Sunday, June 30, 2013

Always Learning Something


For a while now I have been contemplating hand laying the track for Picton. After bugging a lot of people for information and then trying to convince myself that Peco code 83 is perfectly fine, I decided to take the plunge and ordered three No.8 point kits from the Proto 87 Store. I am not modelling in P87 however Andy (Proto 87 Store) offers high end 'Ultimate' point kits suitable for RP25-88 & 110 wheels.

Rob (Picton Blog) has built quite a few of these point kits and offered much advise. One of his tips was to utilise strategically placed copper clad sleepers in lieu of only using timber and glue. If anyone has built one of these only using glue and timber I would love to hear about your results and how robust the assembly ends up being.

The kit comes with a million etched tie plates which need to be cut then positioned between the sleeper and rail. These tie plates were soldered to the rail and sleeper very carefully so the spike detail was not lost in a pool of solder.

Using a Greg Edwards data sheet I found constructing the point fairly straight forward. It is not yet complete and not 100% perfect however for my first attempt I am pretty happy. I am having difficulty with gauge narrowing around the point blades. A set of wheels with properly set back to back dimensions have no problem tracking through however I still want my track work to be fairly universal. Maybe this is asking to much? 

Well, am I convinced that I need code 70 and 55 track? On one hand I think it looks better and having prototypical NSWGR track work is a plus but on the other is it really worth the amount of effort? Hopefully I can answer this for myself after building a few more.

I have included a few photos of the build so far along with a comparison shot of a Peco No.8 code 83 point. I am glad I have had a crack at this as I have always put building track in the too hard basket. Still to go are all the timber sleepers, check rails and throw bars, still a few hours in it Arrrrrrrg!

While on the subject of learning something, I attended the Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention yesterday. I had a great day and caught up with many people. One such person was Geoff, author of the Splitters Swamp Creek Blog. Geoff's scenery display was outstanding, I can only imagine how good the rest of his layout looks in the flesh! I will have to get up to Brisbane one of these days.

All the presentations I sat in on yesterday were very interesting. The military equipment lecture by Rohan Ferguson was impressive! I think Rohan probably knows more about armoured military equipment than the Army themselves! Very knowledgeable.

I think the operation lecture by Mark and Ben was very important. I don't think a lot of railway modellers have an appreciation of just how long operations take on 1:1 railways. It was great to get a run down on older era operations and an insight into marker light illumination meanings.

All in all a very good day and one I recommend to everyone. Thankyou to all the organisers, presenters and commercial stands for making it a great day.

Well that's it for now. Back to bashing my head on a wall in regards to track! If Micro Engineering made a No.8 point the decision would already be made. I used to be happy with code 100. What happened to that sensible bloke?

Thanks for reading this crap,


P.S. If I spelt anyone's name incorrectly in this post I am sorry. Your welcome to change your name so it reflects this post more accurately.


  1. Hi Linton,

    Without wishing to seem 'picky', the Stores kits will not accurately replicate NSWGR turnouts for a couple of reasons.

    1. I'm pretty sure all NSWGR turnouts had the large cast rail brace chairs around the point blades, instead of just metal plates as in the kits. Willing to stand corrected on this. It could very well be era dependant.

    2. Also depending on the era you are modelling, the rest of the rail apart from the point blade area may well have not been laid on metal plates. Again, willing to stand corrected.

    If you have photos of turnouts from your era, study them. To me, a feature of NSW turnouts are the 'beefiness' around the point blade area due to the rail brace chairs, something which the Stores kits and commercial turnouts just don't capture. Remember, the Stores kits are based on US prototype turnouts.

    I'll soon be commencing construction of the first of my detailed turnouts at Kankool. These will be built using P87 Stores point blades and frogs and Stephen Johnson Models rail brace chairs on PCB strips. Keep an eye out.



    1. Hi Ian,

      Not picky at all. That's why I stick this stuff on here!

