Construction of a Test Track

Tell us about your layout, where you put it, how you built it, how you operate it.
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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:50 am

Hi Doug,

P4 track building has not proven too difficult for me, so anybody shold be able to do it! It has to be borne in mind that the track shown here was constructed over the course of a year or so, in the form of rail assemblies, then laid onto Tim Horn laser-cut boards. At every stage there have been revisions and re-making of parts that looked as if they might be 'OK', 'fingers crossed'. It was not that any parts actually gave any trouble, but that they might have done, so they went.

Using EM wheels gauged to P4 would work on my track, it just is not consistent enough for that.

All the best,

Colin

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:01 pm

Hi Colin :)

Looks really smooth this time and proves what I have always recommended that if the track is made accurately and care taken in laying then non-compensated wagons should run through without any problems - I do similar tests when building. After all if it runs with non compensated stock -how much better with compensation/springing. Good to see it at this stage. I am sure you must be getting some real satisfaction out of this Colin.

Allan :)

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:50 pm

Thanks Allan.

Your method of proving trackwork with an uncompensated wagon, (12ft w.b.?) seems good. If that runs through without snags, everything should!

Re, the wagons in the video, sprung or compensated suspension would be better than rigid axles, but it seems worth a try because these particular wagons would be very hard to convert due to them representations of the chassis members. (In fact, waiting in the stock boxes, there are dozens of wagons and vans which will have to remain uncompensated for the same reason.)

The featured brake van has an MJT rocking unit, which works well enough for the purpose, because I always introduce some drag on my brake vans. The advised weight for each axle is 25g, but I have managed 20-1g, which works well enough on the test track so far.

With the improving weather, I have been wondering what movement there might be in the rails and woodwork. It all seems stable at the moment. Meanwhile, work continues slowly on the last point formation.

All the best,

Colin

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:24 pm

Hi Colin, :)

off to Scalefour North this weekend with a couple of sample boards and some track construction materials - I notice Howard is going to be there with Minores - it will be good to see it again, if I manage to get a little time off! Fairly unlikely if past form is to go by.

Allan :)

JFS
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby JFS » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:29 pm

Allan Goodwillie wrote:Hi Colin, :)

I notice Howard is going to be there with Minores ...


Who told you that Allan? They did not tell me :D

True, I will be there, but I am demonstrating lever frames locking and all that kind of stuff!

See you there,

Best wishes,

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:21 am

Flat bottom track work on the last pair of points: asssembly using the 'rule of thumb'!

IMG_8845 (2).JPG


Having more nickel silver 0.5 mm strip than was good for me, I have experimented with the method shown in the photo, which involves soldering the rails to lengths of strip instead of small pieces. Here, the common crossing and one check/stock rail and switch assembly are all temporarily soldered together. It does make for ease of alignment of the elements, but is a rather extravagant use of the strip. The assemblies will of course be separated with a piercing saw once lifted from the Templot template.

IMG_8843 (2).JPG


The switches are soldered to two pieces of n/s strip, as with the previous turnouts. Once the rail assemblies are complete, holes will be drilled for droppers - two for each assembly.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Le Corbusier » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:56 am

Thanks for posting Colin ... interesting!
Tim Lee

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:54 pm

Thanks Tim.

While the idea of building onto the template worked fine, using double-sided tape to hold the strips was not so good. The heat from soldering the rails made the adhesive on the tape very tacky. Fortunately, the assemblies were robust enough to withstand the levering required to lift them off the template. As I found out, the White Tack used to hold the rails in position bonds remarkably well to double-sided tape too.

Colin

DougN
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby DougN » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:23 pm

Colin that just proves that you need lots of gauges to build track work!

Do you have any issue with the gauge tightening with the roller gauges on the curves?
Doug
Still not doing enough modelling

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby grovenor-2685 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:00 pm

Roller gauge does not give gauge narrowing since it has a fixed length, you just miss out on the gauge widening you could get from a triangular gauge.
Regards

PS. Its not an issue at this stage of construction anyway, only when he attaches the rails to the timbers.

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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby DougN » Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:47 am

Thanks Keith, I am becoming more careful to allow a little more tolerance on trackwork due to curvature. I first noticed the difference having a bit of fun sticking a Exacto scale point kit together using a little (0.10mm increase) in the curved sections of the build seemed to work well. This was due to a discussion I had with another member here in Melbourne who said he built one but it was under gauge. Hence I triple checked as I was going! :thumb
Doug
Still not doing enough modelling

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Le Corbusier » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:28 am

DougN wrote:Thanks Keith, I am becoming more careful to allow a little more tolerance on trackwork due to curvature. I first noticed the difference having a bit of fun sticking a Exacto scale point kit together using a little (0.10mm increase) in the curved sections of the build seemed to work well. This was due to a discussion I had with another member here in Melbourne who said he built one but it was under gauge. Hence I triple checked as I was going! :thumb


I ended up getting issues of gauge narrowing with the triangular gauges on straight sections and through turnouts when using functional chairs due to the angle of the rail .... the exacto gauges have solved this and I have the +1 and +2 gauges for widening when required.

