To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Part 4B Turnout in Street – Soldering Point/Mate Castings to Street Ties & Tools to Help

Assembling the Point and Mate castings and 2 copper clad ties together was done on a flat wooden or other soldering surface. I am calling the copper clad ties "street ties". The Point/Mate castings with soldered street ties assembly will be mounted on the layout later.

A square was used to position the 2 Point and Mate castings on the 2 street ties. Then to hold the 2 castings on the 2 street ties, a weight was placed on top of the castings to prevent any movement. Carefully check the gauge during this process. Remember I’m using the Right-O-Way castings.

After some careful checking, the 2 castings were found to be square with one another. This means the ends of the base of the castings are the same length and have matching details in the correct corresponding locations. It also means the ends of the pieces of rail extending from the castings are the same length. Now the parts are soldered together at the corners.
The red arrows point to the soldering locations. This photo was one of the "engineering" photos I took. I forgot to take any assembly/soldering photos.  The rail and brass ties on the right are explained below.

BTW - If the pieces of rail extending from the castings are NOT the same length, stop to find out why. If needed replace the "bad" casting or repair it.

While working on the Point/Mate castings an idea of a tool to hold the castings in gauge came to mind. This Post will cover 2 different tools to help with the building and installation of track on my modules.

The 1st of the two are a tool made from pieces of brass for the ties and code 125 rail. The brass pieces are the same dimensions as the “ties” being used for the street trackage. The length of the rail doesn’t matter as long as the rail can be squarely soldered to the pieces of brass and in gauge!

These gauge tools can be used to hold the Point/Mate castings in gauge while you are making the castings and street “ties” square. Even though you have used a tool like this, still check the assembly for gauge using an NMRA track gauge!!

The red circle is around the gauge tools mentioned above. The blue circle is talked about below.

The other tool is to help with the track at the end of the module. The track at the end of a module must be able to connect with the track of another module. Check the EPTC module standards if you have any questions about this. My "end of module track tool" is made up of code 125 rail and brass pieces found in my left over brass bin.
This is the end of module track tool in action. The long piece of brass is made from a 3/16” “H” section about 8-1/4” long. It can be made from any brass shape just as long as it will not bend!

What you may be unable to tell is, the above track tool is attached on the center of track line. Two brass tabs were added to the "H" section so the tool can be screwed in place on the layout. As can be seen in the photo the lines drawn in as to where the rail is to be located were not accurately drawn. Always use NMRA track gauges and measure everything 2 to 3 times.

The object of the tool is to have the rails at each end of the module in exactly the same location! With this tool the rails will end in exactly the same location, square with one another.

In the next Post the Point/Mate castings will be installed on the layout.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Part 4A Turnout in Street (Pavement)

Turnout in Street (Pavement)

If you remember, the Posts for the end Loop module containing the street trackage are out of sequence. A Post on drawing the track plan for this module on top of should have been 1st.

In the prior Post a photo of the desk lamp used by me was taken just before the Post was published. The track work for the loop of track for this end module was completed as shown in the photo.

As you'll discover, the turnouts must be located before any other track work is done. Also, I just as excited and nervous as you are to see what happens.
This is not nearly as difficult as you may think it is. Take a deep breath and start to work!

In the US for O scale there’s 2 sources of the Point/Mate part of the turnout. The 1st source is Right-O-Way (ROW) products which was originally owned by Lou Cross. Upon Lou’s death Jay Criswell, 2286 Hampton Way, Clovis CA 93611-6047, has taken over the product line.

I’ve talked to Jay and found out besides being the new owner of ROW, he is one of the executors of Lou’s estate. He has lots of work to do with both the estate and ROW. He is selling ROW products if you contact him.

The ROW Point /Mate for street trackage works with almost all O scale wheel sets from the old original 0172” down to the 0.135”flange. The 0.115 flange of fine scale may be a problem. This set of points is designed for a 15” radius curve if my memory serves correctly. It will accommodate both smaller and wider curves.

This is the Right-O-Way Point/Mate for street track. This is an older product received from Lou Cross several years ago. The price is not up to date. The instructions on the left tell how to install the point.

The Point/Mate available from ProtoCraft, 18498 Half Moon Street, Unit 203, Somona CA 95476-4835 is intended for fine scale applications. The point and mate will match the profile of Clouser rail. The flangeway is not deep enough for most O scale application outside of fine scale.

ProtoCraft has a number of unique items. Be sure to look as his decal section. From what I can tell he’s a one man operation. He’s away from the shop during O scale meets both fine scale and regular.

