I have to admit I’m getting tired of trying to build the perfect turnout. Am I too focused on perfection? I keep looking at the turnouts I build and see something that is not right.
I’m currently working on a #9 turnout that relies a lot less on jigs. There were a couple goals I wanted to add to this turnout.
- Gauge Built – .
Until now I’ve used the Proto:87 Stores Switch-works jig to build my turnouts. But that is problematic, because the heavy duty tie plates I want to use do not fit the jig. So I build the turnout with medium duty tie plates, them replace them with heavy duty plates before installing rail. Another problem is that I have a #10 jig and want to be able to make multiple size turnouts without having to buy extra jigs.This turnout would be built using a Details West #9 Manganese Frog. I laid out the ties and the straight rail tie plates using the Switch-Works jig, then sited the frog with track gauges and build the rest with track gauges. It’s a much slower process.
- Uniform Spiking – .
My prototype turnouts have very uniform tie plates and spiking; every tie plate is spiked and all of the spikes are on the same size. I’ve made an effort to select the correct tie plates so that the spikes all end up uniformly on the same side. Since the Proto:87 Stores tie plates have various hole patterns, selecting the tie plates is a slow and tedious process.Further slowing the process is the necessity to glue tie plates before spiking. If you don’t glue the tie plates, they slide when you spike the rail.Spiking is hard to do uniformly. Getting the correct angle to have a uniform spike head showing has proved to be difficult. This occurs because spiking pliers (although extremely small) are too large for the spikes. Another factor is the glue hardening and tie plates not being properly aligned.
The process has been painstakingly slow. The gauge is great, but the spiking and tie plate uniformity is not perfect. I did have one major breakthrough: locating the points in relation to the sharp curve in the stock rail. I also gave up on the Proto:87 Stores point hinges and decided to use rail joiners soldered to PCB ties as point hinges, and it looks ugly.
I’m close to being finished, but I’m still not satisfied.
I still need to finish spiking the closure rails, maybe redoing the points, shim the frog to make it Proto:87 and guard rails.