Sunday, March 26, 2017

Turnout Construction

As mentioned in my previous post, I'm creating my streetcar turnouts using # 3 templates printed from the program Templot. There are quite a few guides on how to construct turnouts already on the web, but I wanted to document my process.

This was my first ever attempt at hand laying a turnout and it went surprisingly well. It was easy to do and quite a lot of fun. 

I prefer to build my track "on the workbench", so to speak. 

First, some of the tools I use. Shown is the FastTracks jig I am using to create straight sections of track.

Using a piece of wood, I tape down the turnout template I printed out.

I lay out the Right-O-Way point castings next. I use short sections of straight track built using the FastTracks jig to set the gauge for the points.

I next add the various rails. All track is pre-bent using a rail bending tool I also acquired from FastTracks. 

Using a jig I mounted on another board, I pre-make the # 3 frogs. The frog is added next.

Since this turnout will be part of a crossover on closely spaced (3.25") parallel tracks, that it why I have the marks on the divergent side of the turnout. I will eventually trim the turnout down to pair up with the other turnout.

Once the frog is added, I add the remaining guard rails. Since this will be street trackage, all rails receive guard rails.

Since some of my equipment has older Wagner drives, it has a bit larger flanges. Thus, I've decided to make guard rails out of vertical code 125 rail placed next to the running rail. On some test sections of code 125 with code 100 rail soldered on edge I had issues with some equipment running on their flanges.

A left hand turnout was also created in the same manner.

All throughout the process I checked the turnout for gauge using an NMRA gauge, my two three point gauges, a pair of trucks, and once completed, I rolled some equipment through them to check for any issues. On my first turnout I did wind up moving the frog slightly as the trailing truck of my equipment was picking the point of the frog. Un-soldering the frog and correcting the problem was an easy fix.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Track Layout

Since I live in downtown Chicago, space for an O scale layout is certainly at a premium. My layout will consist of two modules, 6 feet long by approximately 20 inches wide.

To keep things interesting and simple, so far the plan will be for a combination of streetcar trackage plus elevated overhead. The streetcar track will consist of two parallel tracks with a cross over at each end of each module.

The style of elevated structure has yet to be determined, but I'm now leaning more towards Lake Street elevated as that would give me the most amount of clearance under the tracks. I would build the eastern style that has the columns at curbside.

The layout of the track:

At hen end of each module, as mentioned above, will be a crossover. I'll leave enough room to park a car at each end also after the turnout. 

I've decided to use # 3 turnouts with a track spacing of 3.25 inches. The templates for the # 3's were drawn with the track layout CAD program Templot. This program is certainly challenging to use, but I was able to persevere and get it to at least print a number 3. I certainly think the CSL equipment I have shouldn't have a problem negotiating this crossover.

The # 3 paper templates will also be used to construct the turnouts using Right-O-Way single point switch castings. Details on how I did that will follow in the next post.