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Is track building making a come back


hayfield
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Its common knowledge I give Phil a help on the C&L stand at local to me shows, for several years he has asked me to give him a hand at Warley, this year I had no excuses so I had a very pleasant long weekend. The show was great, but less said about the NEC the better

 

Over the years we have discussed marketing products and this year Phil took up the suggestion of having a show special, a cheap no frills turnout in a bag for £25, everything the standard kits have except the ready built common crossings and switch rails (even had track gauges and insulated wire tiebars)

 

All I can say was they went down a storm both the show specials and full kits at £54, I sold more kits on Saturday than at all the shows I have ever helped Phil with over the years, but I usually attend the specialist shows where we sell lots of components rather than kits

 

Most of the kit sales were to standard 00 gauge for first time track builders, there were a few who wanted to trial a move to EM gauge plus the odd 7mm kit. But time flew as we spent talking to first time builders adding a few tips on track building, and Phil had his new turnout building instruction booklet at the show

 

Time will tell whether this is a blimp or modellers want something either different from what is available ready to run or something better in detail or gauge. With Peco selling true 4mm scale trackwork and British Finescale offering a range of easy to build kits trackwork is coming out of the background   

Edited by hayfield
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I think with the new Peco bullhead track offering a greater scale accuracy to newbie modelers,(like myself), has opened the door for track building, With most turn out kits now having the thicker sleepers, a lot of different products work together nicely. You can build most of a layout with the Peco flexi and standard points, with some nice curved point kits to add interest.

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Agreed. Peco bullhead turned up just in time for my 'last great project', but I need three or four sets of double bladed traps. Rather than wait I've built them myself using a stash of C&L components from a long-abandoned EM project. There are also a couple of FB curved and Y points scattered amongst the bullhead as place holders, if Peco don't get round to producing them I'll make them myself. 

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I am soon to start my first layout but in EM mainly using British Finescale kits. However i do want to dabble in track building as well. It may be just for fiddle yards but its somewhere to start. I have started to make sleepers on my FDM printer and am following the plug track concept on Templot. I am also designing a small converter piece to insert to cut sleepers creating EM from Peco 00 track again just for fiddle yards.

 

Keith

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2 minutes ago, roythebus1 said:

For fiddle yard track surely it's easier to solder rails onto PCB sleepers?

 

 

 

It may be easier and in days gone buy it was cheaper. But then initially with Paxolin  the glassfibre the materials used were from offcuts from the electronics industry

 

Its totally different now as there is far less waste and new sheet has to be bought, using flexitrack is cheaper, and easier to use

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On 11/12/2022 at 13:46, hayfield said:

 

 

It may be easier and in days gone buy it was cheaper. But then initially with Paxolin  the glassfibre the materials used were from offcuts from the electronics industry

 

Its totally different now as there is far less waste and new sheet has to be bought, using flexitrack is cheaper, and easier to use

That's the conclusion we came to with our club layout, before it needed to be redesigned. With the amount of track needed in the fiddle yard there wasn't a lot of difference in price between Peco and copper clad, but the former allowed the fiddle yard to be assembled a lot quicker and more accurately.

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4 minutes ago, 5944 said:

That's the conclusion we came to with our club layout, before it needed to be redesigned. With the amount of track needed in the fiddle yard there wasn't a lot of difference in price between Peco and copper clad, but the former allowed the fiddle yard to be assembled a lot quicker and more accurately.

 

I totally agree with that thought process, fiddle yards need to be functional. In the past copperclad construction was cheaper to build than buying RTR track, especially if 2/3rds of the sleepers/timbers were not used. Functionality over looks

 

Now its a different story in that copperclad strip is very expensive, as is buying lengths of rail against buying flexitrack.

 

When it gets to trackwork in the scenic area, its looks that count.

 

I still do not understand why Peco chose equalised timbering for their bullhead range of turnouts rather than in line with the straight road, which whether prototypical or not is opposite to what modellers have become used to. Having said this it looks superb on crossovers and junctions

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I really do hope so. My opinion is that handbuilt track is what makes a layout stand out.  Not just the detail, but it's the generally flowing formation that you cannot get with fixed geometry pointwork.  And, despite what people think, handbuilding track is not that difficult.  If you are using ply sleepers and plastic chairs then it's no more difficult than assembling a wagon kit.  

