Thunder Ridge: A Freelanced Focus on Scenery

Mark Watson Apr 12, 2010

  1. Jim Reising

    Jim Reising TrainBoard Member

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    Well done, Mark! THAT'S what modeling is all about - finding solutions to problems!
     
  2. TwinDad

    TwinDad TrainBoard Member

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    Umm... dumb question...

    If the problem is the thickness of the points rails at the spot where they meet the stock rail... why couldn't you just file down the points rail? I realize that would be tedious, but... is there some reason why it wouldn't work?

    I ask because I've got two curved turnouts already installed on my layout, and while they haven't had enough use to show any problems, yet, I want to be prepared...
     
  3. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    ;)

    Actually, this was my first idea.

    I had to file the new rails down anyways, so why not alter the originals. The reason that didn't work though, was because the original point rails are what appears to be copper coated in nickel silver or something. If you refer to the first photo of the original turnout, (and again it's very difficult to see) the points, frog, and guide rails are silver while the rest of the rail is that normal yellow color. This strange material became very soft when filed down to the necessary thin point and, well, they broke.

    I assume this is why those points are so darn thick to begin with. Perhaps Atlas manufactured the copper interior, then coated the outside. In any case, I don't agree with that method, so I just made my own point rails and I believe that improved the turnout. :)
     
  4. TwinDad

    TwinDad TrainBoard Member

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    Copper? That's interesting. I'll have to have a close look at my two. I hope I can get away with leaving them alone!
     
  5. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    It's even more interesting now that I took a better photo of it...

    Not only does it look like something silver was coated over the copper but it looks like the copper was coated over the silver to begin with.

    The short silver bit on the left is the deepest file groove. The copper in the center is lightly filed from the outside silver, which extends on the right. *shrugs*
    [​IMG]

    In any case, the removed points go into the scrap bin as the new points work beautifully. ;)
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Ok, I now have the two right hand curved turnouts upgraded. The left hand turnout appears to be much more precise as is, so I'll install it and see how it operates.

    Tonight I plan to get the crossover fully wired and installed. I'll try and get some pics up when it's complete. :)
     
  7. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    It sure is ugly! But at long last, the new crossover is installed and fully operational!

    You can see how much the new crossover pulled the curve off it's original route.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The white stuff is all purpose caulking to help fill in the gaps of from the old terrain to the new track level and hold the track in place.
     
  8. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Looking good Mark, you'll convince me yet to get some work done on my layout!
     
  9. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Congrats on the progress! :thumbs_up::thumbs_up:
     
  10. JSL

    JSL TrainBoard Member

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    Looks great Mark.

    JSL
     
  11. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Photos show the progress but can't show the functionality, so I decided I'd make a video! :p :D

    Here's a quick minute or so of various equipment trans-versing the new crossover in various directions. So far, everything is still working great. :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7qgTmFrfTE

    It looks so ugly though that I may have to start ballast right here right now to cover it up! :D
     
  12. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    It looks (operationally) great, Mark. Yep, ugly is just a scenery project waiting to get started.
     
  13. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Rick. :D

    The spring semester ends in one week for me! This means I get some dedicated layout time! YIPPIEE!! :D

    First thing I want to figure out is how I should wire up the new curved turnouts so that the frogs are powered, otherwise I can't run my small steamers. :(

    Any ideas/suggestions how I should wire them?

    Since I'll be using Caboose Industries ground throws, the only thing I can think of is to add a toggle switch to route the frog power. Unfortunately, this means I'll have to perform two actions to throw one turnout, but I suppose that's not too bad. Is this common practice for those in the same boat? (Hand thrown turnouts with powered frogs). Are there any other techniques?

    Once I have a plan for wiring the frogs, I expect I'll begin ballasting and adding scenery to the new crossover area. :D
     
  14. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Mark have you considered powered turn outs? That way one switch thrown would align the two turnouts to the diverging route and power the frogs at the same time. Throwing the switch again would align both turnouts to the main and power down the frogs. Doing this manually, I see you throwing a switch three times, one for each turnout and one to power both frogs. Unless you have mechanically joined both turnouts to one switch.
     
  15. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Mark,

    You could use the DCC Dual Frog Juicer $29.95 from Tam Valley Depot. See Here. It will power two frogs and automatically switch the polarity when the train makes contact. I believe it can be used without DCC, but you should verify this.

    Looking good!

    Michael
     
  16. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    Mark-
    To power the long isolated frog section of a 3-way turnout I used a small slide switch I got from Radio Shack, attaching it under the turnout with the handle poking up through the throwbar itself:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    When I throw the Caboose handthrow, the slide switch goes with, is hidden & I've had no problems with locos creeping over the frog.

    The only issue I had was elongating the hole for the slide switch handle to allow for more "play" so the throwbar could travel farther than the handle.

    It's worked pretty well for me, and since you've replaced your throwbars with pc board ties, yes?

    You can check out more photos and details on this section of my construction thread (starting 1/2 way down the page).

    Glad you're getting time to work on the layout this Spring Break: trains beat bikini-clad bimbos with beer in Baja any day! ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2011
  17. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    An auto-reverser for the frogs! I would have never thought of that! :D

    Unfortunately, it says it is not compatible with standard DC. And all my small steamers are still decoder free. :( Everything I have on DCC can roll right over the un-powered frog. :p

    Thanks for the info though! I'll definitely store this one for the future. :)
     
  18. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    I like this idea a lot! Unfortunately, the turnouts are already installed. :eek:

    However, on the Atlas curved turnouts, the power pickup for the frog sticks out on the size. Perhaps I can connect the slide switch to the other side of the Caboose Industries ground throw and still have virtually the same set up. :)
    The only thing I'm worried about is how much force the slide switch takes and whether or not that would put too much tension on the radial arm of the ground throw. :/



    Not sure I can agree with that... but it is a close call. :p
     
  19. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    Usually I use the spring-loaded Caboose handthrows, but with the slide switch, it didn't have enough "umph", so I went with the stiff-arm version (which is why I had to carve out more space in the throwbar, as the throwbar travels farther than the slideswitch).

    Caboose does make throws with the SPDT built in.
    They look more gianourmous than the regular "N" scale ones, but they would do the trick.
    And if you only need two...

    Otherwise, when brainstorming for my 3-way turnout, I played around with a slightly larger slideswitch, used this way:

    [​IMG]

    With the outer pin in the throwbar and putting the inner pin to use throwing the slide switch (need to drill a hole in top of handle).
    This would keep things more compact, but might be more trouble than it's worth.

    There was also an article in jan/feb 2011 N Scale Railroading entitled "Easy Slide Switch for Turnout Control" by Steve Lohr in which he shows how to use the slide switch as both ground throw & frog reverser.

    Otherwise, as the McGuyver of Model Railroads, I'm sure you'll come up with a groovy solution ;)
     
  20. jim874

    jim874 New Member

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    Why not use a 12v relay? You could mount it anywhere you want that way.
     

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