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Test Track & Switching Games
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 Posted: Thu Feb 13th, 2020 06:50 pm
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Tom Ward
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My On30 layout is located in an 11’ x 12’ room,
and I started out with my desk being wedged into the closet. 

Circumstances eventually changed,
and I was gifted the next room down the hall.

Perfect! 

This became my modeling shop / storage area / library / music room. 
I moved the desk in and added an L shaped work bench,
to wrap my work area around the corner of the room.
 
My desk has the laptop for research and design,
and the adjoining bench has enough work surface for my largest projects. 

My goal for the layout is to make as much from scratch as possible,
to use battery power and RF control for the locomotives,
and to have all the track be hand laid. 

I’m new to all of this so having a place to work out new techniques,
instead of experimenting on the layout made sense to me. 

I added a narrow L shaped shelf above the workbench for a test track,
and to develop my track laying skills. 

I wanted to have a track that would mimic the layout standards,
so I could test new engines and rolling stock.
 
So I designed in parallel tracks with an 18” radius on the inside track,
and a 21” radius on the outside. 

Then I saw the need for several turnouts between the tracks. 
This eventually snowballed into a track plan with switching puzzles at each end. 

On the left end is a variation of John Allen’s Timesaver game,
and at the other end is a UK design called Inglenook. 

I’m thinking the combination of features on this test track,
will really serve the purpose of putting locos through their paces,
and add some fun while doing it. 

Plus a little competition among friends over a few beers is always a good thing.

- Tom







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Tom Ward


"When I die I want to go quietly in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming in terror like his passengers."
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 Posted: Thu Feb 13th, 2020 07:04 pm
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Tom Ward
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The shelf has been up since April 2018, almost two years now,
and I got as far as gluing down the ties and building the turnouts. 

Then I got involved in building a roundhouse and it completely took over. 

I’ve reached the point in the roundhouse build where I need to put track around the turntable,
and decided it made sense to perfect my track laying skills on the test track first. 

I mean.....that’s what I built it for. 

So I watched some videos on YouTube, laid out some rail and started spiking it down. 
I just started last night at the Timesaver end and progress has been slow. 

I’m just using needle nosed pliers,
and already think those spiking pliers I saw at MicroMark would be really handy. 

I had a few spots that required pulling the spikes out and re-doing them,
because things got a wee bit tight for my track gauges. 

Overall, I’m having fun with it and think I have a usable technique worked out. 

When finished, the test track will all be dead rail,
with one straight section insulated at both ends for powered track. 

I thought I might need that for testing junk I buy through eBay,
before I convert it to battery power.

- Tom







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Tom Ward


"When I die I want to go quietly in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming in terror like his passengers."
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 Posted: Thu Feb 13th, 2020 07:07 pm
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Tom Ward
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Here’s one more. 

I’ll also be using this test track to develop my ballasting techniques,
so maybe more pictures further on. 

And turnout control too. 
The layout will be mostly manual, but a few will have to be remote / electric. 

On this test track I may do one electric just to play, but the rest will be manual,
to make the switching games a bit more challenging time-wise.

- Tom







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Tom Ward


"When I die I want to go quietly in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming in terror like his passengers."
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 Posted: Fri Feb 14th, 2020 03:04 pm
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Tileguy
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Love the concept.

Looks like you decided not to utilize a track laying jig for the ties.

I like that look for logging roads and branch-lines,
but a mainline needs the conformity of jig laid ties.

Just saying it's something to think about for the main layout,
as you perfect your techniques.


Love the combination of the Timesaver and the Inglenook.

Brilliant,
you might be the first guy ever came up with that combination LOL


You get some Moosies just for that!!

:moose::moose::moose::moose::moose::moose::moose::moose::moose::moose:




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Todd
Getting old aint for Sissies!!! ;)
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 Posted: Fri Feb 14th, 2020 06:38 pm
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Tom Ward
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Hey Todd

Thanks for the Moosies and for your input on the ties. 
I agree with you, they don’t follow the perfection of a mainline RR.
 
Since I had never done hand laid track before,
I used FastTracks for turnout jigs and other stuff. 

What you see with the ties is the result of their tie laying jig for “On30 Mainline”. 

I was a little surprised at the disheveled look,
but figured I’m doing a narrow gauge shortline in the mountains,
so it’s not gonna be perfect. 

I think FastTracks probably looks at On30 like a lot of people do....kinda cartoony. 

Anyway,  next time I glue down some ties,
I’ll try skipping the jig or make one up on the table saw.

- Tom




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Tom Ward


"When I die I want to go quietly in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming in terror like his passengers."
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 Posted: Fri Feb 14th, 2020 08:41 pm
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Tileguy
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Wow

I would have never guessed you had utilized a jig,
that doesn't say much for them.

I still like the look you have, for a branch or logging line.

Might be best to do the painters tape trick when laying mainline.
Lay out tape, mark all mid tie positions alongside on a piece of cardboard for uniformity,
set all ties, use duct-tape strip on top (stronger adhesive)
then remove full stretch off painters tape, and set in your glue bed,
let set up, then remove duct tape strips.

The rest you already have figured out.

[toast]




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Todd
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 Posted: Sun Feb 16th, 2020 08:49 pm
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Tom Ward
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I’ve been working on my turnouts for the test track. 
I think I’ll stay with manual control just to keep things simple. 

I wanted to use harp stand ground throws, but couldn’t find any in 1:48 scale,
and the HO ones are probably too small.  Too expensive too....$60 for 8 turnouts. 

I decided to try making something with the 3D printer. 
My only concern was that the soft plastic might create problems for moving parts. 

I ended up making the frame on the printer, and used brass and piano wire for the moving parts. 
Once I tacked the frame down to the ties with rail spikes it was plenty sturdy, like granite.
 
The flag is an afterthought, not sure if I’ll keep it. 
It’s just paper wrapped around .032” piano wire stuffed into the 3/16” brass tube throw bar. 

I also added a spring on the turnout which can be seen just forward of the boxcar between the rails. 
This was an idea I got from a video from FastTracks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXGEjuDhwhY

- Tom







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Tom Ward


"When I die I want to go quietly in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming in terror like his passengers."
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 Posted: Tue Feb 18th, 2020 05:24 am
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Michael M
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Woodie came up with a Harp switch stand,
made out of some scrap rail.

Basically you take the appropriate length of rail,
and give it two bends for the legs or ends.

Take a motor-tool with a cut-off disc,
and cut a slot in the top part of the rail. 

Solder the stand to a base plate for mounting to the layout,
and solder a horizontal piece to the stand for the lever. 

The friction will hold the throw lever in place.




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Michael
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Nye, Inyo & Esmeralda Railroad

https://www.flickr.com/photos/183715370@N03/albums/72157710477887657/
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 Posted: Tue Feb 18th, 2020 01:32 pm
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Tom Ward
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Thanks Michael. 

I had searched for ideas on Freerails, but didn’t see that. 

Just now found it on post 315 of his “Big Bend Two Foot Gauge”. 

That is pretty cool and looks plenty sturdy too. 

- Tom




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Tom Ward


"When I die I want to go quietly in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming in terror like his passengers."
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 Posted: Tue Feb 18th, 2020 03:20 pm
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Michael M
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The stands get easier to make after putting a couple together. 

Just a need a short piece of rail and some scrap brass. 

They hold up well.




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Michael
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Nye, Inyo & Esmeralda Railroad

https://www.flickr.com/photos/183715370@N03/albums/72157710477887657/
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