Has anyone had success with the triangular gauge when using functional chairs?
Tim Lee

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Paul Townsend
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Paul Townsend » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:05 am

Le Corbusier wrote:
Has anyone had success with the triangular gauge when using functional chairs?


Yes but you do need to shorten the outer leg on each of the three pairs. This allows the rail to tilt and the gauge corner is correctly set by the still long inner legs. I won't give a recipe for the amount of shortening required as it varies with supplier. Its easy to find out by trial and success.

This works with the various bullhead rail-sections I have in stock or bought yesterday and I suppose it works for flat=bottom rail too.

This issue needs much more publicity as it can floor beginners.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Le Corbusier » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:24 am

Paul Townsend wrote:Yes but you do need to shorten the outer leg on each of the three pairs. This allows the rail to tilt and the gauge corner is correctly set by the still long inner legs. I won't give a recipe for the amount of shortening required as it varies with supplier. Its easy to find out by trial and success.

This works with the various bullhead rail-sections I have in stock or bought yesterday and I suppose it works for flat=bottom rail too.

This issue needs much more publicity as it can floor beginners.

Thanks Paul .... I can feel some experimentation coming on :thumb
Tim Lee

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:02 pm

Oh dear! I hope the recent pictures did not confuse too many people!

The rail asssemblies are held with four roller gauges in the area around the switch/closure rail joints to ensure the correct alignment of those rails with the stock rails. The gauge can be adjusted for minimal widening when the track is laid. I do possess a triangular gauge, but have never really used it. For gauging the switches and stock rails I have always used the Exactoscale + 0.1 mm gauge along the planing length x 2 on SB switches. At the switch toe and through the common crossing there is no gauge widening. The point work under construction is made with vertically aligned flat bottom rails, so issues with gauges and inclined rails do not arise. The tandem turnout that has features in earlier posts was also constructed with the same method. There are no issues with gauge narrowing - so far!

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby grovenor-2685 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:00 pm

This issue of long legs on triangular gauges has come up before.
The gauges I have, original Studiolith, only hold the head of the rail and work equally well with BH in chairs or not and with FB rail. With BH rail using ply and rivet you do have to watch that you are not tilting the rail the wrong way but so long as you are aware of the possibility its not difficult.
If the legs are so long that they hold the rail foot as well as the head then this will be a problem with functional chairs, but filing down the overlong legs is a simple task. Shortening just the outer legs as Paul suggests would help avoid the rails tilting the wrong way when not using the chairs. For FB, of course the legs need to be clear of the foot so the gauge can sit properly on the railhead.
Regards

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:41 pm

Hi Keith,

The three-point that I have came from the Stores a few years ago. It seems to have tapered grooves which would allow the rail to tilt. It does fit onto FB rail without touching the rail foot, so the gauging issue does not arise.

For my method of point construction, two three-point gauges would be needed instead of four roller gauges, and would probably work just as well.
However, there has been little oportunity to try the three-point gauges on my test track because, apart from the curved roads in turnouts, there is only one curve of any note - and that is in a siding.

All the best,

Colin

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Le Corbusier » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:02 pm

My triangular gauges also came from the stores. They have a certain amount of movement in them and I thought they would work ok. However I found that the track narrowed after removal. It was fine on immediately finishing but coming back to it a little later I found it had narrowed. I experimented a couple or so times with the same result .... hence moving to roller gauges. When I have a spare moment I will try filing down the outer legs and see if this addresses the issue.
Tim Lee

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:55 pm

It occurred to me that my statement re. the Stores' three-point gauge fitting flat bottom rail applied to the discontinued Peco IL115 code 82 rail. I have just checked my stores three-point gauge with Peco code 83 rail and it seems to fit OK.

The code 83 has a slightly narrower rail head, which makes the use of most P4 gauges problematic for track construction - apart from the Exactoscale type. I have managed to avoid using code 83 for turnouts, using only for plain track.

Hearing about your issues with gauge narrowing Tim, I do sometimes wonder why inclined bullhead rails in 4 mm scale were thought to be such a good idea. There is always going to be a conflict at the common crossing if using funtional chairs inclined at 1:20: all advice that I have ever read about making point and splice rails advocates soldering them together in vertical alignment. The same conflict of angles applies to closure and wing rails.

I suppose that we get away with it by sloshing enough solvent on the chairs and hoping for the best. (As I did on the tandem point that I made!).

