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

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.


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