clamped in position against the foam and a line traced against the scenery contour on the inside of the ply. The ply is then removed and cut to shape with a jigsaw.
The shaped ply is then glued and screwed to the layout.
Next came the task of fixing the bridge piers in place.
The process was rather simple after much thought!! The bridge itself was placed in position on the abutments and held down with weights. Then each pier was checked for height to the underneath of the girders. Where required, some extra packing was glued down first. A gap of around 2mm was left between the top of the pier and the girder. Then the bridge was removed, a bed of Liquid Nails applied where the pier was to sit, then the pier was lightly pressed into the glue. The bridge was then placed back in position and weighted down again, pushing the pier into the glue. To make sure the pier did not sink into the glue while it was curing, small pieces of wood were chocked under it to make sure it touched the underneath of the girder. Each pier was left for at least 24 hours to allow the glue to set. The above sequence was repeated for the remaining piers.
As can be seen in the first photo above, I had to cut out a small section of the scenery between the first and second piers to allow access to the first pier, as it is partly buried in the ground. The small piece of foam has now been re-glued in position.
The pictures above show all piers in position and the bridge temporarily in place for checks.
The next task was to apply a base cover of scenery dirt around the bridge area. Coloured grout was used and sifted onto the foam using a small container with an old stocking stretched across the opening. A 3:1 mix of water and matte Mod Podge was brushed onto the foam, the grout applied and then fixed in position with the same glue mix applied using a fine mist spray bottle.
Then came the beginning of the fun stuff – applying grass!
I found some grass mat by Silflor and decided to use this around the bridge because it was going to be difficult to get the static grass applicator in close enough to the bridge piers.
The first piece was cut roughly to shape and placed in position for checking. I made sure the edges were ‘torn’ rather than cut with scissors to avoid a sharp edge.
The area was then masked off and a spray adhesive applied to the foam as well as the back of the grass mat. This was allowed to go ‘off’ to the point it was tacky and then the mat pressed into position.
The above picture shows grass mat fixed in position. The edges and joins will be hidden by more grass later.
Before I could finish applying the scenery dirt around the entrance to the layout from staging, I had to install the end section of fascia and valance. This proved quite tricky as it was a compound curve. The pictures below show it fixed in position and some shots of the rest of the fascia towards Kankool.
Next came the job of detailing the grass mat around the bridge. Various products from Silflor, Mininatur, Woodland Scenics etc were used. Fake fur was also used for grass tufts. It certainly takes away the ‘blandness’ of the original grass mat. The remaining scraps of grass mat were also glued down on the other side of the bridge with the remaining area covered by 2mm static grass in a matching colour.
A base cover of 2mm static grass was also added to larger areas. This will be later detailed with tall grass.
With the majority of grass work now complete around the bridge, I could now finish of the tracklaying either side of the bridge. I had previously left over length pieces of rail attached to the bridge to transition to the remaining track. It was just a matter of again sitting the bridge temporarily in position and laying more rail to meet up with the bridge rails. More fishplates were also added to this section.
I also completed the missing track link between the bridge and the Up staging yards.
Now that the track was pretty well complete from the staging through to Kankool, I decided to give it a coat of Krylon Camo brown. The surrounding areas were masked off and the track was sprayed.
A couple of shots of the bridge scene. The bridge is still just temporarily in position at the moment, as I want to pour the ‘water’ in the creek before permanently fixing it down. There is still quite a bit more detailing to go, but this can be done once the bridge is fixed in position.
Now that the track was complete from staging onto the layout, I added some fall protection to the short section there.
Well, that’s pretty much where the layout is up to at the moment.
This will be the last post on the blog as I have decided to create a Facebook page to continue to show progress on the layout. Please check it out. The blog will remain as an archive.
All the best to all my followers for Christmas and the New Year.
Well, it’s been quite a while since my last post, and since then, quite a bit has been achieved.
I have now got CV track and rail laid from the Sydney end of Kankool up to the approximate location of the Up Home signal at Ardglen, which is shown by the red line in the image below. A total length of around 38 metres (125 feet). This was achieved over about a six week period.
I continued with the rail laying process as described previously here.
Work has also commenced on the first of the Ardglen turnouts at the Kankool end.
During the last few months, I also spent some time finishing up the weathering on three more 45 class locomotives and the fitting of Loksound Select DCC decoders and sugar cube speakers.
I fabricated my own speaker enclosures to fit two 8 ohm, 11 x 15mm ‘sugar cube’ speakers, wired in parallel.
Below are some shots of the weathering on the 45’s.
Following on from the previous post on this topic, I have started on the task of rebuilding the Sydney end of the Up staging yards.
The picture above shows five existing turnouts have been removed and the first of two new 3-way turnouts installed.