The ProtoCraft Point/Mate for street track were ordered as a pair. The price on the package insert/instructions is for one Point/Mate. The instructions are very complete.

Outside of the USA, Greg King in Australia has a Point/Mate for street trackage. He has a slightly different way to operate the point. His price seems to be slightly lower than here in the States. If anyone wants to contact him feel free to contact me via email.

This is how the Point/Mate arrived from Greg King. The 2 castings are soldered to the ties. The additional brass in the center are attached to the point. Moving the brass lever will move the point.

Back to the Point/Mate castings available here. Before starting to install the point and mate castings, the pieces of rail which stick out from the castings and are intended for ease of installation need to be inspected. They may be out of alignment, left to right or up and down. A good sturdy pair of pliers and/or a small vise may be necessary to straight out the rail. This inspection and correction is important to be done now since it may be impossible to do later!

Next carefully follow the instructions which come with the castings regarding the installation of the switch point. There’s 3 ways to deal with the operation of the single point:
1.    Power the point with a switch motor, cable or lever of your choice under the layout,
2.    Spring power the point with a “weak” spring under the layout, and
3.    Finger nail power the point.

If a street turnout is located in a remote or hard to get to location, the point will have to e operated by either an electric switch motor, some type of cable or lever system, or a spring. Almost any available switch motor can be hooked up. For a cable and/or lever systems you'll have to read about them in older hobby magazines.

The “weak” spring only needs to be able to snap the point back into place. If a stronger spring is used light models going wrong way through the switch may derail. Be sure to institute the rule of not stopping and reversing direction over a spring switch!

The “finger nail” operated point is interesting. It mimics the prototype operation of the operator of the streetcar using a switch iron to manually move the point to the desired route.

On to the installation – the 2 castings must be soldered onto suitable ties. Clover House, PO Box 215, Veradale WA 99037-0215 has copper clad (both sides) of electrical board cut into 2 sizes (plus a small sheet) suitable for in-the-street track.

The above photo shows the ROW Point/Mate casting ready to be installed on the layout. The rod to move the point has been installed. The 2 copper-clad street ties have been installed. To help gauge the rail on the castings, 2 "tools" made from code 125 rail and brass strips can be seen on the left and right of the castings.

[The addresses for ROW, ProtoCraft, and Clovis House were included in this post. Each has their own web site and often a phone number is listed. You can look these up yourselves.]
We'll look more into the installation of the Point/Mate in the next Post.

Working on the Street Track End Loop Module - Part 3 Curved Track

Curved Track

Just as a reminder, the reader should be reading or at least looking at how to lay track on YouTube. Also, there are excellent articles on street trackage written by Bill Clouser and John T. Derr in the booklet "Traction Guidebook for Model Railroaders" published by Kalmbach Books in 1974.

Three more comments before getting into the curved track. I like a lot of light on the things being worked on. To produce more light on the area being worked on a small desk lamp is used. These come either with an Edison base for an average size screw in bulb or a fluorescent bulb. Chose the one you like best.
My desk lamp on top of the layout.

When using the wooden clothespins to hold work (rails) being soldered, there’s always a chance the wood will start to char. The charring may leave undesirable substances on your work. Always clean this off! It can interfere with glues, paint, etc. If the jaws of a wooden clothespin become too charred toss the clothespin out.

Next, when soldering rail or whatever to the copper clad board being used for street ties be careful not to heat these too much. The copper will come off the board! The gauge of the track may be in question.

Street railways used a different girder rail for curves. This girder rail had a higher back flange for the back of the wheel to rub against. The back flange was higher than the paving and often stuck out of the top of the street. Driving an auto or truck over this rail was difficult but not impossible. I do not know if Clouser had an O scale girder rail for curves. 

To mimic the higher back lip of curved girder rail many modelers have used a 0.125” “L” shaped piece of brass soldered to the back of both of the rails involved in the curve. The “L” shape can be hard to bend so the base of the “L” had to be cut or ground out about every 1/8”

I have a surplus supply of 45 year old code 125 rail having a wider head than currently supplied code 125 rail. Therefore, this rail was used on my layout as the running rail in curves. New code 125 rail with a narrower head was used as the interior lip of the flange.

To properly gauge the new code 125 rail being used as the lip or guard rail the code 70 spikes from my track building supplies were 1st inserted on the inside of the running rail. Because the track in mounted on plywood, holes had to be drilled for the insertion of the spikes. The drill was just a few thousands of an inch smaller than the diameter of the spikes. Insertion of the spikes required a pair of pliers. The spikes were spaced about an inch apart.
The red arrow points to a rail joiner. These were installed only in the running rail, never the guard rail. The black heads of the code 70 spikes can be seen. The weight holds down all the rails flat. Solder can be seen on both sides of the running and guard rails.

