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DavidMcKenzie
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I hope you recover well and down time allows some modelling. The points are brilliant in FB on concrete bases - I have built one and have several part done but these are not to hand due to lockdown!  Taking time and not rushing is the key. I built several of the wooden ones for fun as well. 

Joiners - There was a suggestion of an etch but I played with the 2mmfs brass cast sleepers intended for baseboard edges - being cut to provide insulation.  Rail can be soldered to it an a drilling and fitting a brass dropper through baseboard a discrete connection can be made.

By using two connected by the web yet still cut through would allow joining rails and aid continuity.  You do need to be a a member to buy but all the other goodies normally available  make it worth it. - NB shop and its sub sections are volunteer run and a subject to the current vagueries  caused by the COV 19 restrictions.

Take care 

Robert 

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On 29/10/2020 at 23:02, njee20 said:

The thing for me with code 40 isn’t so much the sleeper spacing or the reduced rail height (although both are brought into stark relief by your comparison picture!) but as you say on turnouts being able to have long, flowing formations. 

 

On 29/10/2020 at 23:57, scottystitch said:

Visually the Finetrax turnouts are the real clincher. No hinge, no cut out in the sleeper base to accommodate the swinging switch rails. They look like real turnouts. 
 

Best

 

Scott

 

On 07/11/2020 at 08:50, Pete the Elaner said:

Don't worry about your soldering. I am sure you wouldn't be thinking about building points if you were not up for the challenge.

 

The only problem will be when you look at code 55 or N gauge pointwork, your attention will be drawn to how far the check rails are from the running rails.

 

On 07/11/2020 at 09:05, scottystitch said:


The soldering with regards the Finetrax turnouts isn’t too involved. The first part is to do with strengthening the switch rails before filing down and so doesn’t need to be too elegant (although you’re soldering will get prettier with practice). The challenge with the switch rails is ensuring you have a nice smooth point without filing too far through the rail.

 

the other soldering part is securing the inner part of the switch blade to the plate which then attaches to the slide bar. Again, the finishing filing is more critical. 
 

After I did one it all became clear. I’d say patience whilst filing is the absolute key. 
 

The other thing I do with the turnout kits is dab a bit of paint on each sleeper of the baseplate which corresponds with the colour of the appropriate chairs in the instructions, if that makes sense. I.e. the sleepers that require a red chair are dabbed with a red spot of paint. It means you don’t need to keep referring to the instructions when attaching the chairs. 

EDIT: image attached. You can’t see the yellow dabs very well but they are there...

image.jpeg.4473b4ea0c1783724081ad0e7ea466b3.jpeg

 

best

 

Scott. 

 

I can only agree with the above comments, the code40 points really are a lot better (visually at least, not tested the workings) when compared to the longest peco points below. This is also only the CV10, the EV15 looks even sleeker and more realistic for anyone who has the space. 

 

IMG_20201110_185602.jpg.1ac23241eeeb9f899bf871d98803bf6a.jpg

 

Thanks for the useful tips Scott. I especially liked the tip for marking the sleepers with a different colour depending on the required chair, saved a lot of time and a lot of counting :).

 

Slow and steady progress with the points. Still got three more to build, but it's an enjoyable job. 

 

Thanks also for the tips with regards to not needing the rail joiners. The fast lines (the two on the right in the photo) are all ready for droppers to be soldered and very stable. Some different size rolling stock has run over the length of the track and had no derailments so far.

 

IMG_20201110_185518.jpg.43715edd3e4c3df1c0c32a8bdf7ca9ae.jpg

 

Thanks again for all the tips. All the best,

 

Dave

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On 11/11/2020 at 09:52, Robert Shrives said:

I hope you recover well and down time allows some modelling. The points are brilliant in FB on concrete bases - I have built one and have several part done but these are not to hand due to lockdown!  Taking time and not rushing is the key. I built several of the wooden ones for fun as well. 

Joiners - There was a suggestion of an etch but I played with the 2mmfs brass cast sleepers intended for baseboard edges - being cut to provide insulation.  Rail can be soldered to it an a drilling and fitting a brass dropper through baseboard a discrete connection can be made.

By using two connected by the web yet still cut through would allow joining rails and aid continuity.  You do need to be a a member to buy but all the other goodies normally available  make it worth it. - NB shop and its sub sections are volunteer run and a subject to the current vagueries  caused by the COV 19 restrictions.

Take care 

Robert 

Thanks for this Robert, by 2mmfs do you mean the 2mmfs sale association? Great tip. I don't live in the uk and don't get to as many meetings as I would like so it's always good to see what available online. I would never have even noticed they existed without your post and they look to have a whole load of interesting things in the shop. 

 

All the best,

Dave

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On 10/11/2020 at 15:34, shanks522 said:


hi Dave, 

 

 for once I’m going simple, After seeing your track i think I’m going to give code 40 a go, looked on the fine scale site and absolutely love the large radius points, Two track main line with a goods loop I think. 

