Construction of a Test Track

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

Postby essdee » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:21 pm

Quite right, Howard! Sorry, but had briefly emerged from frantic box-packing and only picked up the later postings...

Stunning trackwork, as well.......

Cheers,

Steve

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Le Corbusier » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:55 pm

This may be a thick question but ......

Is there any logic to the direction chair wedges face ... ie are they always fitted with the tail away from the direction of travel. Also, does anyone know whether the Midland pre 1905 would have them on the outside of the track?

Tim
Tim Lee

JFS
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby JFS » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:04 pm

Russ Elliott wrote:That DCC Concepts bullhead doesn't look particularly bullhead to me.

What's the head width, btw?


Hello Russ,

Perhaps the photo is unflattering in that regard but it certainly looks fine to the naked eye. The head and foot both are 0.917mm which (I think) is spot on.

But, out of interest, I measured a few sample of rail from my "off-cuts" jar and there is a fair bit of variation - one piece has a head 0.928 and the foot 0.930. This piece most definitely causes a bowing of the chair. Another is 0.857 wide in the head and 0.892 in the foot, yet this also bows a chair.- I take these to be C&L in origin. I have also measured some C&L HiNi out of the packet and this looks to be 0.895 for head and foot - but this also bows the chairs. I would mention that these dimensions have been taken using a Moore and Wright "2 thousandths" mike.

Or course, there is a critical dimension in this which I cannot measure - the depth of the foot. (The thickness of the web I might be able to get with my Mitutoyo vernier but it is not to hand until later this week).

But I suspect that the real cause of the issue is the radii of the outer edges of the foot - the DCC concepts stuff has a noticable radius to its foot as can be seen in the photo, but the C&L is so "sharp" you feel it might cut you. I suspect that the chairs are moulded with a radius. If I get a mo tomorrow, I will set up my macro lens and see if I can get an end-on shot of a chair on the different rail sections.

Best wishes,
Last edited by JFS on Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby JFS » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:11 pm

Le Corbusier wrote:This may be a thick question but ......

Is there any logic to the direction chair wedges face ... ie are they always fitted with the tail away from the direction of travel. Also, does anyone know whether the Midland pre 1905 would have them on the outside of the track?

Tim


Yes (but they are called "keys") there is - they face "Away from the stops, away from the platform, away from the river" that is - so the traction / braking forces tend to push them in under normal running. At the rail ends, they need to face away from the fishplates or else they can't be knocked up. But if the gangers found they fell out, they would try them the other way and if they still fell out, they would face them alternately.

Best wishes,

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Le Corbusier » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:27 pm

JFS wrote:
Le Corbusier wrote:This may be a thick question but ......

Is there any logic to the direction chair wedges face ... ie are they always fitted with the tail away from the direction of travel. Also, does anyone know whether the Midland pre 1905 would have them on the outside of the track?

Tim


Yes (but they are called "keys") there is - they face "Away from the stops, away from the platform, away from the river" that is - so the traction / braking forces tend to push them in under normal running. At the rail ends, they need to face away from the fishplates or else they can't be knocked up. But if the gangers found they fell out, they would try them the other way and if they still fell out, they would face them alternately.

Best wishes,


Thanks Howard,

'Keys' ... that was the word I couldn't for the life of me remember :thumb

So from this I take it they vary depending on the location and whether the train is accelerating or braking? ... so different on entering a station to leaving? If this is the case would they take into account signal positions?

Tim
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Knuckles
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Knuckles » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:51 pm

Again I'm no expert but want to share some findings.

When I was building my track I found as above the C&L ones would sometimes twist and bend and I also found the Exactoscale chairs were not only straighter but more crisp too. More like a boiled sweet than a gum sweet..err.

I never thought much of it as the twist I didn't worry too much about and in the few chairs where it was extreme I found a liberal amount of 'soakination' with the Butanone followed by holding things in place with gauges and weight and some 'twistination' with small pliers......once set sorted them out.

DCC Concepts stainless rail I am very keep to try out and will do on my next track building venture.

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Philip Hall
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Philip Hall » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:38 pm

Thank you Kelly! I am however a little disappointed that for some reason the picture has not been displayed as sharply as the original, something I shall have to investigate. I posted it direct from my iPad which means there should have been no compression. Very odd.