Using code 125 rail with the 2 different size heads can be seen in the photo above. It looks different, perhaps not like girder rail for curved track but non-the-less not like the girder rail for straight track used in other parts of the layout!

Even with using the code 70 spikes to provide the proper side flangeway, still use an MNRA track gauge to both gauge the running rail but also the size of the flangeway.

Before going further allow me to introduce you to the Precision Scale (PSC) 3-point code 125, O scale track gauge. Currently these are $4.00 each. These were 1st supplied by Kemtron 50-60 years ago. These are a lost wax casting. For this reason, as with any casting, there may be manufacturing irregularities. When 1st removed from the package check the track gauge!
Do not cut off the small sprue on the single rail end of the gauge until you have completed all work on the gauge. This way you'll know you have completed the gauge!

PSC includes a metric screw. I have nothing against metric screws but I decided to drill and tap the mount for the coupler for a 1-72 screw.

If you have 2 of the PSC gauges it’s easy to lay both straight and curves track. For the straight track the gauges are placed on the rails with one gauge facing one direction while the other is placed on the rails facing the other direction. For curved track both gauges should face with the 2 areas to hold the rail on the outside of the curve. This will expand the rail a little for the curve.

Since the gauge is made of brass it's easy to modify the gauge for other size rail. If you do modify the gauge be sure to adequately make it!


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Working on the Street Track End Loop Module - Part 2 Straight Track

Straight Track

EDITOR'S NOTE - The laying of track for the in the street and paved area for the loop module will be treated as different topics for each Post. They are not in the order in which the actual track was laid. Instead they in the order in which questions have been asked. To date this comes to:
Part 2 Straight Track,
Part 3 Curved (Loop) Track,
Part 4 The 2 Turnouts, and
Part 5 The Curved Crossing.
There may be more as the individual Post are written. Here's Part 2.

Street railways used a girder rail intended for straight track. Many years ago Bill Clouser had prototype O scale rail produced for straight track. The problem is this rail is hard to find today. Plus this O scale girder rail was too much like the porotype in dimensions. The flangeway was too shallow for most O scale trolley models having deeper flanges. Some fellows have ground the flangeway deeper.

Clouser girder rail is best left for Proto 48 (Fine Scale) usage. If you are interested in finding O scale girder rail you might try Protocraft . Although they do not currently show it in their online catalogue.

Code 125 nickel silver rail was used for my layout’s street trackage. Instead of the Clouser girder rail, after the 2 turnouts plus the curved crossing were built and tested, I soldered a piece of code 100 nickel silver rail on its side to the inside of the code 125 rail.

The head of the code 100 rail was tinned 1st. Then the code 100 rail was soldered in place using small amounts of flux and solder. Clamps made from wooden clothes pins work out well. Before the clamping is done 1st reverse the blades of the clamps as per the photos.

From experience I’ve discovered the wooden clothes pins come in 2 sizes. Either size works well. The position of the spring in your new wooden clamps will give you either a light or heavy clamping. You might find it advisable to have both light and heavy clamping available for your work.

These are the  2 sizes of clothes pins I was able to purchase over the years. Either size works out well. Note that the longer clothes pin will allow you to grip the object further from the edge.

This photo shows the before (left), during (center) and final form of the pin after the blades are reversed.
Green = the gripping area away from edge of blade
Red = the 2 clothes pin blades
Blue = gripping area after blades reversed
Pink = location of spring for moderate pressure on tips of blades
Orange = location of spring for tighter pressure on tips of blades

After soldering check to see if the soldering worked. Try to move the code 100 rail to the side. Re-solder any areas where the original work didn’t solder.

A small section of the straight girder rail track being soldered. A small piece of code 100 rail is about to be soldered in place. Part of a wooden clamp can be seen on the left.

The code 125 rail was soldered on copper clad electrical board strips from Clover House. A short  #2 round head screw holds the copper clad strips in place.

To clean-up the flangeway a hacksaw blade with a wide knerf was used. Move the hacksaw blade back and forth until the solder is removed. A file will be needed only for areas where other rail needs to be cleared out of the flangeway.


Friday, October 28, 2016

100,000 Pageviews of the Posts on This Blog

Another milestone has been reached. Individuals have viewed a Post in this Blog 100,000 times. This is listed as "Total Passengers"  on the bottom right of the page.

Thank you for viewing my Blog! The USA accounts for the most number of viewers. Canada accounts for the 2nd most number of viewers over the last several months. A special thank you goes to my Canadian viewers.

