Monday, June 22, 2015

A New Switchstand

The switch stand I had installed was from Grandt Line. It was a good looking plastic switch stand, and it could actually move the points. But it did not lock the points in place, and being plastic it felt a bit vulnerable. So I sat out to find something else, and finally found a brass switch stand from Red Cliff Miniatures.

After quite a bit of fiddling I managed to install it, and have it move and lock the points. The hard bit was to get the point end of the throw-rod to move just as much as needed to move the points, and at the same time allow the switch stand end to move a larger distance in order for the handle to reach the position where it locked.

Red Cliff Miniatures has a solution for that problem - a throw bar with a spring that takes up the excess movement. But I did not want to use it since it would look out of place and non-prototypical. Instead I managed to construct a two part throw-rod where a "hook" in one part could slide inside a groove or run in the other part.

Here is the new switch stand installed, painted and weathered.

 
 
Points are thrown by lifting the handle, turning it, and lowering into the locked position.
 



Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bitumen

I have heard that track laid straight on foam causes a lot of noise from the trains. So even if I do not want much of a roadbed profile I think I need some kind of noise dampening to go under the rails. I am also afraid that the foam will not withstand the pressure when spikes are driven into the ties, so I want something between the ties and the foam for that reason also.

I then came to think about an article by Pelle Soeborg in MR a few years ago, where he showed how he used bitumen mats as a sound dampener. Bitumen, as in the stuff used for sound dampening in for instance cars. Since I have no experience of bitumen I did not know if it would be soft enough to drive spikes through it, and at the same time not being to soft so it would do not do any good when it came to protecting the foam.

Well, I simply had to try it out to find out! So I went to an auto parts dealer (Biltema here in Sweden) and bought a pack of 4 bitumen mats. Here it is.

 
 
It turned out it is soft enough to cut with a knife, and also soft enough to drive spikes into. It also seems stiff enough to protect the foam from the pressure from the spike driving process. Here is a slice of it, the same width as the track and ties.
 
 
A successful test so far.
 



Saturday, June 6, 2015

New wheels

I have know received the new /115 thread wheels from North West Short Line, along with matching bushings. Dave at NWSL was very helpful. I just told him what I wanted to achieve, and he suggested suitable parts. Thanks Dave.


To be up and running again (pardon the pun) was a simple matter of removing the old wheels and bushings from the axles, and sliding (or pushing rather) the new ones on. Some careful track gauge matching got them rolling nicely through the turnout.

New wheels to the left, old to the right.
 

Test rolling.

The new wheels are pre-weathered which was an improvement in itself.

A nice fit between the guard and stock rails.

Posing on the new shelf. The turnout assembly will not sit on top of the foam, but will be lowered into it, while new track will be laid on the foam.