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 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:20 pm

Allan Goodwillie wrote:Hi Colin, :D

Tony's photo shows a lovely piece of track work, but the layout of the traps was different, interestingly the ones I have on Dubbieside were also part of a tandem point - We have heavy snow just now so it is difficult to get into the garage and take a photo - but I will try to over the next few days. Mention of Fish reminds me of a rather nice moment when I had the museum in Melrose and I was working away doing something to Dubbieside one day and had a tape on in the background when this lady came round with a friend. She spent some time watching trains going by and showed some interest in what I was working on. She asked me whether I liked the music I was playing - a Marillion tape, the answer was yes and it was then that she told me proudly that Fish was her son - which of course led to a longer conversation altogether. - A very nice lady she was too. I often could be found late at night working in the railway room which was on the platform level of the station. It could be quite eerie as there were no platform lights on late at night and playing Kate Bush at full volume or Pink Floyd (the station was well away from any other habitation in the town) just added to the atmosphere. :D


Hi Allan,

Your evocative description of nocturnal modelling at Melrose shares some similarities with my own working environment, which is in a backstreet workshop some way from our house in the village. It seems easier to concentrate on the minutiae of matters P4 at night, though not while listening to music!

All the best,

Colin

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:25 pm

Terry Bendall wrote:
Colin Parks wrote: The 'installation' that I have made is situated in a bay siding or platform road (if the project gets that far) and does the job of diverting stock away from a running line


Colin

If you beg, borrow or even buy Bob Essery's first book, Railway Operation for the Modeller, page 25 bottom has a picture of Blackwell station on the Lickey Incline which shows exactly what you require.

Terry Bendall
#

Thanks Terry,

There is a railway book dealer very close to here, so I will ask him about the Essery volume. Whatever you call it, the 'thing' is in the right place!

All the best,

Colin

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:12 pm

The track is laid (well, all on this board anyway). There are still some slide chairs and cosmetic chairs to add to the tandem and two FB turnouts, but all the linkages to my improvised lever frame are functioning. Much to my sursprise, the tandem turnout did not cause any troubles with alignment. Even more of a surprise was to find that the butanone solvent, that I have had for some years, did not work with the C&L bullhead chairs. Perhaps the solvent was too old, or maybe it was not butanone after all. Fortunately, the Plastic Weld worked just as well with the C&L chairs as it had with the Peco Pandrol fixings

IMG_8757 (2).JPG


The stretcher bars and drive rod on the tandem turnout did provide some entertainment on the second pair of switches. All the assembly work was done with the aid of an Optivisor, which has become an essential part of the toolkit. (I have to admit that there are some errant fishplates at the toe end of the switches in this view, which may be attended to if a way can be found.)

IMG_8748 (2).JPG


The FB turnout to the left of the tandem is complete with all the twiddly bits. Looking at it, I cannot help thinking it looks like big Peco Streamline!

IMG_8746 (3).JPG


The next step will be wiring up the track on this board. I still await some sleepers, chairs and fishplates on order from C&L, without which not much else can be done to the other two base boards.

Tony Wilkins
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Tony Wilkins » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:00 pm

Colin Parks wrote:Hi Tony,

It looks like that template on which your excellent point work stands was created with Templot, so what did the program say when you added the 'safety point' partial template?!

My understanding of the terms (prior to reading all the above posts) was: catch points caught and derailed runaway stock on running lines, and trap points would prevent runaways from reaching the running lines in the first place. Then I thought it was the opposite, now I do not really mind either way.

All the best,
Colin


Hi Colin.
To Templot a catch point is just the switch part of a turnout using the snap to catch point function to hide the rest of it.
It is then simply a mater of hiding one of the switch rails if only one blade is required.
The Tandem in question was part of the fan of sidings at the back of Carlisle station. Both outer roads of this tandem were connected a further Tandem turnout.

