Turnouts, turnouts, turnouts. Tips for fast tracks users, especially cheap ones, and xtrackCAD.

Another few weeks of turnouts has come and gone, and I’ve finished 26 of them. TWENTY SIX. That’s a lot. It’s almost to the point where my thousand dollar investment in fast tracks tools and templates has paid itself off.

Here are two shots of all the Castlegar turnouts arranged in close to their final positions:

When I took this photo, I’d yet to put ties on any of them.

UPDATE: Newer, better method for ties on my turnouts. https://kootenaymodelrailway.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/pulp-mill-turnouts-a-visual-guide-to-a-new-way-of-laying-ties/

Method for ties, since paying an extra $7 per turnout for quicksticks (lovely as they are) is a real turnoff. Print off the template from fast tracks, put double-sided tape on it, position crossties so the end you need to cut is pointing away from the diverging route, and cut them all in a straight line with rail nippers. Finished product:

Then apply the glue to the rails, put them down on the ties, weight them down, wait for glue to dry, and hopefully remove the template for reuse without incident.

So, the lessons? Here we go…

Filing points using fast tracks Pointform tools: Make sure not to put pressure on the part of the file that’s contacting the block, but rather the rail. Don’t use too much pressure. Try to file on as much of the block as parallel to it as possible. I’ve nearly worn out my #6 pointform just from bad filing practice! It’s got a rut in it like a male elk in fall. I cranked out 32 #5 points in the past 2 days with a little bit of wear on the #5 pointform, as compared to the 44 #6s I did, and it looks a lot better.

I’ve been doing my multiple turnout spacing using the point-to-point spacing from xtrackCAD as well as the frog-to-frog spacing. THIS IS BAD. I kept having to redo stuff because in at least the #6 N xtrackCAD template, there is a full half inch more between the frog and the points in real life! So that screwed me up, measuring frog to frog was WAY more accurate.

Also, as you can see in the second picture there, I’ve actually put all of my procab stuff in place and am very much enjoying running trains on the 1900′ of track I have. You know, running a loco or two back and forth and dreaming about what I’ll put there…

Goals for the month: Finish ALL the turnouts for the pulp mill (all #5s) by Monday the 13th (All the ties by the end of the month) and make major inroads into building my bridges, most of the parts of which have arrived. Unfortunately, Walthers sent a few wrong things aand the saw at the local hardware store is FUBAR, so I can’t finish my fascia or lay track for a while. Still, even in this small bit of the layout, there’s a lot to work on!

Have a pretty sunrise.

Until next time!

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