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!