The 3-way turnouts were built on the workbench. They followed the same principles as a normal turnout, but were a little tricky due to the three vee crossings. The two 1:6 vee crossings were made from the same etched components as I have used for the turnouts at Kankool, but the third one had to be scratchbuilt, as the crossing angle was around 1 in 4.
I drew up a new drawing which was an amalgamation of two 1:6 turnouts (left hand and right hand). Once tidied up, I had a template for the 3-way turnout. This was taped down to a piece of glass and PCB strip glued down. During the first build, I came up with a specific order of construction, hence the numbered circles in the image below. The image shows some of the main components in place including the two etched 1:6 vee crossings.
At around this stage of construction, I started building the third vee crossing. This crossing is also slightly curved so I printed out a section of the drawing at twice HO scale to assist in laying out the rail to the curves. I had to come up with a method of fabricating the vee crossing as a sub-assembly that could be fitted into the turnout.
Using brass strip spaced to fit in between the PCB strips, these were taped down over the drawing.
The first task was to file up the two halves of the vee and fix in place.
Then the wing rails were bent and shaped and checked against the template. Long pieces of rail were used to make it easier to lay against the template.
The completed crossing was then trimmed to size and fitted into the turnout using multiple gauges.
The picture below show the completed 3-way turnout, less point blades.
The final result!
There is a bit of tidy up work to do yet as well as re-mounting and re-wiring the point motors, but at least the trackwork is done.
Now to do the same at the other end!
Since the last post, I have continued with the laying of rail from Kankool towards the bridge at Chilcott’s Creek and also for a couple of metres towards Ardglen.
This had come to a bit of a standstill due to me running out of the 3D printed fishplates a couple of months ago, but I have since come up with a new plan to allow tracklaying to progress independent of my stocks of fishplates.
I have started to paint the non-viewable side of each rail with the Krylon camo brown prior to fixing to the CV ties. There is no need to have fishplates on the non-visible side of the rail. That being said, I did fix them to both sides of the rail on the main and loop roads at Kankool, but only realised it was a waste after the fact! Once the half-painted rail is fixed down, I will then go along and glue the fishplates to the viewable side of the rail and then spray the whole track, including the CV ties, with the Krylon. I think this will aid in colouring and weathering the CV ties later on.
Over the last few months, in between other jobs, I started to glue down copious amounts of the XPS yellow foam in readiness to begin shaping the landform in the section from Chilcott’s Creek and through Kankool.
Whilst recently carrying out final adjustments to the wire-in-tube controls to turnouts 7, 9 and 12 at Kankool, I discovered a minor problem with the control of turnouts 7. On the prototype, lever 7 controlled two turnouts, both labelled ‘7’. See the diagram below. These two turnouts operated off the same single rodding run, as they were required to operate in tandem.
My original thought was that I would be able to simulate this in model form by operating both turnouts from the one control wire from the frame. This was done by passing the control wire from the frame through turnout 7 on the loop first, then terminate at turnout 7 on the main. This seemed like a good idea in theory, but when it came to adjusting the throw of each turnout, I couldn’t get both to operate successfully in tandem.
So I decided to terminate the existing control wire at turnout 7 on the loop and run a separate control wire from the frame to turnout 7 on the main and to connect it to lever 7. See the result below.
Two of the brass ferrules were soldered together to enable both control wires to terminate on the one lever.
I was now able to adjust each turnout independently from each other.
A few weeks ago, after connecting the newly laid track at Kankool to the DCC bus, I ran a test loco through the turnouts and was happy with the result.
Here is a short video of the movement.
Apologies for the long time between posts.
Since the last post, I have completed the trackwork at Kankool, which included completing laying of the CV tie bases, fixing down the two turnout assemblies and gluing rail to the CV ties.
The above pictures show both the Willow Tree end and Murrurundi end turnout assemblies now fixed in place. Prior to fixing down, they were carefully washed in soapy water to remove any solder and flux residues, then painted with the Krylon flat brown paint. I’m hoping it will provide the same flat base to allow for weathering later on.
Once the turnouts were in place, I could start laying the rail on the plain track sections. The process is the same as was used when I laid the first section of CV ties and rail in the Temple Court section. Refer to this post as a reminder. The only difference now is that I am painting the rail with the Krylon prior to fixing in place.
Another extra task that is being done prior to painting the rail, is to add cosmetic fishplates. I did not do this in the Temple Court section, but they will be added to the rail later and touched up with paint.
I am using 3D printed 6-bolt fishplates from Ray Pilgrim. There are superglued every 40 scale feet along the rails.
They are a bit hard to see in the picture above, but I am hoping once the rail is weathered, they will stand out more.
To finish this post, below are a couple of shots of the finished trackwork looking from each turnout.
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.