Ian

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4 minutes ago, ikcdab said:

I really do hope so. My opinion is that handbuilt track is what makes a layout stand out.  Not just the detail, but it's the generally flowing formation that you cannot get with fixed geometry pointwork.  And, despite what people think, handbuilding track is not that difficult.  If you are using ply sleepers and plastic chairs then it's no more difficult than assembling a wagon kit.  

Ian

 

Ian

 

Its even easier and stronger using (thicker) plastic timbers and matches the new C&L and EMGS flexitracks as both have 1.6mm thick track bases

 

For the GWR enthusiast C&L are selling GWR 2 bolt flexitrack as well as 3 bolt S1 chairs, C&L comes in 60' track Bases and the chairs have keys in them

 

C&L still supply thin based flexitrack for EM & P4 gauges but not in 00 gauge, also only comes in 3 bolt chairs

 

If using Finetrack turnout kits, they can be curved, but it is far better if you use a Templot template and adjust the track base according to the template, rather than just cutting away a few tabs between the timbers

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On 29/11/2022 at 18:29, Wheatley said:

...I need three or four sets of double bladed traps. Rather than wait I've built them myself using a stash of C&L components from a long-abandoned EM project.

Here's the first one. We won't mention how long I spent looking for an elusive short after the rest of that board was wired in...

20221115_002231.jpg

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On 17/12/2022 at 09:46, ikcdab said:

Not just the detail, but it's the generally flowing formation that you cannot get with fixed geometry pointwork. 

 

Couldn't agree more, this would be pretty much impossible with RTR track...

 

spacer.png

 

John

 

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13 minutes ago, roythebus1 said:

a bit like an elusive short on the MRC's New Annington which happened when an etched brass snow plough fell off a loco and landed across a PCB sleeper in the tunnel section!

 

That reminds me of a very strange happening on a club layout at the Warley show one year.

 

The layout ran perfectly all day Saturday, but on the Sunday morning refused to start with a persistent short-circuit. After a lot of head-scratching this was finally tracked down to a missing gap in a copper-clad sleeper. After cutting a gap the layout ran perfectly again.

 

No-one could explain how the layout had been running fine the previous day, or in the clubroom for weeks before, and as far as I know no explanation was ever found.

 

Martin.

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8 hours ago, martin_wynne said:

 

That reminds me of a very strange happening on a club layout at the Warley show one year.

 

The layout ran perfectly all day Saturday, but on the Sunday morning refused to start with a persistent short-circuit. After a lot of head-scratching this was finally tracked down to a missing gap in a copper-clad sleeper. After cutting a gap the layout ran perfectly again.

 

No-one could explain how the layout had been running fine the previous day, or in the clubroom for weeks before, and as far as I know no explanation was ever found.

 

Martin.

 

Dry joint suddenly coming to life?

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Super bit of track building and planning

 

For me not knowing railways in detail I wrongly assumed Peco and the rest of the Model train trade were giving us scale models of trackwork just as they did with the rolling stock and buildings. 

 

Growing up with Hornby Doublo 3 rail tinplate track, even Triang plastic 2 rail track looked the job, Peco track was another world, especially the long radii track.

 

The small size of buildings soon became apparent, locos and stock improved every year, but we all accepted 00/H0 track system as the norm. Had we stopped and thought it through perhaps we may have realised it was wrong

 

Still we are where we are and the penny has dropped, its a great pity firstly most model railway shops have disappeared, sadly we can't drop in and but a cheap (SMP) turnout kit and far to many People seem to have lost the ability/need to build/mend anything them selves, expecting others to provide the service

 

Going back to the first post it just so happened that at Warley Phil decided to do a show special which was a cheap starter kit and we only had a small A4 sign. As I said we sold quite a few basic and full kits and folk seemed truly interested in building trackwork

 

I have no idea if Phil will repeat the exercise at future shows, shame if he does not.