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby grovenor-2685 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:00 pm

Colin Parks wrote:Hi Keith,
The three-point that I have came from the Stores a few years ago. It seems to have tapered grooves which would allow the rail to tilt.
Colin

Is that the DDWheelwrights gauge? That one has tapered, and very shallow slots that don't really hold the rail so need a rather more care in use compared to the usual design, likethis one. Image
Regards

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:28 pm

Yes Keith, that is the type that I have. As mentioned before, I have never really used the gauge.

All the best,

Colin

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:29 pm

There is nothing better than making track when you should be writing essays!

Whilst some fettling and adjusting is still to be done, the rail assemblies are prett laid loosely in position on the third board timbers and sleepers. Ballasting operations can commence once some channels have been carved between the relevant timbers to accommodate the stretcher bars on the turnouts.

Some realignment was needed on the l/h track of the ballasted (middle) board as it was curving around 0.7 mm too much to the right. As the sleepers were correctly aligned across the joint, some attention with a sharp blade to the Panrdrol rail bases and slewing the rails to the left sorted the problem out in 20 mins.

IMG_8851 (2).JPG


This photo gives a general view of the trackwork on the third board. Having single line working was considered, with the l/h track ending as a headshunt, but I think double track working will be more interesting once a fiddle yard is added at this end. (I never quite imagined I would get this far!)

IMG_8850 (2).JPG


After placing all the crossover assemblies on the timbers and with the benefit of hindsight, it might have been better to have staggered the rail joints so that they did not conflict with the check rails (which themselves might have been better if they were extensions of the wing rails ('parallel wings', as I think they are called). Click twice to zoom in. For all my talk about B8 common crossings, this crossover is actually composed of two B7 turnouts on a very slight curve. (Templot said it was 33 m from what I can recall.) Day light bleeding in from the right has given a bluish tint to this photo. Must try harder.

IMG_8853 (2).JPG


Here are a couple of shots of the dropper wire arrangements on the turnout rail assemblies. There is a good fillet of solder around each nickel silver wire and strip. The strips have been thinned from 0.5 mm down to 0.4 mm thick to match the Peco rail bases. This proved much easier to accomplish after the strips were added to the assemblies (and before adding the droppers of course).

IMG_8848 (2).JPG


IMG_8849 (2).JPG

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Mon May 14, 2018 5:58 pm

It has been a while since very much happened with the track construction, but I am back at it again now.

In my last post, there was a view of the third board with a double track arrangement all with flat bottom rail. After some consideration I realised that with the double track rendition of my original plan, a train leaving from the sidings would have had to reverse into one of the platform roads to depart on the correct line.

So the plan has now been altered to turn the line from the crossover under construction into a carriage siding, which would easily serve both platform roads. The rails have been changed to bullhead, as befits a humble siding. As here:

IMG_8864 (2).JPG


(The siding will extend onto a fourth board, which exists only in my imagintion at present!)

JFS pointed out that a trap point was needed on the siding. Fortuitously, I had not started ballasting operations, so a trap point has now been inserted. It is seen here with the rail assemblies, being tested for gauge:

IMG_8862 (2).JPG


Ballasting is now under way on this board and I have this idea to try a spray bottle to apply the floor polish. What could possibly go wrong?!

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Colin Parks
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Re: Construction of a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Thu May 31, 2018 7:55 pm

After two weeks of intermittent bouts of ballasting and making of small components for the switch drive mechanisms, the rails on the third board have been laid. There is one adjustment to be made to the alignment of the l/h siding, which is not quite right yet.

IMG_8876 (2).JPG


The trap point has had a small 'appendage' added to one switch rail which seems to reflect prototype practice, where the rail nearer the line to be protected is longer. If this proves to be wrong for the BR(S) area, I can just lever it off!

IMG_8874 (2).JPG


From my limited experience, I can say that laying and aligning flat bottom rail in functional plastic chairs is far easier than laying the bullhead equivalent (and no, the gauges did not pull the rails out of gauge). Bullhead rail is so flexible it took me a lot of care and sighting along the rails to get them anywhere near right. It looks great when finished though!

Next to be done is getting the sub baseboard linkage added and connected to the lever frame position, including negotiating a baseboard joint. For amusement this summer, I have of the Society four MkII lever frames on order, plus the locking frames already delivered, all to be constructed and installed, which will involve a learning curve of epic proportions.

JFS
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Re: Construction of a Test Track

Postby JFS » Thu May 31, 2018 8:13 pm

All looking very good Colin - not least the neatness of the ballasting. Pretty spectacular - "for a Test Track"! And I bet it runs every bit as well as it looks.

Inside information has it that The Stores have had a delivery of lever frames - four of which have your name on them.

Looking forward to further installments.

Very Best Wishes,


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