I thought I should just say that the problem was simply that I was not viewing the picture correctly, merely looking at it in the body of text instead of clicking on it for enlargement where it looks fine. I have been in contact with WebmasterJohn, who didn't think the Forum made any changes to images as it posts them, which does indeed seem to be the case. I have established that an iPad does downsize a little, though, though not enough to affect sharpness at these sizes.

As an apology for deviating once more from this thread, albeit in a good cause, here is another piece of trackwork I am sure Howard will approve of, which travelled from Melbourne to Scaleforum as hand baggage, in a purpose made case that was every bit as beautiful as the track it contained. Michael Godfrey's work, of course. Who else?!

Philip

L1060733.JPG

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kelly
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby kelly » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:42 pm

Impressive stuff!!
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billbedford
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby billbedford » Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:13 am

Le Corbusier wrote:This may be a thick question but ......

Is there any logic to the direction chair wedges face ... ie are they always fitted with the tail away from the direction of travel. Also, does anyone know whether the Midland pre 1905 would have them on the outside of the track?


They were up in from the opposite side of the chair from where the linesman found them on the ballast.
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Le Corbusier
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Le Corbusier » Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:26 am

billbedford wrote:
Le Corbusier wrote:This may be a thick question but ......

Is there any logic to the direction chair wedges face ... ie are they always fitted with the tail away from the direction of travel. Also, does anyone know whether the Midland pre 1905 would have them on the outside of the track?


They were up in from the opposite side of the chair from where the linesman found them on the ballast.


makes sense :!:
Tim Lee

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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby JFS » Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:39 am

Regarding "bent" plastic chairs, I have photographed some rail sections for consideration. To say this is a bit difficult would be an understatement, and I think it might be a Good Idea if someone better at photography had a go, but nonetheless, I think it is interesting.
In terms of how I did this, I cut a short length of rail and one end was cut square and polished with 1000 grit silicon carbide paper and de-burred with a glass fibre brush. The other end was provided with a "lead" to thread the chair on.

There are caveats - this is a "random" sample of two sections out of the miles of rail which have been drawn over the years. It is also really hard to ensure that there are no burrs distorting the result - but here they are...

DCC Concepts Rail.jpg
DCC Concepts Stainless rail


I think it is clear that this is a pretty good fit in the chair and there is no real distortion of the chair base.

C&L Rail Section.jpg
C&L Rail


It is pretty obvious that the rail web is much thicker than the gap in the chair, and this, coupled with an excessive radius between the web and the foot, cause the problem.

C&L Rail Section oblique.jpg
C&L Rail oblique


This is a second example taken at a bit of an angle - that chair does not look at all comfortable!

I also looked at some old Studiolith rail (obtained at a bring and buy) and it is a pretty good fit - but no point in discussing that since it is not readily obtainable.

As I say, sorry they are a bot blurry and I will have a go at refining my technique if people think it is worth it - but I think the results are interesting as they stand.

Best wishes,

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Le Corbusier » Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:53 am

Interesting Howard,

I will see if I can do the same for the stores steel rail as a comparison with the nickel silver. Am I correct that you have used nickel silver on Minories? Did you have issues at all?

Tim
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby JFS » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:30 am

Le Corbusier wrote:Interesting Howard,

I will see if I can do the same for the stores steel rail as a comparison with the nickel silver. Am I correct that you have used nickel silver on Minories? Did you have issues at all?

Tim


I used the C&L HiNi N/S rail. The problem of the bowing chairs only showed itself towards the end to the build on the last lengths of rail purchased.

I am not a fan of mild steel rail - not only does it rust in our house, but it is very soft and easily kinked and it also really needs an acid flux to solder well. Since others apparently do not have such problems, those failings are obviously down to me. The stainless steel rail also suffers from softness but does not rust and seems easy to solder with the right flux and, if I can establish its practicality in a "real track" situation (I am concerned about work-hardening for example) it would certainly get my vote - but as I say - I have not actually built track with it yet!

