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Track laying part 2

wenlock

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blog-0278890001396433409.jpgOnce happy with the alignment of the paper template, the "flow" of the point work and I'd glued the cork underlay in position, permanent track fixing could begin. The paper template was cut from under the points and then each point was put back in position on top of the cork. When building the points I deliberately left the rail over long, to allow for some fine tuning of the point's relative positions.

 

Point and Double Slip with over long rail

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The rail was trimmed back to the correct length using a fine cut abrasive disc until the points aligned correctly. Dropper wires were soldered to the underneath of both stock rails and the frog, to allow electrical feeds to be attached to these at a latter date. The point was then offered back into place and the position of these electrical feeds was marked onto the cork. Holes were then drilled through the baseboard using these marks to get the correct positioning. A similar procedure was used to position the hole in the baseboard needed below the point's tie bar. Copydex latex adhesive was then used to glue the pointwork into its final position.

 

Point and Double Slip glued into final position

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This process was repeated for the remainder of the pointwork on the layout.

 

Overall view of layout from Fiddle Yard end

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Overall view of layout from incline end

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Although I've built points before during my 4mm modelling days, I've always used ready to lay flexitrack for the plain track between them. On this 7mm project I've decided for a number of reasons that I'm going to build the plain track using the same method as I've used for the point construction, ie wooden sleepers, C&L chairs and rail etc. http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/1131/entry-9887-first-7mm-315mm-gauge-point-completed-well-nearly-anyway/ My reasons for making this decision are as follows :-

 

The pointwork is built to 31.5mm gauge and I like the the fact that this gives less side play between the stocks wheels and the rail. Flexi Track is only available in 32mm gauge.

 

The pointwork was constructed using C&L GWR type 2 bolt chairs. As far as I'm aware Flexitrack is only available with 3 bolt chairs and this difference would eventually irritate me!

 

I've always had problems matching the final colour of the sleepers between the wooden sleepered points and the plastic sleepered plain track because of the dissimilar materials used.

 

I want the finished track to look as if it's been built from 60 foot rail lengths, with the sleeper spacing decreasing and wider sleepers used either side of the rail joints.

 

I've decided I quite enjoy building track!

 

In order to achieve the correct sleeper spacing and to speed up the construction of the track, I decided to build a simple jig. I used an off cut of chip board as a base and then cut pieces of balsa wood to the width indicated on the C&L track template. These were glued in position onto the chipboard base using PVA woodworking glue. A length of balsa was also cut and glued into position to act as an end stop for the sleepers. Another length of balsa was glued on top of the sleeper spacer blocks to dictate the position of the plastic chairs.

 

Track construction jig

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The jig is used by first sliding the wooden sleepers into the gaps between the balsa blocks. The chairs are threaded onto a length of rail and then positioned on top of the sleepers and pressed against the top balsa strip. Butanone is then used as a solvent to melt the base of the plastic chairs and attach them to the wooden sleepers.

 

Sleepers in situ in jig

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Rail and chairs in position in jig

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Once dry the bond between the wooden sleepers and the plastic chair is surprisingly good, I know this because I tried to "unstick" some chairs that I'd put in the wrong place during point construction and it took a scalpel and a fair bit of force to remove them! The half track is then removed from the jig and ready for laying in position on the baseboard.

 

Half track ready for laying

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Once the half track has been laid in position on the baseboard, track laying gauges will be used to fix the other rail into position on top of the sleepers. I've made up a few lengths of half track using the jig, so hopefully should get the main line laid fairly shortly if all goes to plan!

 

Best wishes

 

Dave

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Hi Dave,

The trackwork is looking very good, I particularly like the double slip.

 

However,

 

 

...I want the finished track to look as if it's been built from 60 foot rail lengths, with the sleeper spacing decreasing and wider sleepers used either side of the rail joints...

This will not match your stock. The GWR didn't introduce 60' panels until 1929, and it would have been some time before it appeared on branch lines. You would be much more likely to find earlier shorter panels and nothing longer than 44'6" with 19 sleepers. Even that is unlikely as it was only introduced in 1898. More likely would be 23' (8 sleepers), 26' (9 sleepers), 29' (10 sleepers) or 32' (11 sleepers), all of which were progressively introduced through the 1870s. The 32' panels were increased to 12 sleepers in 1882. All dates propbably imply when they first used on main lines.

 

There's a table listing these types and their sleeper spacings on p147 of GWW. If you don't have a copy I can let you have the sleeper spacings for each type.

