Saturday 10 February 2018

My track work

Code 55 to the ice house and code 70 on the ladder. The switch stands add a lot to the scene. Points on this turnout have not been changed out yet.

A little background. When I started this layout I looked at prefabricated turnouts and I just could not come to terms with the price for some 40 turnouts, although it would be easy. I didn't have the courage to hand lay everything because of time and my ability/experience. I like trying new things though and don't mind having to do some work/modeling. I then came across the Central Valley system and liked the price point, difficulty was midway between hand laid and prefabricated which didn't seem too difficult and the ability to have a consistent look with different rail codes. I knew I would be photographing this layout and felt it would look good with the different codes and it does.

All my track work outside of staging is from Central Valley. The main is code 83, the yard is code 70 and the sidings/spurs and engine terminal is code 55. Most the rail is weathered Micro Engineering some had to be weathered by hand. I followed the recommendations by CV. The tie strips (main and branch ) and turnouts were glued down to the painted foam with Weldbond white glue. The ties are then painted and weathered some. At this point the rails get their feeder wires soldered to them.Then I mixed Barge contact cement  with lacquer thinner, this is painted on the bottom of the Micro Engineering rail. Holes are drilled through the layout top for the feeder wires. The rail is then laid in place on the tie strips and is finally glued down by using a touch of lacquer thinner. I also install some ME spikes by drilling a tight fit hole in the tie and putting a little CA on the spike. On a recommendation I did not use rail joiners at all since the rail has to be pre curved to fit the radius of the corner and thus there is no forces applied to the rail except for Charlie’s VH CP 2-10-2 brass Selkirk with no blind drivers that went around the 36" radius curve and peeled off the outside rail as slick as anything. The rails for the turnouts are cut as per instruction and wired and glued down the same as the procedure above. The frogs came from Proto 87 and each one is wired so they are live and the polarity changes when the switch is thrown. Then the final touches of weathering are applied to the rails and ties and it is ready for  ballast. Once the ballast is in place I then go back and weather some more. I mixed dirt and water and paint the dirty water on, add some brake dust where needed and some spills and rust. There are 31 turnouts in the yard and the price for each turnout at the time was C $13 plus my time equals about half the price of Walthers switches. All of these instructions can be found on the Central Valley site. The point throws are all manual as they were in 1959 and will be covered on their own in a different post. When I laid the rail I joined them too close at .01-.02" and as it grew ??? would pop off the rail. These spots have since been gapped larger, the rail does come loose once in a while if it gets caught by a steamer. And I just put it back in place and give it a touch of lacquer thinner and it is glued back down.

The switch stands come with the turnout tie strips or can be purchased separate as part of the detail sprue and look good enough although not CN. They can be made to rotate the target when the turnout is thrown but I gave up on these as they are hard to make work properly. Now if one gets knocked off  by an 0-5-0 or something they are easy to glue back in place with no harm done. I  ordered caboose markers from True Line trains and cut the mounting pin off and drilled a hole in the bottom and mounted them above the target. The targets are from a hand drawing I got from one of the guys on CN Lines list. I cut them out of styrene, painted them and glued them to the stand.
Now... I am in the process of changing the switch points out as the ones that come with the switches do not work very well and have caused problems. If I was to do it again I would follow Joe Fugates poor mans switch article in MRH and all would be good, when using his article you would get better points and frogs.This article came out after all my switches were installed. Go figure. As a side note I have built a couple of switches using Fast Tracks and when I put the Fast Tracks over top my Central valley it is an exact match as far as gauge goes.

Shows the lanterns above the targets 

Code 55 in the foreground 

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