I do have some steel rail here and it also displays the same issue - but I am not sure of its provenance so I can't draw any conclusions. I have to say that I am a bit wary of ascribing any "problem" to a particular supplier / retailer as I don't know who actually makes this stuff and it is a possibility that different suppliers are retailing rail from a common manufacturer and therefore might be at the mercy of whatever is supplied to them - I am hoping the someone who knows the inside story will be able to comment. For sure, I am pretty sure that the Stores are not in the business of drawing their own rail!!

Best wishes,

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Martin Wynne
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Martin Wynne » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:05 am

JFS wrote:I have to say that I am a bit wary of ascribing any "problem" to a particular supplier / retailer as I don't know who actually makes this stuff and it is a possibility that different suppliers are retailing rail from a common manufacturer and therefore might be at the mercy of whatever is supplied to them - I am hoping the someone who knows the inside story will be able to comment. For sure, I am pretty sure that the Stores are not in the business of drawing their own rail!!

Hi Howard,

Two other rails to try would be:

1. SMP Scaleway. This is known to be underscale width (n/s, don't know about their p/b rail).

2. The new n/s bullhead rail from Peco.

See also the animation on this page from Winterbottom Wire:

http://www.wintwire.co.uk/profile-wire- ... turers.htm

regards,

Martin.
Last edited by Martin Wynne on Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Tony Wilkins
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Tony Wilkins » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:15 am

Since I last looked at this thread several days ago, there have been an awful lot of postings some of which I feel I should comment on.
Regarding using ply and rivet construction for track, my preferred method, it is true that the rivets have changed over the years. Russ Elliot and I looked into this some while ago. The Brass ones we now have are definitely larger than the early ones, both in height and in head diameter although this dimension can vary considerably within a batch it seems and I have to select out the smaller ones for other uses. The original P4 ones were steel and the tinning had a nasty habit of parting company from the steel surface leaving a dirty surface finish behind. My conclusion was that they had not been adequately cleaned prior to the tinning process and effectively had a built in failure mechanism, at least for our purposes.
This reminds me of an incident with Heckmondwike back in the 1970s. One evening on a warm summer day, we turned up at Ken York's shed as usual and prepared for a running session. The first train to depart from the fiddle yard got part way round the curve and promptly piled up with a clatter. On investigation we found that one complete metre length of rail had come adrift from the steel rivets due to expansion and the loco had dropped into the four foot. From this we came to the conclusion that soldering metre lengths of track fixed solidly to the baseboard was a mistake and systematically reduced the maximum length to 1/2 metre. It has since been my practice to build track using no more than scale 60ft length rails where possible.
Mixing ply and rivet and functional chairs on one length of track is in my view, not good practice. With fully soldered track, the expansion stresses are evenly distributed to the soldered joints throughout the length of the track section. Reducing the number of soldered joints per length just concentrates the expansion forces on the fewer fixed joints probably accelerating their eventual failure. The worst possible combination is to just fix the track panel solidly at BOTH ends as the expansion has nowhere to go. If you must mix them then only fix at one end or in the middle of each length. If you do not thermal cycling will have its way.

I recently acquired the fiddle yard baseboards from an acquaintance who had sadly died. He had used steel rail and had soldered the rails solidly to 1/2 inch wide strips of PCB at each baseboard end using the longest lengths of rail he could. This would probably not have caused problems had he not also put a piece of PCB under the inner ends of rail lengths and soldered these together as well, producing a solid stretch of 4 ft from end to end of each baseboard. The result was that nearly every one of these joints had failed over time.
All his track has since been lifted and scrapped partly since my track plan was completely different to his anyway and the baseboards substantially rebuilt.
Incidentally, we fixed the white metal chairs on Heckmondwike and Bodmin with Evostick, which seemed like a good idea at the time. Evostick has a finite lifetime, now expired and replacing missing chairs on Bodmin is now a regular occurrence.
Finally for those using functional chairs on wooden sleepers it may be worth experimenting with coating the timber with one of the plumbing plastic pipe glues such as floplas first. Coat only the area you wish to stick the chair to as the glue will not take stain after. Allow to dry thoroughly before glueing the chair in place with solvent glue. The resulting join is much stronger. A word of warning, do this in a well ventilated area as the fumes are something else!
Regards
Tony.