      Yeah I would love to add the chairs to the stock rails in the point blade area. Are these still available from SJMs? Looking at photos these chairs are not huge, well not like the English versions.

      I am pretty sure all/most mainline type point work was constructed using sleeper plates all the way through. In the book Memories there is a good photo on page 47. The point on what I think is the main line most certainly has plates. In that photo it is also interesting that the track and set of points in the foreground don't seem to have plates? At this stage I will build all the main line points with plates and all the yard track work without until I find more information to do anything otherwise. It will be a lot easier to build without having to add all the plates!

      I will head up to the Moss Vale yard in the next few days and take a look at some of the timber sleepered track work up there.

      Looking forward to seeing your finished work and any photos that you may have.



    2. Linton,

      Getting the chairs out of SJM is sometimes like getting blood out of a stone!! All I can do is suggest you email Stephen. Send me a private email and I'll give you his contact details.


  2. Hi Linton,

    Gauge narrowing you mentioned around the point blade, can I ask did you bend the blade. In the trackwork manual there is a close up detail of the blades, you will see there is a kick in the blade at the 7 foot mark.
    Just a suggestion to this may be the prob.


    1. Hi Andrew,

      I didn't read the part about putting a kick in the blade. I noticed that the point manual says the point blade may be bent, if needed post throw bar installation. I did put a bend like they say in the curved stock rail just before where the point blade rests. The stock rail is then straight which I am guessing was to match the straight point blade section and after the blade section the stock rail curves. I thought the straight section in the stock rail was to maintain the correct gauge through the point blade portion. Maybe I didn't quite put a big enough kink in the stock rail?

      When I put the throw bar on I will give the point blade a nudge and see if it fixes it.

      Thanks for your help, much appreciated. I will dig out the Bowen Creek AMRM and have a closer look at how you guys did the point work.


  3. Linton,

    Further to Andrew's comment about bending the point blade, have a read of my post where I did mine. ( Here I explain about the need to bend the point blade so as to keep things straight and in gauge through that area. Pay particular attention to the drawing snippet from Greg Edwards' Trackwork manual.

    If you are using RP25 wheel standards, things around the point blades and vee crossing aren't as critical as they are with P87. That said however, the closer you build your turnouts to the prototype, the better your trains will run through them. It's amazing how much one can learn from prototype trackwork by studying drawings and photos and realising the relationship that wheels and rail have with each other.



    1. Thanks Ian,

      I had a look over your blog. I will give mine a little tweak. The gauge is only out by a tiny amount so it should do the trick.

      Yes, track geometry is quite an interesting subject. I am building the points to the AMRA fine scale standards. It seems I could go tighter on check rail tolerances though.

      Thanks for your advice, I will send you an email now about those chairs.


  4. Linton,

    I agree with your comments on the Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention. I also attended and listened to a number of interesting presentations. I found the presentation on mechanical signalling very informative. And like you, I found the comments on the time taken for operations to be an 'eye opener'. I didn't attend Rohan's presentation but I did sneak a look at his display. The engineer plant brought back a few memories.


  5. Would have been good to meet you Phil! I guess my profile picture doesn't help anyone recognise me ha ha.

  6. C'mon you look just like your photo! It was great to catch up on the day, thanks for the kind words. The point work looks real good! Geoff

    1. Ha ha, yeah just like the profile pic. Next I will be singing in German and running around in red budgie smugglers. I will try and make my way up to Brisbane in the not too distant future for one of your running days!


  7. Hi Linton
    Glad you enjoyed the convention, it's the culmination of twelve months work that's all over in twelve hours ! Have started on next years (31) already!
    Im using FastTracks #7's on Cambewarra in NSW pattern (allegedly) with cade 70 ME rail. First couple of sets were a bit rough but done twenty sets now and producing a much better turnout, which is good because I have about 120 more sets to go ! Glad I stocked up on parts before the $ headed south, still have to order the boards from Tam Valley yet so hopefully will improve a bit in the near future.
    Look forward to seeing your results.