February 7, 2015

Building the 3-way turnout

A productive modeler once told me: "Try to work on your railroad every day, even if it is only for a few minutes."

Taking that to heart, I decided to embark on the something I had been putting off for a few months: building the 3-way switch for the China Basin ferry dock.

I started with a set of paper FastTracks templates (http://www.handlaidtrack.com/Fast-Tracks-Printable-Track-Templates-s/11.htm), cut them up, and taped them together to get a reasonable looking three-way switch:

Using my Xuron flush cutters, files, and FastTracks PointForm/StockAid tools, I spent a few evenings cutting, filing, fitting, and soldering rails. I used Cloverhouse PCB tie strips (http://cloverhouse.com/Store/product_info.php?cPath=35_36&products_id=67) and MicroEngineering Code 40 Rail. I built from the middle rails to  the outer rails, which is the opposite of my usual build order.

First Frogs (#12)

Center Route (Point rails)

Building the Righthand Route

During the build process, it is critically important to check the turnout dimensions using an NMRA Standards gage. A piece of Rolling stock and/or truck is also very helpful.

After a few nights, I managed to get the rest of the rails in place:

At this point, you are probably saying, "Why the 3#@k is he using such long PCB ties?"  Well, they say that a picture is often worth 1,000 words, so here you go:

Next steps will be to get that nested set of points to throw properly... more on that soon.