 

Nick

 

ps. When first laid, the 1870s types often used inside-keyed chairs.

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not tempted to try just turning the half track round in the jig and doing the other side? - how good is your jig :)

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Dave,

 

I was going to mention that 60' lengths of rail would be inappropriate for your period but Nick's beaten me to it.

 

Lovely looking point work though.

 

Ian

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Hi Dave,

The trackwork is looking very good, I particularly like the double slip.

 

However,

 

 

 

This will not match your stock. The GWR didn't introduce 60' panels until 1929, and it would have been some time before it appeared on branch lines. You would be much more likely to find earlier shorter panels and nothing longer than 44'6" with 19 sleepers. Even that is unlikely as it was only introduced in 1898. More likely would be 23' (8 sleepers), 26' (9 sleepers), 29' (10 sleepers) or 32' (11 sleepers), all of which were progressively introduced through the 1870s. The 32' panels were increased to 12 sleepers in 1882. All dates propbably imply when they first used on main lines.

 

There's a table listing these types and their sleeper spacings on p147 of GWW. If you don't have a copy I can let you have the sleeper spacings for each type.

 

Nick

 

ps. When first laid, the 1970s types often used inside-keyed chairs.

Hi Nick, glad you like the slip and very glad you've let me know about the incorrect rail length! I'd much rather change the jig at this stage and get the track panels right, rather than have have to change things once the track is laid!

I don't have a copy of Great Western Way, issues like this incorrect spacing mean I'd better try and get hold of a copy as soon as possible. It would be really useful if you could send me the sleeper spacings for each type. I think I remember reading that the GWR replaced their rail every 19 or 20 years, so I suppose as I'm modelling 1905, then panels from around 1885 would be appropriate for my layout. In light of the information that you've given me, the 32 foot, 11 sleeper panels sound to me about right for a branch line situation.

 

Any further information about this subject would be much appreciated!

 

ps. I take it your ps should have read 1870s rather than 1970s, I was imagining Victorian navies wearing flares and a snorkel parker!!

 

Thanks once again for your help

 

Best wishes

 

Dave

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not tempted to try just turning the half track round in the jig and doing the other side? - how good is your jig :)

Not that good! I'd much rather rely on Deb's nice shiny brass jigs, than my dodgy balsa one!

 

Dave

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...It would be really useful if you could send me the sleeper spacings for each type...

I'll send you a PM

 

..I think I remember reading that the GWR replaced their rail every 19 or 20 years, so I suppose as I'm modelling 1905, then panels from around 1885 would be appropriate for my layout...

On branch lines it could be much longer. For example, the Camerton branch was opened in 1880 with a mile of 72lb flat-bottom and 2.5 miles of double-headed 82lb inside keyed track. The latter was still there in the 1930s, though they may have some replaced some rails and/or sleepers by then.

 

...In light of the information that you've given me, the 32 foot, 11 sleeper panels sound to me about right for a branch line situation...

That's probably a good compromise. The GWW figures don't cover all possibilities, though. The track in Camerton station appears to have 13 sleepers in each panel. A siding added in 1907/8 when the line was extende had 12 sleepers per panel with outside keys, presumably the 1882 type.

 

...ps. I take it your ps should have read 1870s rather than 1970s, I was imagining Victorian navies wearing flares and a snorkel parker!!

It was indeed a typo -- fixed now.

 

Nick

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I doubt that the track would have been perfect in 1905 or indeed until much later when machine assembled track panels started to come to the fore.  However hard it is tried, humans don't manage to get to this level which is one of the reasons handbuilt track looks so much better on my eye.

 

Whilst the GWR were I am sure much grander than my interests, the sleepers on the Highland even at the end of their existence often had palpable memories that they were once trees, they included rounded sections and bark!

 

In addition, the plastic chairs will allow the rail to slide a little, so you can still form the curves with fully preassembled track if you wish.

 

Looks good though.

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A fascinating post, Dave, with some very nice illustrative shots. Your jig may be homemade but I like the simplicity of it.

 

Thanks to Nick also for the very useful info on track.

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Dave,

 

I was going to mention that 60' lengths of rail would be inappropriate for your period but Nick's beaten me to it.

 

Lovely looking point work though.

 

Ian

Thanks Ian, In light of your and Nick's information, a little jig rebuilding is definitely called for!

 

I doubt that the track would have been perfect in 1905 or indeed until much later when machine assembled track panels started to come to the fore.  However hard it is tried, humans don't manage to get to this level which is one of the reasons handbuilt track looks so much better on my eye.