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TonyMont
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby TonyMont » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:34 am

Hi Tony,

I am contemplating using white metal chairs on my layout, which glue would you currently recommend?

Regards,
Tony.

JFS
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby JFS » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:53 am

Hello Martin,

Unfortunately, I don't either of the manufacturers you suggest but am hoping someone else might be able to help.

That is an interesting link! Perhaps they know the answers - or perhaps are behind all of this somewhere!

I should perhaps have mentioned that the DCC Concepts rail was purchased in Australia when we were over for my niece's wedding!!!

Hello Tony,

Well done for mentioning the expansion issues which I think are massively underestimated - I should have said in my posting that I never lay rails in longer than a scale 120 feet nor use soldered fastenings at the rail ends - just something I take for granted - and my soldered droppers are always a loose fit in the holes.

That said, I think in using a mixed construction the approach should be to presume that ultimately it will be the chairs which hold the rails - the rivets only being an "aid to assembly" because you are quite right - the failure of such a few soldered joints should be regarded as inevitable over time. After all, they fail in all-soldered construction - but it does not matter as there is plenty of redundancy in the structure. Which is why the original P4 idea of "Turnout Bonding Strip" and "Wiring Connector Strip" were such bad ideas (showing my age now...) we all know which joints would fail...
What I don't know because I have not tried it in anger, is if the presence of the rivets might cause the glued chair joints to fail as they are the path of lesser resistance.

I do have a large bag of the tinned steel rivets left over - it was bad experiences such as you describe which caused me to abandon rivets as soon as something else came along a quarter of a century or so ago - it was only later I heard that steels rivets were a thing of the past!

Of course you are in a special position - you build more track than the rest of us put together and you are pretty good at it! But I don't know if you have ever fixed cosmetic chairs to much of it :D

PECO Streamline anyone? Code 100 does not look THAT bad surely?

Best wishes,

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Martin Wynne
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Martin Wynne » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:13 pm

JFS wrote:Which is why the original P4 idea of "Turnout Bonding Strip" and "Wiring Connector Strip" were such bad ideas (showing my age now...) we all know which joints would fail...

I mentioned this in a recent topic (learned the hard way) and was taken to task over it. It seems someone in the trade has introduced a new etched version of the discredited idea.

Likewise the idea of laser-cut plywood bases for a turnout instead of using a template is gaining ground, and several manufacturers have introduced them. Don't folks realise that the process of removing the webs will take far longer, risking causing significant damage, than sticking timbers on a paper template? Not to mention costing far more.

Sometimes the trade are not a modeller's best friend.

Martin.
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JFS
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby JFS » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:20 pm

Martin Wynne wrote:
JFS wrote:Which is why the original P4 idea of "Turnout Bonding Strip" and "Wiring Connector Strip" were such bad ideas (showing my age now...) we all know which joints would fail...

I mentioned this in a recent topic (learned the hard way) and was taken to task over it. It seems someone in the trade has introduced a new etched version of the discredited idea.

Likewise the idea of laser-cut plywood bases for a turnout instead of using a template is gaining ground, and several manufacturers have introduced them. Don't folks realise that the process of removing the webs will take far longer, risking causing significant damage, than sticking timbers on a paper template? Not to mention costing far more.

Martin.


Trouble is Martin, you, Tony and I have been around too long. One thing is for sure - none of us will be wasting our money on such things!

Best wishes,

Philip Hall
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Philip Hall » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:12 pm

I have been following this with interest, apart from getting sidetracked with resolution of photographs! It is appropriate, too since I am approaching the building of track for the new layout. I have a variety of rail to use, all nickel silver since the railway room is in the garden and, although very well insulated and snug, I am not prepared to take a chance on rust. Steel rail, might rust in my situation, then again it might not, and I have no intention of having to pull the whole lot up again as I approach later life! N/S, whatever the colour and whatever the amount of cleaning, it has to be.

As I said, I have many different rails to use up. I will shortly have some old Studiolith rail, courtesy of Chris McCarthy of this parish, along with some SMP (and their track as well, built in gauge widening!), much EMGS rail and a huge amount of rail acquired from a gentleman who laid in stocks for a new layout and never got around to building it. So I hope that at least some of it will fit the (mostly) quite old C&L chairs and Exactoscale FastTrack bases I have. I can't check much of this at the moment as things are still being moved into the new building.