There is a funny story with Green Street. The Bay platform has a catch point. The way the electrics work the feed to the Main and Bay platform depend on the setting of the point that selects which one. One warm summer evening, we set the road for the train in the main platform to depart. When the controller was opened, both the Main line train and the DMU in the Bay platform began to move, the DMU promptly becoming derailed on the catch point. This must have been one of those rare occasions where a model catch point has actually done its job. The reason was later traced to a rail joint that had closed up bridging the two sections.
Regards
Tony.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Le Corbusier » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:59 pm

Colin Parks wrote:The FB turnout to the left of the tandem is complete with all the twiddly bits. Looking at it, I cannot help thinking it looks like big Peco Streamline!


Colin, I don't suppose you have a 'big Peco streamline' tandem by way of comparison.

It's fun to have these hi res images to really study what you are up to and get into the micro detail ... but from where I am sitting I bet it looks smashing from normal viewing distance. I am not sure I have ever seen Peco look this good ... but perhaps I am out of date ;)
Tim Lee

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:14 pm

Tony Wilkins wrote:
Colin Parks wrote:Hi Tony,

It looks like that template on which your excellent point work stands was created with Templot, so what did the program say when you added the 'safety point' partial template?!

My understanding of the terms (prior to reading all the above posts) was: catch points caught and derailed runaway stock on running lines, and trap points would prevent runaways from reaching the running lines in the first place. Then I thought it was the opposite, now I do not really mind either way.

All the best,
Colin


Hi Colin.
To Templot a catch point is just the switch part of a turnout using the snap to catch point function to hide the rest of it.
It is then simply a mater of hiding one of the switch rails if only one blade is required.
The Tandem in question was part of the fan of sidings at the back of Carlisle station. Both outer roads of this tandem were connected a further Tandem turnout.

There is a funny story with Green Street. The Bay platform has a catch point. The way the electrics work the feed to the Main and Bay platform depend on the setting of the point that selects which one. One warm summer evening, we set the road for the train in the main platform to depart. When the controller was opened, both the Main line train and the DMU in the Bay platform began to move, the DMU promptly becoming derailed on the catch point. This must have been one of those rare occasions where a model catch point has actually done its job. The reason was later traced to a rail joint that had closed up bridging the two sections.
Regards
Tony.


Hello Tony,

Is that tandem you mention point part of the work you undertook on Carlise and District? I have just been given some Railway Modellers from last year and, reading through them I came across the layout and admired your input on this epic construction project - 270 pieces of pointwork? Wow!

Re. catch points and insulating gaps, it is surprising how much rail expands in the heat (and what can happen as a consequence of gaps closing up when running DCC loco's at an exhibition!). Bearing this in mind and because my track work is being laid in the winter, I shall be ensuring that the gaps are large enough to work during the summer months too.

Many thanks for your advice on FB switch lengths, remaking mine as SB switches has made all the difference.

All the best,

Colin
Last edited by Colin Parks on Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:21 pm

Le Corbusier wrote:
Colin Parks wrote:The FB turnout to the left of the tandem is complete with all the twiddly bits. Looking at it, I cannot help thinking it looks like big Peco Streamline!


Colin, I don't suppose you have a 'big Peco streamline' tandem by way of comparison.

It's fun to have these hi res images to really study what you are up to and get into the micro detail ... but from where I am sitting I bet it looks smashing from normal viewing distance. I am not sure I have ever seen Peco look this good ... but perhaps I am out of date ;)


Hi Tim,

No, there is no FB tandem for comparison. Such a thing would be far harder to construct than a bullhead one in my opinion. (I do not think that there would be room for the longer switches, though I may be wrong and often am.)

Clicking on the hi-res images, such as the photo of the tandem stretcher bar detail, gives you an idea of how I see things through the Optivisor. From normal viewing distance (whatever that is), I cannot see much at all, but I know it is there and in working order.

All the best,

Colin

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Martin Wynne
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Martin Wynne » Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:11 pm

Colin Parks wrote:No, there is no FB tandem for comparison. Such a thing would be far harder to construct than a bullhead one in my opinion.