Graham. 

 

Sounds great. The code 40 track has been a lot more work and is not plug and play. But I am sure well within your modelling skills and visually a big improvement. If you start a blog be sure to let me know, I'd enjoy following your progress. 

 

All the best,

Dave

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4 hours ago, njee20 said:

The only thing which jars a bit visually for me with the Finetrax turnouts is the cast frog, although they do look better blackened. I can’t decide whether to use Finetrax or handbuild on PCB sleepers.

 

Complete agree about the cast frog. I was looking at it thinking you could probably drill holes for some extra chairs and run the switch blade rail a bit further back (similar to the peco point actually) and then cut the cast frog to only use the 'V' of it. In the end have given up on the that plan for now and will leave it as an idea for the future. It was already ambitious with my modelling skills to build my own points and I will try my best to hide the cast frog with some clever paint work later on. 

 

All the best,

Dave

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Hi Dave,

 

Your progressing very quickly, the Finetrax point looks so much better compared with the Peco offering. You have got me thinking about swapping the 4 points in the middle of Dallam. Not sure if they would marry upto the code 55 though?

 

These are the points in question. 

 

Cheers

 

Simon

 

 

20201005_122517.jpg

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57 minutes ago, 87023Velocity said:

Hi Dave,

 

Your progressing very quickly, the Finetrax point looks so much better compared with the Peco offering. You have got me thinking about swapping the 4 points in the middle of Dallam. Not sure if they would marry upto the code 55 though?

 

These are the points in question. 

 

Cheers

 

Simon

 

 

20201005_122517.jpg

 

Hi Simon,

 

It's definitely a section of track that would show off the long sweeping points very well. I don't know if you have any space limitations or exactly the prototype lengths, but the longest EV15 points would look very much at home there. 

 

As for the practical side, I have tried to take a few pictures (sorry poor quality mobile phone pics). But hopefully it'll help. The rail height is much lower, but I don't think this would be such an issue if the points have something to sit on that brings the heights to equal. 

 

From the top view the rails are very similar spacing and rail thickness (code 55 very marginally thicker). Neither the code 40 or 55 track in the photos has the ends finished nicely and it's just a crude cut with track cutters. But I am sure with a file you would easily make something that would allow trains to run over trouble free and visually not stand out. I am going to need to do that same kind of junction between code 40 & 55 at some point when I get around to the fiddle yard baseboards because I don't have the patience to build points for the fiddle yard section as well. 

 

Rail height difference, both code 40 & 55 sitting on baseboard

110728233_IMG_20201113_1136592.jpg.abeaa11c911e454ea7fe4559d327dbdc.jpg

 

Rail height difference with code 40 sitting on a packer to bring top of rail to same height

418374949_IMG_20201113_1137403.jpg.ca517b64e78f86bb4867ae793a0fb718.jpg

 

Top view 

750305007_IMG_20201113_1138012.jpg.43f72cec66731f26bbd8a04f240ab404.jpg

 

All the best,

Dave

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I shoehorned some handbuilt turnouts into a pre-built (albeit not ballasted) layout; I used Micro Engineering code 55 rail (thinking the head would match the Peco "code 55"), but it didn't - as Dave's photo shows, the Peco rail actually has a nice narrow head, the code 55 was markedly wider. So yes, I think if you can overcome the height difference you'd be away using Finetrax!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I forgot how time consuming picking out each chair and painting track is. But slowly making progress. All 6 points are made now. Still need to test them with a train or two yet, but visually the long flowing junction was the reason for all the effort so it's nice to see it taking shape. 

 

Junction loosely laid out with the points back to back

140810167_IMG_20201117_1554232.jpg.ece518e18554144e21eb315e8e98e44e.jpg

 

The base colour and picking out the chairs

431020548_IMG_20201122_1744012.jpg.b1a86c6e45be8b9a11722cdd6112bfc4.jpg2055788096_IMG_20201122_1743292.jpg.e95bc34c63ba32968b4e23367697fdf2.jpg

 

And then the first bit of weathering (final weathering will be done after setting in place and graveling etc.)

416740274_IMG_20201122_1842292.jpg.bf5027e059b3e1554d85ea6ed359b33e.jpg1561344762_IMG_20201122_1848182.jpg.910135e93df4c11d7a4ddfd479f2677e.jpg

 

All the best,

Dave

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Track is slowly going down. It's been a much longer process than using pecos track, but it's starting to slowly take shape. Nothing's glued down yet, but the droppers hold the track reasonably well in place for now. The points still stand out at the moment because they have been weathered more than the track. The last section of the slow line into the station and the droppers on the fast line need adding before trains can run.