Some of you have looked up Samuel Insull, my name, or another term which has appeared in a title or Post. You may have heard about me and were interested in seeing what was being written. Many of you are friends who are returning.

Others were perhaps doing research on Samuel Insull and ran across my Blog. My wish is you found the material interesting and helpful.

For whatever reason you read my Blog, my wish is you will continue to read the Posts.  As the saying goes, once a teacher always a teacher. My entire life has been devoted to teaching in some form or another from teaching my fellow high school machine shop students the math in the course, fellow members of our Sea Scout Ship the information needed to raise in rank, the new employee orientation where I worked, or to finally teaching high school chemistry.

We need to get more individuals interested in traction and trolleys from the past as well as the current. We also need to get more individuals interested in O scale trolleys as a hobby. Perhaps this Blog will do that.

If you have been coming back to this Blog for the various Posts, please include yourself as a "Follower" of this Blog. It's easy to do. Thank you.

Thanks for looking up things and following my Blog!


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Working on the Street Track End Loop Module - Part 1

After writing at least 4 of the subtopics for this Post, a combination of the editor used for writing the Post for the Blog plus my new laptop computer equaled all the material being erased! Baa humbug!!!

That event along with the "town finishing work" required to finish the street track work have caused me to rethink what I do to prepare the Post for publishing. When you start to work on track to be in a street, you have to have a well thought plan as to how to finish the street(s) with curbs, buildings and the balance to the town.

When compared to open track, the street track is more complex. With open track the r-o-w can be painted "track color" with the balance of the area painted green. As you will see the street track requires you to have a plan as to what to do from the beginning.

I'm sitting here looking at the fire station which had to be built to finish the town. Earlier today 3 cans of paint - a concrete color, a mortar color for the brick finish of the fire station, and a mint, pastel green for the interior of the fire station had to be obtained just to give you an idea as to how things go.

Now to start putting all the tools away which were required to get a far as I have.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 7

Before getting into the material for this Post, I attended the 2016 National O Scale Meet held in Indianapolis this year. My primary reason for attending was to help a friend sell items. The vendor in back of us sold hand made turnouts. His beautiful products are made up of rail and the associated castings (frog, guard rails, etc.) glued to the ties. The ties are glued onto a mounting board of the buyers choice. The buyer of his ready to use products can cut a hole in the layout and drop his product in place. The vendor said the buyer could add spikes if the buyer wanted to.

The reason for bringing this up is, I serious doubt the work being done on the 2 end loops could be done with just glue and no spikes. There's too much soldering involved in the end loops. The heat from the soldering would soften the glue and cause failure of the glue to adhere properly.

Back to the end loops! This is more about recommendations and/or requirements of track design and engineering. As part of the turnout construction include all the wing rails and guard rails. For the turnouts the guard rails do not have to be very long.

The soon to be completed, as far as the rail part goes, open track end loop module.

Since the loop is built to a tight radius, the rail on the inside of the loop must have a guard rail all along the curve. In photos of the loop you'll notice the inside guard rail stops where the loop reverses direction. A guard rail then starts on the inside of the other circle.

Hope you are able to see the pencil line connecting the 2 centers of the curves. This is where the curves change direction.

A chose up of where the curves change direction. Note how the ends of the guard rails are treated, bending them into the center of the track.

When spiking down the interior rail, on the side of the rail where the guard rail is to be installed, the code 70 spikes were used. This was done because the code 70 spikes with a 0.025" diameter proved to be excellent spacers between the 2 rails. The NMRA track gauge was used to gauge the gap between the 2 rails.

Now is the time to break out as many different trail trucks you have. Pick the ones with the worse wheel sets plus the longest and shortest wheel bases. Also try to pick large and small diameter wheels. Check each wheel set for being in gauge!!!!

If there are no problems, proceed checking the track with powered models. If there are problems, with a felt tip pen mark the ties where the wheels of the truck are when the problem happens. Fix any problems.

Once any problems are fixed, if you know how the layout is to be wired and/or where the electrical gaps in the rail will be, install any wire drops now. I prefer the outside of the rail where the wire is soldered to the base of the rail using adequate size wire. Clean up the track for the painting.

The track is made up of both natural wood ties with rail install on them and premade flex track. All of the rail is a silver, metallic color. I never use weathered rail (Unless the rail is being reused and already has been painted.) or track to make a layout. Weathered rail is harder to solder plus it's more expensive. After all the track work is done, the rail, ties and roadbed are painted a dark brown.