I am going to have a go at soldered sleepers every inch or so on pointwork, but Tony's warnings of possible expansion problems have worried me a bit. All of the hidden sidings area is going to be handbuilt with PCB sleepers, widely spaced, and this has always been an accepted way of building track in these places. I don't know how this squares with a possible expansion problem? However, I do intend only to pin the track in place and not to have any of it glued solidly to the baseboard. Partly for noise, but also to allow for some movement and reduction of noise. I am not going DCC, so no sound, and trains gently swishing around rather than sounding as if the track was glued to granite is my aim.

It does occur to me that if rail is too stiff a fit in chairs a simple solution might be to make up a scraper the depth of the web of the rail and make a few passes along the rail before assembly. It might take only a few scrapings off but might be a measured way of easing the fit in the chairs and quite quick as well.

Philip

billbedford
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby billbedford » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:42 pm

Martin Wynne wrote:Likewise the idea of laser-cut plywood bases for a turnout instead of using a template is gaining ground, and several manufacturers have introduced them. Don't folks realise that the process of removing the webs will take far longer, risking causing significant damage, than sticking timbers on a paper template? Not to mention costing far more.


There shouldn't be any webs between the timbers on plywood turnout bases. All that needed is a small tab on the ends of each timber to hold it into a frame.
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Martin Wynne
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Martin Wynne » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:43 pm

Philip Hall wrote:It does occur to me that if rail is too stiff a fit in chairs a simple solution might be to make up a scraper the depth of the web of the rail and make a few passes along the rail before assembly. It might take only a few scrapings off but might be a measured way of easing the fit in the chairs and quite quick as well.

Another option (not tried it) might be to warm the rail with a soldering iron while holding the deformed chair down on a flat surface. A bit of practice would be needed to get it hot enough to soften the chair without melting or squashing it, but it might then be quite quick to run along a length of rail loaded with chairs.

Martin.
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Martin Wynne
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Martin Wynne » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:56 pm

billbedford wrote:There shouldn't be any webs between the timbers on plywood turnout bases. All that needed is a small tab on the ends of each timber to hold it into a frame.

I didn't say anything about the location of the web.

Wherever it is, you have the choice of sawing through it (very slow); using a nibbler tool (difficult to find one small enough); or using some sort of knife or flush cutters. Which will force the two cut components apart by the thickness of the blade. Given that the frame is going to be stronger than the cut timber, it is very likely that the latter will be distorted in the process risking damage to the rail fixing.

It seems to me that the only sensible way to use these bases would be to remove the timbers before use and stick them on a template. Which makes it a very expensive way of buying plywood strip.

Martin.
40 years developing Templot. And counting ...

JFS
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby JFS » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:55 pm

Martin Wynne wrote:Another option (not tried it) might be to warm the rail with a soldering iron while holding the deformed chair down on a flat surface. A bit of practice would be needed to get it hot enough to soften the chair without melting or squashing it, but it might then be quite quick to run along a length of rail loaded with chairs.

Martin.


It has been done but is only for the bravest of souls...

Best wishes,

Tony Wilkins
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Tony Wilkins » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:18 pm

JFS wrote:
Martin Wynne wrote:
JFS wrote:Which is why the original P4 idea of "Turnout Bonding Strip" and "Wiring Connector Strip" were such bad ideas (showing my age now...) we all know which joints would fail...

I mentioned this in a recent topic (learned the hard way) and was taken to task over it. It seems someone in the trade has introduced a new etched version of the discredited idea.

Likewise the idea of laser-cut plywood bases for a turnout instead of using a template is gaining ground, and several manufacturers have introduced them. Don't folks realise that the process of removing the webs will take far longer, risking causing significant damage, than sticking timbers on a paper template? Not to mention costing far more.

Martin.


Trouble is Martin, you, Tony and I have been around too long. One thing is for sure - none of us will be wasting our money on such things!

Best wishes,

Stick around long enough and see the wheel reinvented.
Tony.


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