 

1768028306_IMG-20201129-WA00052.jpg.12df25297e3674976a6a2ebc2ae40108.jpg

 

1974123574_IMG-20201129-WA00062.jpg.0995c0507f936c6e406abc399cd6f690.jpg

 

1875120771_IMG-20201129-WA00072.jpg.5b89558f4fb2794e349ceeb67af00a1b.jpg

 

All the best,

Dave

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41 minutes ago, DavidMcKenzie said:

Track is slowly going down. It's been a much longer process than using pecos track, but it's starting to slowly take shape. Nothing's glued down yet, but the droppers hold the track reasonably well in place for now. The points still stand out at the moment because they have been weathered more than the track. The last section of the slow line into the station and the droppers on the fast line need adding before trains can run.

 

All the best,

Dave

 

Hi Dave,

Looking good.  Cant hurry perfection you know :) Seriously, I think the time offset between the quickness of Peco and the slowness of Finetrax will pay dividends for the scene and its worth taking the time.  The same is going for my 2FS stuff (still on practicing the scratch/hand building of points at the moment) but the speed issue isn't a problem as even with track down there is work to do on the loco and carriage fleet!  For both of us the old adage of 'everything comes to he who waits' probably holds true.

 

Like the new scene though, its going to be fascinating to see things heading through there as you progress with the scenic side, and knowing how good your previous layout way (I still go back and regularly look through the pics!) the bar has been set high!

 

Rich

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Hi Dave,

I have been following your progress with great interest. I think your layout demonstrates the pros and cons of Finetrax. I have both track and points kits, I have assembled a turnout and some plain track, (bullhead and flatbottom rail). While there can be no argument about the improved appearance of the plain track and turnouts I think when I start on a new project I will be making my own turnouts from pcb sleepers etc to templot templates while using the Finetrax system for the plain track.

My problem with the Finetrax turnouts is the fixed geometry- whereas on the prototype curves flow through turnouts. I have the same problem on Shirebrook with the fixed geometry of the code 55 Peco turnouts... using Finetrax turnouts would not solve this problem. This is most noticeable at the double track junction on Shirebrook where the lines to High Marnham turn sharply away from the Shirebrook-Worksop route.

48996390593_ed009ee5b7_o.jpg.b9c22037f77b1a98d48f956949860de6.jpg

 

To improve the appearance I would need to hand build a curved switched diamond, then the curve could be continous rather than having the 'flat' where I have used the fixed geometry diamond.

Having said that , I am looking forward to your continuing progress and I do like what you have achieved so far.

Cheers

Duncan

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Still watching with interest.

 

Presumably when you come to build the fiddle yard it will be easier/cheaper to use ready built points. Assuming you can transition from finetrax back to Peco off scene?

 

Also (sorry if I've missed it in the thread) will you need to do anything to your stock to get it to run?

 

Tim.

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Finetrax will work with any reasonably new models (i.e. less than 15 years old). You may struggle with the pizza cutter wheels of pre-Bachmann Farish models (i.e. anything with silver wheel rims). Likewise older Lima and Minitrix will be running on the sleepers.

 

Duncan makes a fair point about the Finetrax points. Whilst there's no doubt they look better than Peco's ready to use range they're still fixed geometry which the real things rarely are/were.

 

Steven B.

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On 29/11/2020 at 12:42, shanks522 said:

Looking very nice David, I’ve finally bitten the bullet and ordered some track and points thanks to your progress, wish me luck. 
 

Graham. 

Hi Graham, very much looking forward to seeing how you progress with your new layout. If you have any questions when you are assembling the track or points then don't hesitate to ask. I was totally lost to start with but after a lot of advice from different people it's all started to make sense.

 

On 29/11/2020 at 13:12, MarshLane said:

 

Hi Dave,

Looking good.  Cant hurry perfection you know :) Seriously, I think the time offset between the quickness of Peco and the slowness of Finetrax will pay dividends for the scene and its worth taking the time.  The same is going for my 2FS stuff (still on practicing the scratch/hand building of points at the moment) but the speed issue isn't a problem as even with track down there is work to do on the loco and carriage fleet!  For both of us the old adage of 'everything comes to he who waits' probably holds true.

 

Like the new scene though, its going to be fascinating to see things heading through there as you progress with the scenic side, and knowing how good your previous layout way (I still go back and regularly look through the pics!) the bar has been set high!

 

Rich

 

Thanks Rich, this will be a very different challenge to my last layout and I am looking forward to having a go at some of the modelling specific to a town layout. 

 

On 29/11/2020 at 13:25, porkie said:

Looking great David. 

 

The code 40 track work looks awesome. 

 

Thanks Porkie, looking forward to seeing a section with gravel and weathering at some point before too long for a proper comparison to the pecos track. Everything has that 'half finisher's look at the moment, but it looks like a good basis for a model. 