On my prior layout and on the new layout house paint was and will be used. It's brushed on with a disposable brush.  The top of the rail is cleaned afterward before the paint completely sets. The paint and colors used were/are:

10+ years ago on my old layout - Home Depot Behr Interior Flat "Gun Flint" #3B39-8?

Now, 2016, ACE Hardware Interior Flat "Momentous Occasion" #VR096A
The paint in a dark chocolate brown is applied to the track and the balance of the top of the module using a 1" disposable brush. The water miscible house paint is brushed over the track, cork roadbed, and the top of the module for about 1" from the track. 

The dark chocolate brown color was picked when color chips from Home Depot were placed on the Burlington Northern tracks in Berwyn, IL near East Ave. Granted not every tie is the same color and the side of the rail may be a lighter color. The lighter rust/brown color was air brushed afterwards on the side of the rails. The over spray gave the tie next to the rail the correct effect. Remember there is a art component to this hobby. 

Start painting the turnouts, then do the balance of the track. Work slowly looking from one direction down the track and then the other direction. Get both sides of the ties. Try to not get the paint on any part of the track where there is to be electrical contact.

Paint can get on the top of the rail but wipe it off. The wiping off does not have to be too well done as the top of the rail will be cleaned later for best electrical contact.

I don't want to get into paint chemistry other than to say as the paint is brushed it should become thinner or more watery. This is a unique property of the paint. If you find the paint is too thick to start out with, you should be able to add up to 5% by volume of distilled water to the can of paint. Over the past 50+ years water miscible paints have become better paints.

Within a short time the paint will feel dry to the touch. The exterior of the paint has formed a skin over itself. However, the paint inside the shell is still wet and requires more time to fully dry. Allow the paint to dry for up to 5-7 days. When the paint is completely dry, any flex track or loose ties will be held in place. The paint acts as a "glue".

After the 5-7 days the balance of the top of the module can be painted a grass green if you plan on planting grass on the module. It does not matter too much about this painting. Different materials to make grass, a gravel walkway, weeds, flowers, fences, etc. will be added later.

After the paint has thoroughly dried install the turnout points and the ground throws. Once the ground throws are installed recheck the track gauge of the turnouts. Correct any problems now. If necessary don't be afraid to rip up any track work and relay the rail. It's far easier to correct track work problems now than later.

Next is the street end loop module. Cheers,

Monday, October 10, 2016

Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 6

First on the agenda is the "brown" paint you may have noticed in the 2nd to the last photo in the prior Post.  

After the ties for the turnout are in place but before any rail work is done, the 2 longer ties where the mechanism to operate the turnout is connected, are painted with the same paint as the balance of the track will be painted. It's hard to paint in this area after the rails and mechanism is installed. More about the paint and painting when the balance of the rail and roadbed is painted.

Next - Yes, a turnout and a crossing with curved frogs are to be built. Extremely important items to point out are the Golden Rules of turnout and crossing/track scratch building -

Whenever building a turnout or a crossing with a curve through the turnout frog or the rail crossing, always used a continuous curved piece of curved rail in building them. For the straight track, individual pieces of straight rail are cut to fit in where needed.

Also, do not have any rail joints with connectors in either the curved or straight track. If the piece of rail being used is too short, replace it with a longer piece of rail!

With this thought in mind, the next piece of rail to put into place is the other curved piece of rail. This piece of rail ends with a tapered piece of rail called a point. My piece of rail will end with a rail connector. The curved point will be fitted into the rail connector later.

A reason for not using the Old Pullman prebuilt #3 frog turnout is, it is to be used to measure parts of the prebuilt turnout. The length of the points can be measured and copied which is what I did.

As work was being done installing the rail to make the curved track, run a non-powered car or at least a single truck over the track and around the curve(s). Correct any problems before proceeding further. The most common problem is the gauge of the track and any guard rails is too wide or too narrow.

Do not use or operate any models under power until all the soldering flux as well as the rail is cleaned. Soldering flux will cause the rusting of ferrous and chemical oxidation of non-ferrous metals. The chemicals in the flux will expedite problems with your models.

After the curved track is done now install the straight track up to both sides of the crossing. Install straight up to the far side of the turnout.

Install the 2 pieces of straight rail between the curved rails of the crossing. The curved rails can be cut just a little bit (head only) to make the frogs. I used a small diameter cut off wheel for this operating at a low rpm.

The guard rails are installed one at a time. Pre-curved rail with the same radius must be used for the curved guard rail.

Remember, you're suppose to be making the turnout from the instructions found on YouTube. If the web instructions don't cover a curved frog, make the frog just like the track work for the curved crossing.

