Work on the bridge scene has ceased now that the bridge is in and the final ‘water’ pour done, so my attention has now returned to the first set of turnouts for Ardglen.
This complex of three turnouts plus catchpoint was started last year, and all that is required now is to fit the point blades and throwbars. The first of seven blades have been fitted this afternoon.
Things have been pretty quiet since the last post, but there are always things happening behind the scenes and sometimes aren’t worth posting about.
I have been itching to get back into trackwork and have started building the first set of turnouts at the Werris Creek end of Kankool.
The Kankool (1941) signal diagram is shown below. Click to open a larger version.
The first set of turnouts to be started are numbers 7 and 9 as shown above. No.7 is the Up Main to Loop and No.9 is a catchpoint in the Main facing Down trains. As can be seen above, there is a short runaway siding that extends from the loop through another turnout that is also designated No.7. These two are worked from the same lever. The runaway acts as a catchpoint for the loop facing Down trains as it is thrown for the runaway when lever 7 is normal in the frame (ie set for the Main).
In looking at photos I have that show snippets of this arrangement of turnouts at Kankool and a similar arrangement at Ardglen, I was intrigued to find that No.9 catchpoint is not a normal single blade type, but virtually a full turnout without the vee crossing.
The photo above shows a similar catchpoint at Ardglen. Note the short run-off rail and the timber block where the inner rail ends at the stockrail. The run-off rail extends under the point rodding. There also appears to be some sort of ‘checkrail’ as well.
I decided to build the arrangement on the workbench, so out came the Greg Edwards Trackwork Handbook, and some photocopies of the 1:6 and 1:8 plain turnouts and 1:6 symmetrical turnout (wye) were made. I had previously used some templates to get a rough idea on how the two would marry together.
My main workbench was found to be not perfectly flat, so I dragged out an old table I had and checked it – perfect! I knew I had a sheet of glass somewhere that I could use to stick the paper templates to. I started to lay out the templates, but soon found they had not copied accurately enough. For some reason, and I’m guessing it was the photocopier, there was a slight kink in both templates. Now, this error wasn’t helping me line up centrelines etc.
I decided to send an email to Greg Edwards explaining my problem and if he would be prepared to send me his CAD files of the turnouts. Well Greg replied very promptly with attachments of the turnout drawings I required. Greg’s only proviso in giving me the drawings was that I did not distribute them and that they were for my personal use only. Thanks Greg!
I then proceeded to manipulate the drawings in TurboCAD to combine a 1:8 plain, 1:6 symmetrical and 1:6 plain together to produce a new template. See below.
The above result was a much more accurate template I could use. As mentioned above, No.9 catchpoint arrangement can now be seen. The road off the runaway at the top of the drawing will be extended more when in situ.
The template was printed out over three sheets of A4 size paper, cut and joined, then taped down to the glass.
Once the template was in place, PCB sleepers had to be glued down. I started marking out where to place PCB in strategic locations but then changed tack to make every sleeper PCB. This may seem like overkill, but it makes it easier than trying to position timber ones in place later. Anyway, I thought I’d give it a go.
Clover House PCB strips were used. Turnouts timbers are generally 10” x 6”, whilst general track sleepers are 9” x 4.5”. Clover House #1266 scale out to approx. 10” x 5” and #1267 to approx. 11” x 5”. They are a tad wider than they should be, and it’s difficult to see the difference, but the turnout timbers need to look ‘beefy’ compared to general sleepers.
Once all the PCB’s were glued down, I started to think about laying the first piece of rail. During these thoughts, I decided to have a go at laying the rails on etched tieplates for that extra bit of detail. The tieplates were something I got etched as a detail item under the IR Models brand many years ago. I’m not sure even if I ever ended up officially having them for sale.
As can be seen from the image above, the tieplates came with a convenient centreline to assist in placement on the sleepers. Firstly. the backs of the tieplates were pre-tinned with solder. I then started by placing the etch in position over the drawn railhead on the template and with minimal solder, fixed them to the PCB. This was repeated for the length of the straight stockrail. In places where the curved stockrail converges on the straight stockrail, ‘half’ tieplates were used. See below.
The straight stockrail was then soldered in place to the tieplates, again with minimal solder from the ‘rear’ of the rail (ie, the non viewing side). Once this was complete, a 1:8 vee crossing was assembled and soldered in position, gauged from the stockrail.
The close-up shot of the crossing shows the support ‘plates’ the crossing is attached to. These were made from strips of 0.1mm thick brass. On the prototype, these ‘plates’ perform the same job as the tieplates under the rail. The vee crossing was spiked in place to these. On the model, they served the purpose of lifting the crossing up by 0.1mm which is the thickness of the tieplates.
The rest of the turnout complex was completed using the same techniques I used when building the storage yard turnouts. Prior to fixing the tieplates in place for a second rail, individual plates were removed from the fret and placed at strategic locations, and with rail held temporarily in place with gauges, these initial plates were soldered in position. The rail was then removed and the alignment of the plates checked against the template. They were generally pretty spot on, so the remainder of the plates for a particular section were then fixed in place using the template as the guide, and the process of fixing the rail to these was again repeated using gauges.
The following images show some shots taken during the construction process. Another vee crossing was also assembled, this time a 1:6 for the runaway turnout.
The final shot above shows the arrangement at the stage where all rails are in place. I’m pretty happy with how it has all progressed. Whether I continue with installing tieplates on future turnouts remains to be seen, as looking at a lot of photos, a lot of this detail is covered by ballast, and it is very time consuming. I might wait until the Kankool turnouts and track are painted, weathered and ballasted before I make that decision. After all, it will be a while before I need to worry about the Ardglen turnouts.
The next job is to fit the rail brace chairs, point blades and checkrails. I also plan to fit the tiebars and associated apparatus, ready for the ‘wire-in-tube’ connection from the lever frame, all whilst it is on the workbench.