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Building the stonemason siding and turnout

Richard T


blog-0676989001399676816.jpgThe stonemason siding is just 18' long, straight, and is made of 9' lengths of 12lb/yd rail (salvaged from the original mine tramway). It will have a wooden buffer stop, and be faced by the stone platform of the stonemason shed. It holds two short wagons.


The stonemason turnout has the curving road as the main line and the straight road leads to the siding. The curve radius is 33', and the turnout is curved through the 1:3 crossing vee. As with all the CMER turnouts it has loose-heeled switch rails. The turnout is made of 25lb/yd rail.


The turnout at Clachbeg was controlled using the usual switchstand with indicator disk. The turnout also forms part of the tiny, two-coach passenger platform, and therefore the turnout control was situated inside the passing loop rather than on the platform side. On the model this location could be hard to reach if high wagons occupied the inside loop, so the original switchstand will be controlled remotely from a repeater switchstand—without disk—at the layout’s edge.




I started off with the easy part: the siding. Just six sleepers and four 9' rails, all on one template. The 12lb/yd rail (Code 143) seems impossibly delicate after working with the heavier rail section.




The template of the stonemason turnout, some 25' long.




Checking that the timbers have been cut correctly and that the switchstand timbers are long enough. As can be seen from the scribbling on the template I have “shoved” timbers to achieve the right gap for the switchstand and then to fill the gap that created.




Aerial close-up of the crossing vee and wingrails, which went together without drama. I filed notches in the foot of each wingrail at the knuckle to facilitate a sharp bend.




Checking the fit of the wingrails.




Milling the stock rails. It all looks rather crude in this unforgiving close-up but ended up somewhat smoother. This was a first attempt with my Proxxon set-up; with a little care and patience it produces very acceptable, fine control, and the outcome is so much better than manual filing.




Checking the fit of switch rail and stock rail.




Last check of all the rails on the template before adding the sleepers. This is important as, once the sleepers have been laid, parallax makes checking rail fit rather hit-and-miss.


The scorch marks tell the tale of soldering the crossing vee with a gas-powered soldering iron.




I started by laying the crossing vee and then used gauges to work everything from that. The little engineer’s square is used to avoid parallax errors; usefully the crossing nose peeps over the sleeper by just a smidgin and is thus easy to locate.




Making up the fishplates for the stock rails and to fish the closure rails to the switch rails. Each fishplate is scribed four times to mark out the drilling spacing.




Drilling spacing crib sheet—by now the numbers are etched into my memory!




Feathering the edges of a tieplate. These are snipped from 8 thou (0.2 mm) tinplate and measure about a scale 6" × 9".




The six tieplates; I punch the holes with a bradawl, which dimples them before puncturing; I use hammer and anvil to flatten them again and then run a 1 mm drill bit through the holes to finish off.




Following the crossing vee, the straight stock rails were located using gauges, and then the curved stock rails, and then the wingrails. I check the alignment of the rails through the knuckle with a short straightedge.




The switch rails. I had not learned my lesson from last time, and faced two insurmountable problems here: how to bolt the loose-heel fishplates in the cramped space, and how to fit the stretcher bar to the switch rails... hmmm... In the end I pulled the spikes of the wing rails and the stock rails so I could connect the stretcher bar to the switch rails, then place the switch rail assembly in place with the stretcher bar underneath the stock rails, then fish the switch rails to the wing rails, then spike the wing rails down, then spike the stock rails back in place. Hopefully I’ve learnt the lesson now!




Marking the holes for the switchstand bolts.




The completed turnout including the switchstand and linkage to the stretcher bar. The locking handle has been removed from the switch stand, as this will be slaved to another stand (of which more later).




Test-fit on the baseboard. The gap in the foam board is of no importance. This was also the moment to check that the siding template fitted as planned.



The transition to the lighter rail of the siding. This time I remembered to compensate, using 1.5 mm plastic sheet under the siding template to lift it enough that the rail heads meet.




The two roads and their joints; in this view the raising of the siding template is visible. Everything lined up perfectly.




I was pleased to have reached this stage. Still not glued or fished.




Another view of the templates, still not connected but nicely aligned.




Glue for the turnout template.




After placing the template very carefully (it initially swims on the glue and it is important to check rail alignment) I weighted it down firmly and left it for an hour.


As I make progress in laying the track I shall have to store my scenic materials elsewhere...




The stonemason siding. The dimensions of the platform and stonemason’s shed are marked onto the baseboard. The buffer will follow too.




Another view of the siding. The far corner of the layout is hard to reach, and will be filled by the stonemason’s shed, nonetheless I shall have to add some scenery there. The vertical surface behind the buffer stop will be a stone retaining wall.




The siding glued in place.




The turnout control: in the foreground is the stand without indicator, connected to the indicator stand by a length of 0.5 mm florist’s wire in a brass tube.




Aerial view of the control layout. The tube will disappear under ballast. The templates are cut to the loading gauge, so there is not much room available. I had considered using point rodding, as can be seen sketched onto the templates, but decided that this would be just too complex, as I would have had to include working compensators for expansion and contraction... maybe next time!




Close-up of the foot of the indicator stand: the mechanics are as simple as can be.




The foot of the switchstand at the layout edge. It is still unattached to the mounting blocks.




Once I was satisfied that all the measurements were correct and the switch rails were being correctly thrown, I glued the tube into place.




A wider view of the switchstand inside the loop and its control at the layout edge.




The fitted turnout and siding. I still have to tin the fishplate bolt threads and then trim the bolts to length.




A view up the branch line and down the mine spur; the tracklaying is really bringing the layout to life.




A final view back up the branch line; this shows the deviating gradients nicely.



Next up is the pair of crossover turnouts leading to the goods siding and the headshunt...

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