When the guard rails are in place cut the rails deeper as required per NMRA Standards. Besides the small cut off wheel in a Dremel Tool a broken hacksaw blade can be used. The knerf of the blade works out well to make a wide cut. The blade can be slow but will not cut into the rail a fast as to damage your work. I have permanently curved pieces of hacksaw blades for this use.

Place the turnout points in place but do not finish installing them. Check the rails of the turnouts to see if any further adjustments are required, Make corrections now. Remove the points and store them.

You'll have to wait for the next Post to find out the color of paint used.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 5

"Why O' Why?" am I going through this writing of turnout making? There are the older Atlas turnouts made 20+ years ago. These turnouts are easy to install. They have a 24" radius curve. BTW-It's easier to spiral inward than outward on curves especially involving turnouts.

My goal is to encourage those of you who don't desire to use Atlas turnouts or can't get them. One con about using the Atlas turnouts is the mechanism sticks out the side of them. The "real" prototype mechanisms like Caboose Industries ground turnouts look better and work just as well as the Atlas with the exception of the frog wiring for 2-rail. However, with trolleys and all wheels grounded there are no problems.

The annual Hoosier Traction Meet was held on the 1st weekend of this month, September. The annual Indianapolis O Scale Meet is usually on the 3rd weekend of September. This year, 2016, the Indie Meet is also the National O Scale Meet. If you have problems obtaining tools and parts these are the Meets to attend. There is also the annual March O Scale Meet held usually the weekend of St Patrick's Day, March 17, at a hotel about 2-3 miles from where I live.

These are some items required if you intend to lay your own track and turnouts.

Rail Bender
Before laying any rail, a rail curve maker commonly called a rail bender is needed. Unfortunately I'm unaware of any source of an O scale rail bender. If you do not have one you'll have to look for one to purchase or borrow from a friend.

Placing a curve in rail to be used in curves is helpful. The bender has 2 holes to mount it with screws on something solid. I used the side of a module on which to mount my bender. Allow sufficient room to move the rail back and forth!
The bolt sticking out of the side is to be able to move the center wheel in and out to vary the amount of bend in the rail. The back of the plate has nuts or something to  hold the wheels in place. The bender has to be installed with washers between the bottom of the plate and the top of the material on which the plate is mounted.

The 3 wheels on the bender have groves milled into them to hold the base of the rail, the center web of the rail, and the rail head. The bender seem to hold almost any size rail from code 100 to 148 without any problem. Although it looks like the wheels can be changed. All of my work has been with code 100 to 148.

Try to get the bend as close to the actual radius required. It's easy to change the radius as the rail is spiked into place. But, once a piece of rail which is not the correct radius has been spiked in place; it might move out of location just a little bit.

In the photos notice the short length of rail (about 1" or so) from the center wheel to the outside wheel. This 1" of rail does not get bent as needed. There's a slight kink in the bent rail where the center wheel was located. The kink is hard to see. I started marking the amount of rail to be cut off while the rail was in the bender.

The red arrow is the mark mentioned above. The rail in the blue ellipse is the amount to cut off after the bending is completed.

This is a photo showing the kink in the rail from the rail bender. The last portion of the rail has not been cut off. My finger is only holding the rail down, next to the spiked down rail of the curve. My finger is not making the kink. The red arrow points to where the kink is and the rail to be cut off.

Spikes are required to attach the rail to the ties. I use a flat blade pliers to install the spikes. Special pliers are available but I don't like them. I have found the rail can be spiked on every other rail. Sometimes additional spikes are required at special places.

Over the years my collection of track spikes has increase. This is what was found in my stock -
  • Micro Spikes by Micro Engineering size 0.015" diameter x 5/32" length Too small for O scale. Small head makes then applicable where 4 spikes are definitely required for cosmetic reasons. They would have to be glued in place.
  • "HO" Gauge Spikes by All-Nation Hobby Shop size 0.028" diameter x 1/4" length Unfortunately All-Nation is no longer in business. While the diameter of these spikes are great, the length is a little too short for O scale. Nice to fill-in on stable track where more spikes are required to hold the rail.
  • "O" Gauge Spikes by All-Nation Hobby Shop size 0.028" diameter x 7/16 length 7/16" is just short of 1/2". Same info about All-Nation. The diameter of these spikes is great. The length if the spike may be too long for most applications. The length of the head of the spike may be longer than the base of the rail. When used the spike may force the rail out of alignment! They've been used when rail has to be forced into position and held in place. It's best to drill a pilot hole for these.
  • Old Pullman Spikes by Old Pullman size 0.035" diameter x 5/16" length Unfortunately Old Pullman is no longer in business. These spikes do show up for sale at O scale meets. These are perfect spikes to use. Most of the time they can be just pushed into the tie to hold the rail. The spike must be pushed in correctly of else the tie may split. Sometimes a pilot hole has to be drilled.
  • Code 70 Spikes by Unknown Manufacturer size 0.025" diameter x 11/32" length I have absolutely no idea where these spikes were obtained. They are great but easy to bend when being pushed into the tie and roadbed. They have a great application in making open roadbed track. This will be explained when this comes up. 
Whenever spikes are being used a battery operated Demel Tool is kept handy with a # 74 drill (0.0225" diameter) in the chuck to make a pilot hole if required.

