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Laying the station entrance turnout: part one

Richard T


Finally I am tackling a turnout, the first I have scratch built in two decades. Having spent a couple of days procrastinating and reading whatever I could find about turnout building I decided it was time to take the plunge and stop worrying about getting it wrong.


The planned sequence of events is to bend and cut and shape the rails, then to cut and stain the sleepers, then to fix the sleepers to the template, then to spike the rails in place, remembering to arrange for the switch stand to throw the switch rails.


This is the station entrance turnout, built with 25-lb/yd (Code 205) flat-bottomed rail; it is curved, the minimum radius is 34' (756 mm), and it will have loose-heeled switch rails. It is a curved crossing, meaning that the diverging road is curved through the crossing, while the main road has a straight section about 2' before and after the crossing vee (this caught me out when I bent the rails). The turnout timbering is 8" wide (14.8 mm), so plenty of room for spikes.




The turnout is part of a larger formation which includes the mine turnout.




This shows the entrance turnout. It consists of twelve rails: as it is about 25' long and the maximum rail length used on the CMER is 15', there are four stock rails; then there are two wing rails, two check rails, two running rails and two switch rails. It will require eight fishplates in itself and about 140 spikes.




The stock rails are complete, as is the outer check rail. For the avoidance of later confusion I mark each rail with a letter (A to L in this case) as well as the joint numbers at each end.




This view shows the angle in the diverging stock rail. I bent this simply by holding one end in the vice and bending the rail (held firmly against a short steel rule) by hand and by eye; two adjustments only were needed. There is more science on paper, but I think this will be accurate enough and as accurate as the original most likely was... The diverging stock rail is straight as far as the switch rail heels and then curves.




The crossing vee soldered up. Filing was done largely with an eight-inch file and by eye, with frequent reference to the template. The Code 205 rail is substantial, but on the other hand firm enough that I was able to file robustly and quickly. While soldering I used pins in the baseboard to hold all in place—the holes are still visible. I then turned it over and—after bracing it with two scraps of brass strip which I later removed—soldered from the underside too to ensure a strong joint.




Loose assembly of the crossing vee with wing rails, stock rails and check rails. The straight section in the outer (main) road stock rail as it passes the crossing is clear in this perspective. The guard rails have long flares rather than being filed—this is prototypical for the CMER.




All of the fixed rails are complete in this view; the crossing vee running rails still need to be trimmed, and then the switch rails are next.




First switch rail and its stock rail. I transferred the markings from the template for two sections to file on each rail: the foot only, and then both the foot and the head. In this view I have filed the rebate in the inner stock rail too,




Close-up of the mating surfaces of the stock rail and its switch rail. I aimed to file the stock rail back until the file touched the web, whereas I filed the switch rail until the web almost disappeared. To hold the switch rail for filing I cut a suitable oblique groove in a piece of scrap wood and clamped the rail upside-down into the groove, then filed the rail as it protruded at a gentle angle from the edge of the wood. All of this was marked up by eye, but seems to be accurate enough.




The result of the careful filing and a number of trial fittings.




Both switch rails completed. Next up will be the timbers.

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