Hi Colin,

Hi-res images of a FB tandem in this sequence from Michael Davies: http://85a.co.uk/forum/gallery_view.php ... allery_top

Click the small image, and then again on the link to see the original size.

Over 100 images in the set.

Martin.
39 years developing Templot. And counting ...

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:16 pm

Martin Wynne wrote:
Colin Parks wrote:No, there is no FB tandem for comparison. Such a thing would be far harder to construct than a bullhead one in my opinion.

Hi Colin,

Hi-res images of a FB tandem in this sequence from Michael Davies: http://85a.co.uk/forum/gallery_view.php ... allery_top

Click the small image, and then again on the link to see the original size.

Over 100 images in the set.

Martin.


Thanks for the link Martin. I had seen the images after trawling through the Templot Gallery while looking for prototype information to inform the construction of the FB turnouts (especially the detailing parts such as bolts and spacer blocks). The reference to 'big Peco Streamline' was meant to refer to a P4, scale-length turnout. Perhaps I was being too obtuse! Making an FB tandem (B8 + B8) turnout still looks like quite a challenge, particularly in the switch toe area - if made with the stretcher bars, brackets and a drive rod as I have done.

All the best,

Colin

As a postscript after looking again at this image http://85a.co.uk/forum/gallery_view.php ... allery_top. and knowing now what I did not know then, this tandem looks as if it has SA switches, based on the number of slide chairs. Longer switches just would not fit! The clearances around the second switches (furthest from camera) are very tight on the r/h side, where the foot of the switch toe must almost touching the closure rail to its left. But I digress, for the two FB turnouts left to make are simple ones.
Last edited by Colin Parks on Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Tony Wilkins
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Tony Wilkins » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:25 pm

Colin Parks wrote:
Hello Tony,
Is that tandem you mention point part of the work you undertook on Carlise and District? I have just been given some Railway Modellers from last year and, reading through them I came across the layout and admired your input on this epic construction project - 270 pieces of pointwork? Wow!
Colin


Hi Colin.
Afraid so. It was the first job I did using Templot and learned a lot in the process. The station area included 6 scissors crossovers all different. That total includes the numerous points for the storage sidings. Ten years plus of my modelling life went into that project. Just shows what can be done with dedication and determination.
I am currently 14 months into the construction of my last grand project, which I will be starting a couple of threads on soon.
Regards
Tony.

JFS
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby JFS » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:02 am

Tony Wilkins wrote:I am currently 14 months into the construction of my last grand project, which I will be starting a couple of threads on soon.


I think you mean "latest" Tony... :thumb

Best wishes,

Tony Wilkins
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Tony Wilkins » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:45 pm

JFS wrote:
Tony Wilkins wrote:I am currently 14 months into the construction of my last grand project, which I will be starting a couple of threads on soon.


I think you mean "latest" Tony... :thumb

Best wishes,


No, I do mean last because I think this one is probably going to occupy the rest of my life.
Regards
Tony.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Le Corbusier » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:34 pm

Tony Wilkins wrote:
No, I do mean last because I think this one is probably going to occupy the rest of my life.
Regards
Tony.


Ah .... but whisper it quietly - exquisite railway modelling keeps the grim reaper at bay .... so either you must never finish or I am afraid you will have to plan for the future ;)
Tim Lee

Philip Hall
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Philip Hall » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:23 pm

Re the Last Grand Project, this is worrying stuff, because of the time we have left to us. I am beginning to feel the same way! I have baseboards built, and have just spent some hours this last weekend in the wind and the rain taking loads of pictures of the preserved Okehampton station. Am beginning to wonder just how long it will take me to build it all. Luckily I have some help! Positive thinking is the thing...

