Hand laid turnoutsOne of the Druthers (Reference the G's & D's Blog Post) I talk about in creating my model railroad is trying to hand lay all of my track. This means even the turnouts ("Switches" for non-model railroaders). I knew making the turnouts was going to be a challenge. I have never done this before. I wasn't sure how to do it. And I didn't know if I could do it or not. So what do you do when you don't know the answer to something...use the "Google Machine." I found videos, blogs and even entire websites dedicated to making hand laid turnouts. As I got into the research there appeared to be one sound, efficient and economical way to hand lay turnouts...Use Fast Tracks!
Using Fast Tracks Tools & Jigs
The tools and jigs are very robust. They are made of some good stuff. The instructions and tools are very easy to use. With a little time and persistence I made the guard rails, the frog points, stock rails, and the switch points. It should be noted that knowing the anatomy of the turnout is very important when using the Fast Tracks jigs and tools. The NMRA has nice presentation going over the ins and outs of what a turnout consists of. Click the the following link to view the presentation: Engineering Analysis and Geometric Design of Model Railroad Turnouts
Here is a picture of the tools
Fast Tracks has a full list of tutorials on their website and detailed explanations of their tools and processes. When I built my first turnout I had the Fast Tracks videos queued right up on the laptop which was sitting right next to me on the work bench. As I constructed the turnout I had the video playing at the same time so I could reference and mimic the process they suggested to get the optimal results.
My First Attempt
Here's a picture of my first turnout. I didn't put the gaps in for the frog I do this later after its painted. I had to perform surgery on this turnout to cut down on the stock rails some more. My original attempt I cut the foot of the stock rails using a bench vise. The switch points weren't completely closing properly. I ordered the Stock Aid tool from fast tracks. Using the tool I got the stock rails cut properly and the switch points closed perfectly. Now it was time to paint.
I used the same camouflage paint that I painted the rails with.
|First Attempt at a turnout.|
That's pretty much it for this post. Next time we'll look at what I got for my birthday! And the first locomotive on the Mascoutin Valley. EMD GP7 #217!
Till Next time keep 'er in notch 8.