Perhaps now is the time to mention the new cordless drill available from Dremel. It's their model 8050 Micro/Model:8050  This is a light weight drill for as you may guess, light weight applications like drilling small holes. What's great about this drill is the lack of a cord. At the end of your work session place the drill back into it's holder/battery recharger.

Rail Laying
To start laying rail, for the traffic facing turnout a small section of flextrack was installed where the cork roadbed was started. This straight flextrack acted as a "gauge" of where the rail was to be laid for the start of the turnout.

NOTE - Each end module has 2 turnouts. If you'll recall it's been more than 10 years since I've scratch built a turnout. The building of the 1st turnout on the module was not as satisfactory as I had wanted. The 2nd turnout on this module turned out better. Therefore only the building of the 2nd turnout on the module will be shown.

In building a turnout install each piece of rail as recommended in the many YouTube videos on turnout building. After the straight stock rail was installed, the curved stock rail was installed. The curved stock rail was longer than required. This will be explained later. Work was stopped on this turnout.

Attention is now given to the trailing turnout and the crossing next to it. Install pieces of flextrack on both sides of this turnout to act as "gauges" for the location of the turnout rails. 
The flextrack is on the right of the turnout. Rail joiners are installed at the end of the rail to hold the stock rails of the turnout in place. You may notice the small brads (nails with small heads) holding the flextrack. Holes have to be drilled in the plastic ties for the brads.

Install the straight stock rail. Then install the curved stock rail using a 36" long piece of rail (with the ends cut off from the bending process). This rail when installed will be part of the curved crossing rail. Continue to spike this piece of rail in place using your trammel as a guide. Add another piece of curved rail to this one and spike it in place. This interior curved rail is spiked to the location where the curve reverses.
Green Arrow = Hole for the 14" curve through which the rail is viewed.
Blue Ellipse = Spike pliers I don't like; they lock the spike in to hold it.
Red Ellipse = the pliers I like to drive spikes.
Dark Blue Ellipse = Code 70 and Old Pullman spikes.
Pink Ellipse = NMRA track gauges always ready to be used.
Dark Lime Ellipse = Center of trammel held at correct height as rail head.
Important Note: The curved rail goes all the way through the curved crossing as 1 piece of rail!

The point of where the curve reverses is determined by drawing a line between the 2 centers of the curves. The line drawn between the 2 center points may be on an angle but don't worry.
The pencil line can be seen on both sides of the cork roadbed. Also note the slight "S" shape of the roadbed.

The next piece of rail to install is the curved piece which will be part of the frog. The next Post will start off with installation.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 4

Once all the cork work is completed for a module, photocopies of the turnouts to be installed or scratch-built were glued over the cork.
An actual premade turnout was placed on my printer/photocopier. An original photocopy was made. On the original photocopy the location of ties was marked and darkened. Other notable landmarks were added. Notice the arrows where the center point of the track is located. Then copies of the original photocopy were made to glue to the roadbed.

The photocopy is glued onto the cork using the center point locations on the center line of the cork. A piece of plain white paper was glued where the crossing will be installed. This was done to mark the center locations of the crossing plus the location of any rail. The green ellipse is the location of the ground throw for the turnout. Read the engineering and operation material at the bottom of this Post.

The premade #3 frog turnout was not used on the layout. Instead it is used as a sample of the parts to be made. Masurements can be obtained from the premade turnout.

Now actual wooden ties can be glued in place. To match the plastic ties found on Micro Engineering's code 125 flextrack,  7" x 9" x 9'0"  prototype O scale wooden ties available from Right-O-Way (R-O-W) were used. The center point of a bunch of wooden ties was marked in pencil. Then using wood glue the ties are attached to the cork road bed. A heavy weight was placed on the ties until they dried.

The weight weighs about 1 lb. It's a cut-off from a piece of round steel. My son had painted it black. The steel rule helps to spread out the weight. Almost anything cam be used for a weight. As you may have guessed, not too many ties were glued down at a time.