Philip

Tony Wilkins
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Tony Wilkins » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:31 pm

Hi Philip and Tim.
I don't want to take over this thread so will be starting one of my own soon.
Green Street has been going for 30 plus years and is still not finished. This was intended as a stop gap until I acquired the space to build what I really wanted which is Brimsdown. This is going to be BIG. Not on a par with Carlisle, but big enough for me. The railway room is 4M x 10M and is at present a one man project. I have two more turnounts to build to complete the storage yard pointwork and then I will go public, hopefully by next weekend.
Regards
Tony.

Edit.
PS. See under layouts and operation.
Last edited by Tony Wilkins on Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

Philip Hall
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Philip Hall » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:41 pm

All these musings and test constructions have been helpful in deciding me the way to go with the layout. I have a little less room than Tony, 20ft x 21ft (imperial here!) but still a lot of track to build. Not sure if I am going to post much, simply because there is much to do. We shall see. Thanks to Colin and all who have given much inspiration!

Philip

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:28 pm

Philip Hall wrote:All these musings and test constructions have been helpful in deciding me the way to go with the layout. I have a little less room than Tony, 20ft x 21ft (imperial here!) but still a lot of track to build. Not sure if I am going to post much, simply because there is much to do. We shall see. Thanks to Colin and all who have given much inspiration!

Philip


Hi Phillip,

Glad that you have found some value in the posts. It has been a very steep learning curve for me so far, having never built track from components before, but if I can do it, anyone can! The space available to you is going to call for some intensive work, so good luck there. It would be good if you could post something on your project now and then, because I am sure that many are interested in seeing practical P4 work for inspiration.

All the best,

Colin

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Le Corbusier » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:19 pm

Colin Parks wrote:
Philip Hall wrote:All these musings and test constructions have been helpful in deciding me the way to go with the layout. I have a little less room than Tony, 20ft x 21ft (imperial here!) but still a lot of track to build. Not sure if I am going to post much, simply because there is much to do. We shall see. Thanks to Colin and all who have given much inspiration!

Philip


Hi Phillip,

Glad that you have found some value in the posts. It has been a very steep learning curve for me so far, having never built track from components before, but if I can do it, anyone can! The space available to you is going to call for some intensive work, so good luck there. It would be good if you could post something on your project now and then, because I am sure that many are interested in seeing practical P4 work for inspiration.

All the best,

Colin

seconded :thumb :thumb
Tim Lee

Tony Wilkins
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Tony Wilkins » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:43 pm

Le Corbusier wrote:
Colin Parks wrote:
Philip Hall wrote:All these musings and test constructions have been helpful in deciding me the way to go with the layout. I have a little less room than Tony, 20ft x 21ft (imperial here!) but still a lot of track to build. Not sure if I am going to post much, simply because there is much to do. We shall see. Thanks to Colin and all who have given much inspiration!

Philip


Hi Phillip,

Glad that you have found some value in the posts. It has been a very steep learning curve for me so far, having never built track from components before, but if I can do it, anyone can! The space available to you is going to call for some intensive work, so good luck there. It would be good if you could post something on your project now and then, because I am sure that many are interested in seeing practical P4 work for inspiration.

All the best,

Colin

seconded :thumb :thumb

Thirded :thumb :thumb :thumb
What you need to succeed with a largish project is Determination, Dedication and Retirement.
My Father used to say that he didn't know what work was till he retired.
Tony.

Philip Hall
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Philip Hall » Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:33 pm

OK I might give in, given the encouragement. But don’t hold your breath, because first I have to clear the baseboards of all the stuff I have been taking into the building for the past six months!

To set the scene, I now have sufficient stock of FastTrack bases for the main running lines and most of the sidings, PCB sheet which is awaiting cutting up for the storage yard trackwork, and a couple of hundred metres of nickel silver rail. I won’t be going into the depths of trackwork detail as Colin and Howard have done or I will never get it built. Some of the rail is in yard lengths which tells you how old it is. The layout is based on Okehampton, but will be called ’Mellstock’, taken from the only happy story that Thomas Hardy ever wrote, ‘Under The Greenwood Tree’. This is for my wife, who is nuts about his stories. I find the rest of his stuff so depressing that I guess if he were alive today he would be writing for EastEnders.

