Trackwork

Some pictures and narrative on track construction. I'm using Aristo 332 brass purely from a cost standpoint. If I had the money, I'd of gone with nickel silver, but that isn't going to happen. Track floats in the ballast, which is chicken grit with a tad of dry mortar mixed in. Sub-base is B2. There aren't any specific pictures of the track as the construction wasn't rocket science. You can see it in a number of other photos in various places around the site. 

The first thing I tackled was the construction of Front Street.

This is the base coat of concrete for Front Street.
I was afraid of frost heave, so it's probably just a tad overbuilt. Bricks under, layer of rabbit fencing then 2 to 4 inches of concrete. Total length is about 20 feet x 27 inches wide = about 1200 pounds of mix and an aching back!

Looking toward City Park Curve. You can see one of the plastic clips, as well as how I removed much of the plastic tie strip. Some of the spray-on automotive undercoating is also visible on the sides of the rail. All rail joints in the street were soldered. Nails were set in at an angle to give the top coat something to hold on to.

Mix is still pretty wet, but you get an idea of the size of the flange ways that I used. Initial fears about leakage current from rail to rail were unfounded.

 
Here's a picture of the "Acme." The fingers are pieces of flooring shims. I narrowed them so the flange ways would have a taper like the real thing. The theory was that since the "fingers" are wedge shaped, that as the "Acme" was scooted along, it would more easily displace the wet mix. It worked well, although I ran it three or four times over each section to get the flangeways the way I wanted. You can see on the right where the wet mix ground off the paint and part of the float. 
Rube Goldberg would be proud!
Worm's-eye view of center of track. In addition to the "Acme" the cap from a cheap ballpoint pen came in
handy. The clip made a good digging tool to pry the mix out from under the rail head. Dremel tool did the rest!
 

The long viaduct, Howe truss and testle will feature hand-laid code 250. Although the Howe has been done for some time, the rest of that project will wait until 2005. There's a temporary span in place so the railroad's been in operation since mid-August.

Note: I eventually got some code 250 (and smaller) nickle-silver rail for these areas and used that to replace the aluminum. The performance is vastly improved. The cast-off aluminum is good for guard rails, and the occasional dioramas that I build for the trolley museum.

Some track switch modifications

I used the basic Aristo switches, but cut the stock rails to make real, hinged points about 3 ties back from the tie rod. Soldered tab of shim brass to the underside of the stock rail, drilled and tapped point for a 2-56 screw which serves as the pivot.

These have been in use since September, 2004. So far I haven't had any problems with the screws backing out. Now, the crappy switch motors that came with the switches was another matter. After a few operating seasons, I tossed them, for replacement with some more Rube Goldberg engineering. Go here for details.

Note: Switch points continue to perform well. An annual shot of WD40 on the sliding surfaces keeps things working nicely. Small pieces of ballast, trees and various other debris need to be swept out frequently. There'll be a new switch built for entering the Pomeroy yard. After all these years of operation, I've finally decided to take some spare rail and make a switch with a larger radius. 

After much trial and error fiddling, I decided I needed the tension provided by one of the old Aristo switch motors.I reconditioned one and mounted it upside down under the switch. I'm hoping that if I keep the area beneath it open, I'll have less problem with the elements effecting its operation. The ties are cambara.

Ties removed and general idea of what I want to do.

Initial cuts made. Rail ground for switchpoint.

Detail of ground side of switchpoint.

Frog being fabricated.

Brass plate used to solder all parts of frog together.

Frog finished, insulated joints installed.

Finished product. Photos at right show 3-48 threaded rod used to throw points as well as old Aristo switch motor installed under the ties.

 Finished product is here.

6/09

8/15