An irregular pattern to how the ties were laid can be seen. Ties may have been laid by different crews at different times. Who knows?

Once all the required ties are glued in place, the location of the rails are penciled in. The location of the rail is just to get an idea as to where the rail will be when finished. BTW - When the ties are glued in no specified pattern is followed. Although some attention is paid to the center line on the ties and the cork roadbed, some ties may be crooked or toward one side or the other. Remember, the C&U is a late 1940's to early 1950's heavily used streetcar line. They didn't have the track building, replacement, or reconditioning equipment available today.

The ties glued in place include those for the 2 #3 turnouts. R-O-W 7" x 9" x 16'6" switch ties were used. Shorter ties were cut from 16'6" ties. For a #3 turnout this bill of ties was used:
# of Ties      Length in Feet Prototype Measurement
     3                         9'0" (normal length ties)
     2                         9'6"
     2                       10'0"
     1                       10'6"
     1                       11'0"
     1                       11'6"
     1                       12'0"
     1                       13'0"
     1                       13'6"
     1                       14'0"
     1                       15'0"
     1                       15'6"  
     3                       16'6"

The 2 long ties which will hold the ground throw were glued in place 1st. The 2 pieces of wood at the top and bottom are to space the ties. It's important for the rodding from the switch points to the ground throw mechanism be able to move and not rub on the switch ties. The top and bottom pieces of wood will be removed once the glue on the long switch ties dries.

There were some ties which were longer than the ties available from R-O-W. For these basswood 5/32" x 3/16" was used. This happen mainly in the area of the crossing of the west bound mainline.

There's one extremely important item regarding turnouts and track crossings and their frogs. The standard rule of thumb is to have a tie or ties immediately under the point of the frog. This part of the frog takes a terrible beating by the wheels passing over them. The wheels fall into the gap of the frog. Some railways have placed material into the space between the rail and the wings (flange way) to support the flange of the wheel. This aleviates some of the problem. 

This photo has several items to point out.
Red Circle = a short section of premade flextrack to be used to gauge the rails.
Gold Circle = a 3 point track gauge for code 125 rail made by Precision Scale.
Green Circle = NMRA O scale track gauge.
Blue Circle = an old 3 point track gauge made by Walthers about 50+ years ago.
Yellow Boxes = potential locations of turnout points and crossing points.
Dark Lime Box = extremely long ties for ground throw explained below.
Pink Box = a plier used to install spikes. I didn't like it.

The 3-point track gauge for code 125 rail made by Precision Scale Company is hard to find. You would do best by looking this gauge up on the PSC web site for the stock number. Then order 2-3 of them. PSC turn around time is about 2 weeks. My recommendation to order 2 or 3 of them is to cover any which may be lost or misplaced. You'll find you need 2 any way to keep the rail in place and gauge as the rail is spiked down.

The older 3-point track gauge distributed by Walthers was for code 172 rail which had a wider rail head. The code 125 rail slides from side to side in the gauge.

The NMRA gauges are the final inspection tool required to check your work. 

The yellow boxes are the extra ties which were placed where the points of the turnout frog and crossing points may be located.

Before going further some engineering and operation of the return loop is required. The C&U is a heavily used streetcar line. The passenger traffic from the east terminal to the Zoo and back is heavy during the later spring, summer, and early fall. During this time of the year many runs are turned back after the Zoo passengers depart the car and enter the Zoo. Other times of the year cars run from the west border of Chicago, the eastern terminal, to Utopia, the western terminal. During the warmer months of the year only 1 in 3 or 4 cars operate from Chicago to Utopia. The balance of the cars run only to the Zoo and back.

This means during the summer months, the Zoo loop has to be operated by a switchman located at the loop. The 2 turnouts are hand thrown. Caboose Industries ground throws were used. The switchman has to not only control the 2 turnouts, he must keep track of cars coming east from Utopia, and perhaps have "orders" telephoned to him.

For convience both trunout ground throws are located on the same side of the 2-track ROW. One of the turnouts will have longer than normal ties for the ground throw to be installed on. The C&U will construct a wooden walkway for the switchman to walk between the 2 ground throws. To keep the switchman out of the weather (sun shade on a hot day) a wooden shack to include a stool, small stove, and telephone will be constructed when the module is finished.

One other item about the end loop modules - the modules could have been constructed with passing sidings. Passing sidings were not included for 2 reasons. The inclusion of a passing siding would have increased the size of the module. Since I've not constructed any modules before, I think it would have increased the size. The other reason is, it's been about 43-44 years since I've constructed any street track and 12-13 years since constructing any open track. I did not want to make the scratch built track any more conplex than necessary.