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Tracklaying at Cowes



blog-0127322001417812330.jpgDespite my silence, there has been a lot of progress on the layout. As usual, each step forward has been accompanied by a step or steps backward. Tracklaying is well progressed at Cowes - I have switched from PCB construction to fully chaired construction. Firstly I tried C&L pointwork with plastic sleepers. Whilst these looked good, I experience a strange gauge reducing effect once they were completed. In the course of constructing a number of plastic-sleepered turnouts I learned a lot about the geometry of a turnout. I also learned that the assembled crossing vees (frogs) are to a finer standard than I am using, with 1mm flangeways instead of my standard of 1.2mm (which is the BSMB finescale standard and the DOGA intermediate standard). My "standard" for turnout construction now involves the following:-


Timber Tracks wooden bases

C&L plastic chairs (miraculously attached to the timber with Butanone)

C&L Code 75 bullhead rail

C&L crossing vees (minus wing rails)

C&L or Exactoscale point blades


and I now seem to be able to turn out reliable, running turnouts at the first attempt.


I do feel as though I could write a book about track construction now. The nadir was discovering that I couldn't use the ready made "frogs", and I was cursing the mess which is "OO" standards, before finally realising that maybe this is actually the joy of "OO" - that you can run so many different standards through the same trackwork.


Now I am onto ballasting, another learning curve.......................... again, I could write a (smaller) book about the various methods, but my standard is now


Woodland Scenics fine ballast in a variety of colours

Wetted with a solution of water and washing up liquid (being very careful not to dislodge the ballast with the flow)

Then covered with a 50/50 PVA/water solution


I am also using some seaside sand in the sidings - which has a pleasant variegated colouring.


Once the track is ballasted, weathered and generally primped and pampered, it will be on to wiring. And in the background I am already thinking about how to tackle Medina Wharf, in a very much reduced form. And also considering the Newport PCB trackwork (now fully finished and operating) and whether I should replace it all with the new standard. Ho hum..................... That's what happens when your standards improve as you work. You look back and the early stuff is just not up to snuff.


Usual disclaimer about the suppliers mentioned here - I'm just a satisfied customer and have no business interest in them.




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I tried rinsing the ballast with water before laying and it worked, with the advantage of not being subsequently moved.

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Can you tell me more? Do you mean the ballast was wet when you laid it? I find any form of moisture causes it to clump and also to stick on top of the sleepers which is what I aim to avoid. My ballast is ground fruit stones I believe. What type do you use? I am thinking of experimenting by increasing the ratio of washing up liquid to water to see if it will flow more freely into the ballast, without disturbing it.



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