 

On 29/11/2020 at 13:42, Duncan. said:

Hi Dave,

I have been following your progress with great interest. I think your layout demonstrates the pros and cons of Finetrax. I have both track and points kits, I have assembled a turnout and some plain track, (bullhead and flatbottom rail). While there can be no argument about the improved appearance of the plain track and turnouts I think when I start on a new project I will be making my own turnouts from pcb sleepers etc to templot templates while using the Finetrax system for the plain track.

My problem with the Finetrax turnouts is the fixed geometry- whereas on the prototype curves flow through turnouts. I have the same problem on Shirebrook with the fixed geometry of the code 55 Peco turnouts... using Finetrax turnouts would not solve this problem. This is most noticeable at the double track junction on Shirebrook where the lines to High Marnham turn sharply away from the Shirebrook-Worksop route.

48996390593_ed009ee5b7_o.jpg.b9c22037f77b1a98d48f956949860de6.jpg

 

To improve the appearance I would need to hand build a curved switched diamond, then the curve could be continous rather than having the 'flat' where I have used the fixed geometry diamond.

Having said that , I am looking forward to your continuing progress and I do like what you have achieved so far.

Cheers

Duncan

Hi Duncan,

 

totally agree with you and I think if I was to use finetrax again in the future (now I have a bit more experience) I would consider using a lot of their parts to build my own pcb based points where needed.

 

I have tried to make the track plan, where possible, to utilize the templates they provide for points. On a small layout like I am doing it's not been such a limitation. But on something like your wonderful Shirebrook where a prototype is being modeled you don't have that luxury and the small additional work to do your own pcb points would make a big difference on the final result. It would also allow you do a better job on the frog than the cast version i have used. 

 

On 29/11/2020 at 18:10, Timmy84 said:

Still watching with interest.

 

Presumably when you come to build the fiddle yard it will be easier/cheaper to use ready built points. Assuming you can transition from finetrax back to Peco off scene?

 

Also (sorry if I've missed it in the thread) will you need to do anything to your stock to get it to run?

 

Tim.

Hi Tim,

 

I am hoping to do the junction between code 40 and 55 at the baseboard split. I am not making the mistake I made last time of building this layout attached to the house and this means baseboard joins are needed. The difference in height between code 40 and 55 is shown on a previous post and although not perfect, they are problems that can be overcome and being off the scenic section it only need to be a practical join. 

 

For stock, as Steven says, most of the new stuff should be fine. I have some old 90s and 87s (which I will have to make do with until some one releases an update) which will need looking at. Simon's kind advice a few posts back will make me test all locos before ripping all the 90s and 87s wheels off because it sounds like only the Poole built models will be an issue and not the China built ones. At some point before too long I am hoping trains will run on the layout and I will be able to give you a model detailed list of what hasn't worked for me. 

 

All the best,

Dave

 

Edited by DavidMcKenzie
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On 30/11/2020 at 15:13, DavidMcKenzie said:

Please excuse the typos in the above text. You don't seem to be able to edit things anymore after posting.

 

Hi David,

Yes you can - the Edit button is at the top of each of your own posts on the right hand side by the three dots ... that Google seems to have decided is common sense for 'More', and everyone else has followed.  I think they forgot the old design adage of a picture tells a thousands words ... what the hell three dots tell you is anyones guess!!!!

 

Rich

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On 30/11/2020 at 17:01, porkie said:

If it helps David. My later Poole locos have no issues running on my code 55. They have the dark profile wheel sets, If it helps. So fingers crossed you will be OK with you stock. 

Thanks Porkie, I think the wheel flange is going to be a lot more of an issue on the code 40 than the 55. The code 55 is (i think) code 80 but just with the outside 'sunk' into the sleepers so it looks better. The inside where the wheel flange runs is still pretty deep on the code 55, so I don't know if they can really be compared or not. I will let you know how I get on once I get a few trains running. 

22 hours ago, MarshLane said:

 

Hi David,

Yes you can - the Edit button is at the top of each of your own posts on the right hand side by the three dots ... that Google seems to have decided is common sense for 'More', and everyone else has followed.  I think they forgot the old design adage of a picture tells a thousands words ... what the hell three dots tell you is anyones guess!!!!

 

Rich

Thanks Rich. Can't believe I missed that, I was looking along the bar at the bottom. 

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Yes, code 55 is actually 0.083" high, so has none of the running issues with code 40. I'll watch with interest though, as I'm going to use code 40 next time out.

 

You can flex the Finetrax turnouts a bit by cutting the webbing in the bases, the amount you cut will effect the amount you can curve them, and obviously the larger turnouts can be bent more. For me the big thing that lets down Finetrax turnouts is the cast frog, although blackening it helps. If you do go down the PCB route just join the 2mm SA, the parts are incredibly cheap - <£2 for a turnout, cannibalising Finetrax would be an eye-wateringly expensive way of doing it.

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