 

I also had a chat with Paul from the Scalefour Society about the Exactoscale P4 turnout and crossing track bases, these are such a time saver for those who model in P4 & EM gauges (Slips & Diamonds in EM gauge need simple adaption)) but for what ever reason they are not marketed

https://exactoscale.com/track-components/4mm-track-pricing/

 

4mm scale P4 Turnout bases (4TB)

 4TB A5L P4 Turnout Base – Plastic – A5 L/H   4TB A5R P4 Turnout Base – Plastic – A5 R/H   4TB A6L P4 Turnout Base – Plastic – A6 L/H   4TB A6R P4 Turnout Base – Plastic – A6 R/H   4TB A7L P4 Turnout Base – Plastic – A7 L/H

4TB A7R P4 Turnout Base – Plastic – A7 R/H   4TB B7L P4 Turnout Base – Plastic – B7 L/H   4TB B7R P4 Turnout Base – Plastic – B7 R/H   4TB B8L P4 Turnout Base – Plastic – B8 L/H   4TB B8R P4 Turnout Base – Plastic – B8 R/H

4TB C10L P4 Turnout Base – Plastic – C10 L/H   4TB C10R P4 Turnout Base – Plastic – C10 R/H   

 

4TB DIAM P4 Turnout Base – Plastic – Diamond 1:8   4TB DS8 P4 Turnout Base – Plastic – Double Slip 1:8   4TB SS8 P4 Turnout Base – Plastic – Single Slip 1:8

 

A few years back on here I did a thread on building a simple to build turnout (EM gauge ?) A simple soldered vee everything else was held together by plastic chairs. Sadly I think its long gone on the older site or certainly the photos are lost

 

Anyway Paul put me in contact with Gavin Clarke and I agreed to submit a simple article showcasing these items

 

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11 hours ago, martin_wynne said:

 After a lot of head-scratching this was finally tracked down to a missing gap in a copper-clad sleeper. After cutting a gap the layout ran perfectly.

That was the problem, it took me an hour of switching things on and off to realize what I'd done, which given that that was the only copper clad sleeper in the entire point was 59 1/2 minutes longer that it should have. 

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21 hours ago, Wheatley said:

That was the problem, it took me an hour of switching things on and off to realize what I'd done, which given that that was the only copper clad sleeper in the entire point was 59 1/2 minutes longer that it should have. 

 

This is why I cut the isolation gaps before I fit any rails, takes a little longer at first but saves so much time later

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39 minutes ago, hayfield said:

 

This is why I cut the isolation gaps before I fit any rails, takes a little longer at first but saves so much time later

I don't think it actually does take longer. It's far easier to cut the gap with a triangular file and the sleeper held in you fingers than to lay all the rails then to try and manipulate the cutting implement around the rails later.  I always cut and trim the sleepers, cut the gap and then fix to the template.  Then solder on the rails.

20210131_124007.jpg.03420e88655a1b98678d8c6e7354b92f.jpg

Ian

 

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Both of those suggestions would imply a) a degree of planning and b) me actually remembering that you need to cut the little gaps out. I've been using DCC Concepts sleepers at the baseboard joints, no gapping required ! 

 

It's a long time since I've done this, it's surprising what you forget. The point motor for it even had a microswitch installed ready to change the frog polarity until the bit where I actually came to wire it up and had a similar "Doh!" Moment. 

 

Out of practice, that's all. No doubt there will be similar idiocy the next time I try to quarter a set of driving wheels ...

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On 29/11/2022 at 11:06, hayfield said:

Over the years we have discussed marketing products and this year Phil took up the suggestion of having a show special, a cheap no frills turnout in a bag for £25, everything the standard kits have except the ready built common crossings and switch rails (even had track gauges and insulated wire tiebars)

Hats off to C&L for adapting but I do wonder if this is to compete with British Finescale (BF) offerings, which are £27 per turnout with machined crossing V and switch blades?  It is the very high cost of C&L turnouts that has been the issue for me from the start which is why I used EMGS B6s and BF Crossings and Slips for my test track and will be making my own bespoke turnouts required for my layout where EMGS and BF solutions are not suitable. 

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