So when you see a layout thread called Mellstock you will know what to expect. And I will transfer this first post there when the time comes. But as I said, don’t hold your breath!

Philip

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kelly
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby kelly » Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:57 pm

I have been following the thread with interest, certainly provided some inspiration.

My layout plans have ground to a halt after it was suggested (correctly) that a test plank should be the first step before starting work on eversley plan. It did coincide with a loss of interest and mojo for a few months however. A few simple plans have been drawn up in templot at least now and I'm trying to decide what works and what I can realistically fit within 6ftx1ft6" (ideally keeping storage within that footprint too, a tight thing with my interest in emus!).
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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:20 pm

kelly wrote:I have been following the thread with interest, certainly provided some inspiration.

My layout plans have ground to a halt after it was suggested (correctly) that a test plank should be the first step before starting work on eversley plan. It did coincide with a loss of interest and mojo for a few months however. A few simple plans have been drawn up in templot at least now and I'm trying to decide what works and what I can realistically fit within 6ftx1ft6" (ideally keeping storage within that footprint too, a tight thing with my interest in emus!).


Hi Kelly,

Glad to hear that you have found the thread of use. I am intending to summarise my experiences of P4 track building at some stage - especially aspects particular to flat bottom track and turnout construction, which are rarely described (unless I have missed a major resource somewhere!)

Testing out track making methods and honing your skills certainly for me has been worthwhile, so good luck with your test plack. There are many permutations and interpretations of P4 track construction, not many of which I have tried, but have become aware of most through careful reading of others' work.

The dimensions you have quote for you project seem a little tight for running EMUs, but I look forward to seeing how you get on.

All the best,

Colin

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kelly
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby kelly » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:19 pm

Colin Parks wrote:
kelly wrote:I have been following the thread with interest, certainly provided some inspiration.

My layout plans have ground to a halt after it was suggested (correctly) that a test plank should be the first step before starting work on eversley plan. It did coincide with a loss of interest and mojo for a few months however. A few simple plans have been drawn up in templot at least now and I'm trying to decide what works and what I can realistically fit within 6ftx1ft6" (ideally keeping storage within that footprint too, a tight thing with my interest in emus!).


Hi Kelly,

Glad to hear that you have found the thread of use. I am intending to summarise my experiences of P4 track building at some stage - especially aspects particular to flat bottom track and turnout construction, which are rarely described (unless I have missed a major resource somewhere!)

Testing out track making methods and honing your skills certainly for me has been worthwhile, so good luck with your test plack. There are many permutations and interpretations of P4 track construction, not many of which I have tried, but have become aware of most through careful reading of others' work.

The dimensions you have quote for you project seem a little tight for running EMUs, but I look forward to seeing how you get on.

All the best,

Colin


It may be that it needs a 2ft extension to give adequate storage space. It'd likely only be 2 car DEMU/EMU units and/or Pull/Push SR sets at most. Nat has a few ideas she's found that I'll have a look at.
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Terry Bendall
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Terry Bendall » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:27 am

Colin Parks wrote:especially aspects particular to flat bottom track and turnout construction, which are rarely described (unless I have missed a major resource somewhere!)


Not exactly a major resource but you might find pages 4 -6 of Scalefour News 174 useful. (available in the archive on the Society website if you do not have a copy)

Terry Bendall

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:02 pm

Terry Bendall wrote:
Colin Parks wrote:especially aspects particular to flat bottom track and turnout construction, which are rarely described (unless I have missed a major resource somewhere!)


Not exactly a major resource but you might find pages 4 -6 of Scalefour News 174 useful. (available in the archive on the Society website if you do not have a copy)

Terry Bendall


Thanks Terry,

That would be an edition of the Journal that I have not seen, but will check out the Archive.

All the best,

Colin


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