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Shelf Island

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Trackwork - Standard Gauge




I have set up the standard gauge track to three different standards. The "main line" is Peco code 75, which I have chosen because it can run all of my trains. The quayside area is the same Peco track but with my own pointwork (HO-SF or thereabouts) to give a better appearance. The turnout and the 90-degree curve at the right hand end are Peco Setrack.



The Peco turnouts work well at the back of the layout, they are physically small and I am hoping this will give an illusion of some extra depth to the layout. The small size of these turnouts lets them fit into some very cramped locations. I modified these turnouts by cutting off the unwanted mountings for point motors and adding a strip of copperclad to hold them together.



Most of the plain track is Peco Streamline code 75, with the sleepers moved apart to give a lighter appearance, a little more representative of British practice. I set the gaps between the sleepers to about 5 mm, this gives a pitch of about 8.5 mm, which equates to 28 inches or so in 1:87 scale. On tight curves (which really they all are on a layout like this), I set the gap to 5 mm below the inner rail and let the sleepers splay apart.



My foray into hand-made turnouts all started with a Peco small radius left hand turnout which I had bought to try to "improve" and gave up on when I conceded it is easier to start from scratch and make a new one. The two hinged point blades had survived my worst attempts so I cut off the bottom half of the turnout, soldered on some copperclad timbers and made it into a trap point for the mine branch.



Then I took the Peco vee- and wing-rails from the common crossing, and made up my first copper clad turnout. This is now rather proudly installed at the end of the mine branch.



The copy of the Peco turnout went so well I went on to build the four turnouts for the quay side area. This is the last pair - the arrangement of the timbering is trying to show two sidings leaving a through line, not a crossover.




The siding to the depot (at the back of the quayside area) has a check rail to try to emphasise the curvature and to try to make the other curves look more gentle. The check rail is Peco code 60 (their IL-1) soldered onto brass pins pushed through the foam board. This rail is short enough to sit on top of the moulded rail fixings.



I have never built track or turnouts before, except a couple of the old SMP plastic-based kits back in the 1980s, and I suppose my biggest regret is not trying sooner - I am reasonably neat-fingered, and I was actually taught how to solder many years ago, but track construction isn't a black art and it is well worth having a go. In particular, in 00 and HO gauge there is so much slop in the RTR standards you have a head start straight way - if the gauge wanders out or in a bit from the nominal 16.5 mm you won't be able to see it and the trains won't notice it either. So far, the quay side area runs all of my trains I have tried.


This is my first layout where I have actually enjoyed laying the track. I think the reason is I have made the shape to fix the track onto myself (see baseboard), and I made some of the track myself too.


- Richard.



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