 

Whilst the GWR were I am sure much grander than my interests, the sleepers on the Highland even at the end of their existence often had palpable memories that they were once trees, they included rounded sections and bark!

 

In addition, the plastic chairs will allow the rail to slide a little, so you can still form the curves with fully preassembled track if you wish.

 

Looks good though.

Thanks P T, modelling the Highland sounds like it could be an interesting challenge, Im not sure how I'd go about representing bark in 7mm though!

 

You're quite right about the flexibility of the track with both rails in situ, it's easy to get it to bend to the required radius.

 

A fascinating post, Dave, with some very nice illustrative shots. Your jig may be homemade but I like the simplicity of it.

 

Thanks to Nick also for the very useful info on track.

Thanks Mikkel, glad you enjoyed the post. It looks like I'm going to be busy making a mark 2 jig for 11 sleeper 32 foot panels!

 

Yep, Nick is a handy chap to know if you dabble in the mysteries of the Great Western Railway!

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Graham Beare (Western Star) wrote some useful entries on 1890s GW Permanent Way my blog three years ago when I thought the first segment for Basilica was going to be the Metropolitan & Widened Lines with a GW siding off the former. Plenty of pointers towards source material, drawings and modelling info. Worth a look? Links to individual posts below. I will be returning to Artillery Lane and Gun Street in the future.

 

GW PW for Gun Street depot part 1 PW and S&C practice for the GW in the 1890s - sources.

 

GW PW for Gun Street depot part 2 PW and S&C practice for sidings in the 1890s including drawings from Harvie (1898)

 

GW PW in the Victorian period

 

GW chairs

 

Modelling the PW for Basilica Fields includes GW 32ft rail & 13 sleepers

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Thanks for posting those links, Adrian. Some very useful info there including a couple of sources I wasn't aware of. It's strange that the table in GWW doesn't include the 32' 13 sleeper variant as it appears to have been quite widespread, both with inside and outside keys. Of course, it's not the only omission in that book...

 

Nick

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Graham Beare (Western Star) wrote some useful entries on 1890s GW Permanent Way my blog three years ago when I thought the first segment for Basilica was going to be the Metropolitan & Widened Lines with a GW siding off the former. Plenty of pointers towards source material, drawings and modelling info. Worth a look? Links to individual posts below. I will be returning to Artillery Lane and Gun Street in the future.

 

GW PW for Gun Street depot part 1 PW and S&C practice for the GW in the 1890s - sources.

 

GW PW for Gun Street depot part 2 PW and S&C practice for sidings in the 1890s including drawings from Harvie (1898)

 

GW PW in the Victorian period

 

GW chairs

 

Modelling the PW for Basilica Fields includes GW 32ft rail & 13 sleepers

 

Many thanks from me as well for posting this Adrian! I only wish I'd read these posts before I made my jig! Graham's track looks superb, I'm not sure I'm up to painting the individual chair keys for my project though!

 

Dave

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I'm not sure I'm up to painting the individual chair keys ...

You can only paint keys if there are keys to be painted! Some of the Board of Trade reports into mishaps on the GER circa 1860-1880 make mention of the lack of chair fastenings and absence of fishplates with one report recording a lack of keys.

 

Still, painting the keys has given Adrian and I something to argue over - just what colour does one paint a weathered Oak key?

 

* silver grey as that is the colour of aged and weathered oak?

* sludge black with a hint of Humbrol Gunmetal Metalcote to suggest keys covered in oil?

* dirty brown with a dash of orange to reflect chairs which have become stained from the rust of the rails?

 

No discussion needed - all of the above have been found in colour photographs of Old Oak Common yard in the mid 1960s so all are prototypical.

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You can only paint keys if there are keys to be painted! Some of the Board of Trade reports into mishaps on the GER circa 1860-1880 make mention of the lack of chair fastenings and absence of fishplates with one report recording a lack of keys.Still, painting the keys has given Adrian and I something to argue over - just what colour does one paint a weathered Oak key?* silver grey as that is the colour of aged and weathered oak?* sludge black with a hint of Humbrol Gunmetal Metalcote to suggest keys covered in oil?* dirty brown with a dash of orange to reflect chairs which have become stained from the rust of the rails?No discussion needed - all of the above have been found in colour photographs of Old Oak Common yard in the mid 1960s so all are prototypical.

This post sums up exactly why I love being a part of RmWeb! Where else could you get a topic so esoteric, that it involves the discussion of the colour of Victorian railway chair keys! Good on you Graham!

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