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Junctionmad Occasional Track WorkBench

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Im just building ( re building ) some test planks, in preparation for " Claremorris " next year.


Ive been looking at C&L s new 00 flexi-track, which looked as if its based on its exactoscale fast track style bases. Its done in their new " HI-NI" high nickel content rail profile which they claim is more " white" then the typical " yellow" nickel sliver you sometimes see. ( I remain to be convinced ) . Note the good definition on the chairs due to newer moulds




Hence its a full thickness track base ( 1.5 mm ) as opposed to their existing thin sleeper flex, Sleepers are 32mm long and 3.6mm wide ( 10 ") , which is the typical compromise C&L do for 00, spacing is at 10.3mm i.e. 2'6" which is fairly prototypical . Note that each track base is made up of an 8 sleeper panel connected by webs , which will have to be cut for curves. But the panel webs aid straight track deployment also the way the panel ends allows you to close up sleeper spacings at fishplates, but I dont think that was done in ireland as a lot of bullhead followed american practice post war, and had staggered joints ( comments ?) I'm ( fairly ) sure all the light weight FB track was staggered


Some issues are the flash on the sleeper ends, and of course its a three bolt chair that wasn't used that much in ireland


I also include by comparison , my current stock of prototype 14" wide ply and 12" wide copper clad turnout timbers, all nominally 1.5mm thickness, hence to line up the rail heads the rail will have to be lifted about 0.6mm from the sleeper. This is of course a major failing of PECO track in trying to represent bullhead rail.


You can also see left from top left to right the new 00-SF gauges, track gauge ( 16.2mm) , crossing flange way 1mm shim and 15.2mm check rail gauge , my own view is the specs for these gauges make them very physical small but how in ever


I also include a pic of C&L 4 bolt plain chair and slide chair , while not identical to GSWR/CIE chairs , they are at least a reasonable approximation




note , annoying c&L have locator pips on the slide chairs , which always bugs me. not so on the plain chairs . The moulds for these chairs are now quite old and the definition is a little lacking



my preferred method of construction is ( was) copper clad, with vero pins raising the track up 0.6mm and then applying plain and slide chairs cosmetically ( half chairs) , chopping up plain chairs as required to simulate more specialist crossing chairs etc.


My test track however , will be built with a combination of functional chairs on ply with crossing, switch and closure rails on the turnouts strengthened by either ply and rivet ( or ply and vero pin) or copper clad and vero pin, copper clad strips are now so expensive that major use of them is prohibitive


All the station track work will be retained at 00-SF 16.2mm ( 1mm flange way gap) flaring out in scenic sections to c&L flexi at 16.5mm, no radius in under 3' so gauge widening is not required. The 16.2mm gauge in the station area, greatly aids shunting and propelling . It further allows both RP25/110 wheel types and also everything short of S4 and US P87 wheels to be properly supported while running through the common crossing


I will also be using code 55 flat-bottomed rail to represent the lighter laid sidings in claremorris and ballinrobe , I havent seen a good method of representing Irish FB chairs of the period, so at present this will be just soldered onto copper clad. It might be worth doing a custom etched fret to try and simulate the peculiar low chair that was common ( and is still there today ) but we'll see.



currently I notice that the only code 55 FB rail is in steel , Ive no experience of steel rails , anyone seen code 55 FB in nickel silver ?. ( mind you steel does have advantages )



Over the next two months , Ill try and describe my various building methods and experiments in this area. I have several ideas to try out including CNC machined switch blades , new servo based turnout operating units , fibreglass PCB based stretcher/tiebars


stay tuned



Edited by Junctionmad
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  • 1 year later...
Very nice detailed work there, looks great!


thank you , The common crossing is actually soldered onto 0,6mm copper shim and the chairs around it are therefore non functional. Elsewhere the chairs are fully functional and hold the rail as per the prototype.


The copperclad " magic" moving sleeper is only temporary as I have the ambis stretcher brackets, but I have to make the required stretcher bars.


painting etc to match the new PECO bullhead is next


of course Ballinrobe branch was laid with light weight flatbotom rail, but with modellers license , Im proposing that the branch didnt close in 59 and was relaid with BH to facilitate diesels !!!!

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