Blog Archives

Tracklaying, turnouts, weathering & sound …

Hi all,

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.

45_class_decoder_installs

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers.

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Kankool frame installation – Part III(a) …

Hi all,

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.

Cheers.

Kankool frame installation – Part III …

Hi all,

Well, the Kankool lever frame is finally fixed in its position in the layout.

Whilst I was at the Liverpool model railway exhibition in Sydney over the October long weekend, Dale Richards made some modifications to the locking bed of the frame, as we had found some errors in the interlocking.

Upon returning home, I decided it was time to permanently mount the frame and connect the levers to the wire-in-tube, especially to the turnouts, so final testing and adjustments could be done.

I found that I also needed to make some changes to the direction of travel of some of the signal runs.  Eight of the signal runs require a “pull” rather than a “push” movement to enable the signal actuators to work correctly.

So, the cranks were disconnected from these levers, and new connecting rods made.

Below is a picture of the changes made.

 

Below is a picture of the frame now fixed in place with the redirected signal tubing clamped to a new mounting block.  The existing horizontal runs can also be seen.

I can now do final testing and adjustments to the turnout runs.

Cheers.

Kankool trackwork – Part IV …

Hi all,

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.

layout_construction_325

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.

Cheers.

Kankool trackwork – Part III …

Hi all,

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.

wire-in-tube termination at lever frame

 

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)

drive shaft

 

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.

new tiebar throw tube 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.

reduced spline thickness

 

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.

 

Cheers.

Kankool frame installation – Part II …

Hi all,

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.

Bases for fixing of WIT hardware

 

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.

Base for fixing of WIT hardware

 

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.

Cheers.

More foam roadbed & CV track installation …

Hi all,

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.

cork laid under turnouts

cork laid under 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.

scenery foam strips attached to spline

 

Cheers.

Storage yard tracklaying complete …

Hi all,

A quick post tonight.  I reached another major milestone today with the completion of tracklaying in the Down storage yard.  I have laid a total of 263 feet (80 metres) of track and turnouts in the two yards.

down_yard_1

down_yard_2

The keen observer will spot that I am yet to install the curved closure rails in most of the turnouts.  This should be completed tomorrow.

The next job is to fit the point blades and Cobalt motors to all turnouts.

Cheers for now.

Tracklaying 101 …

Hi all,

I have been pretty busy since the last post, getting quite a bit of track down.  Already the centre road and the next one closest to the wall are complete between turnouts at each end.  I am referring to the UP yard at the moment.

 

I thought I would share some tips on how I have been laying the track.  This won’t be a comprehensive tutorial, as there have been numerous articles published in various publications over the years about handlaying track.  It’s just the methods I am using.

 

As mentioned previously, the PCB sleepers go down first.  At the left hand end of the UP yard, when viewed from the room, I have built five turnouts.  These are complete except for the point blades and checkrails.  As mentioned previously, I am using laminated etched vee crossings from Proto87 Stores in the USA.  They have made building these turnouts a breeze, as there is no bending of rail, or filing of the vee.  I won’t go into how they are assembled, rather here is a link to the Proto87 Stores’ tutorial.

 

Refer to the turnout drawing below.

turnout components

The first part of the turnout that goes down is the straight stock rail.  Then the crossing vee is located and gauged off the straight stock rail.  Then the straight closure rail is fixed from the crossing to the heel.  The heel is where the point blades are hinged.

locating the crossing vee  gauging the straight closure rail

The curved stock rail is next, firstly being fixed down near the toe (or start of the turnout).  This rail is then slightly bent to clear the outside of the heel.  This short section of rail must be straight where the point blade lies against it.  It is then fixed again at the heel.  Using gauges, the curved stock rail is then gauged off the other side of the crossing vee and soldered in position opposite the crossing only.  Again, the short section of rail opposite the crossing must be straight.  The rail then forms a natural curve from the heel to the crossing.  This is then fixed down.  Next comes the curved closure rail which is gauged off the curved stock rail.

gauging the curved stock rail gauging the curved closure rail

The turnout is basically complete at this point, apart from the point blades and check rails which will be added later.  It’s just then a matter of gauging the rest of the tangent track off the stock rails and crossing vee.

 

The centre road was laid all the way to the other end of the UP yard, where I have laid two and a half turnouts at this stage.  Each of the remaining roads towards the wall will be laid, then I will start on the ones towards the outer edge of the benchwork.  After the UP yard is complete, the process is repeated for the DOWN yard around the corner.

LH end of UP yard RH end of UP yard

After this centre road was down, I made some jigs to set the distance of the next road from this centre road.  These were made from some square brass channel that was a neat fit over the head of the code 70 rail and some larger C channel as the spacers.

road spacing jig jigs in position

Once the first rail of the next road is down, the second rail can be gauged from it using the normal gauges.  I can lay rail this way reasonably quickly.

gauging the second rail

The black triangular gauges you can see were obtained from DD Wheelwrights in the Netherlands.  The orange roller gauges are from Railway Engineering in the US.

I hope this has been of some assistance to those who wish to handlay their track.  The principles are the same whether you are modelling P87 or other standards.

 

Cheers for now.

The first spike is driven …

…well, the first solder joint made anyway!

Hi all,

Yesterday, with help from Andrew, I commenced laying the storage yard trackwork.  In the time since the last post, I have drawn in track centrelines and have been gluing down PCB sleepers in preparation for rail.  I also assembled two etched frog kits from Proto87 Stores.  More on these later.

After the centrelines were drawn in, paper templates of NSWGR 1:6 turnouts were taped down in position.  There are a total of 32 turnouts in the storage yards, sixteen for each UP and DOWN yards, eight at each end.  After carefully setting the first eight out for the left hand end of the UP yard, I began gluing down the PCB sleepers.  These had been cut by myself from large sheets of 1mm PCB into strips about 200mm long by 3mm wide.  These strips were then cut into short lengths approximately 31mm long.  The first batch produced about 400 sleepers out of a 300 x 200mm sheet.  I commenced gluing these down with PVA glue using a jig that I built from brass.

sleeper laying jig in position with PCB sleepers ready to go sleepers in place in the jig sleepers in place with jig removed

This jig enables ten sleepers to be laid at a time, equally spaced at 30mm intervals.

On the first two turnouts that lead into the yard (both on the centre road), I determined where PCB sleepers would be required here as well.  Using a sharp scalpel, I cut out the sections of the template where the PCB sleepers would go, cut these to length, then glued them down.

paper templates and sleepers in position

Since I wanted to lay the centre road first, these first two turnouts determined where and how the first sections of rail were laid.  I won’t go into all the nitty gritty of building turnouts, as there have been numerous articles published on the subject.  I had decided to build the turnouts in situ because it made it easier to align them all in the yard ‘ladder’, as well as being able to use full lengths of rail rather than building them on the workbench then fitting them in place and then connecting them with many short lengths of rail.  This also minimises the number of joins in the rail.

 

the first section of rail is soldered down

The picture above shows me making the first soldered joint.  Note the etched frog assembly has not been soldered in place yet.  It doesn’t get fixed down until the straight stock rail on the right hand side is fixed in placed, then the frog is gauged off that rail.

 

one turnout partially complete

The picture above shows the second turnout partially complete.  Both straight and curved stock and closure rails are in place as well as the frog.  The point blades will be fitted later.

So, over the next few weeks, there will be more of the same happening until these first eight turnouts are complete, less point blades, and the rest of the tangent track in each UP road laid close to the end of the UP yard where another eight turnouts will be built.

Here is a drawing showing the final arrangement of the storage yards.

storage yards final arrangement

Cheers for now.

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