Hand built track

Hey hey! I've given up smoking ... now what's this got to do with model
railways? Well SWHTBO has made it clear that should I maintain this state of
non smoking I can spend a lot of the money saved on "little trains" as she
likes to call it.
Well I've still got one section on my layout to build, specifically my son's
section is up and running but the corner I've saved for myself is planned
and laid out but I haven't even got around to buying materials. Anyway with
all this money to splash around I thought that it may be nice to hand build
the track on my section.
Advice please ...
I'm looking at 4mm scale 16.5mm gauge and in particular looking at the range
produced by C&L can anyone let me know
... if it's suitable for a chap with a reasonable amount of patience and
plenty of modelling experience (but no rail building experience) to have a
crack at for a first attempt.
... any pitfalls in motorising handbuilt point work and if there's any
particular method that's better than the others - again for C&L
... the plans are designed around (Peco) short (set track small radius)
turnouts and a matching crossing ... which as it's for an industrial layout
should look reasonably acceptable compared to the real thing. Appreciating
that the material produced by C&L is designed with the prototype in mind is
it possible/practical to make turnouts with roughly similar geometry.
... and how helpful are the chaps at C&L ... that is if a nerdy beginner
such as myself was to say to them, "This is what I want to build, though I
don't know exactly what I need in order to do this can you send what you
think is best - BTW here's some money to pay for all this" what would their
reaction be?
Reply to
Chris Wilson
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You have to start somewhere, and C&L do seem to have a decent system. (I've not tried it myself 'cos I model a different scale to their parts).
I built a dozen soldered PCB turnout kits in OO about 20 years ago and they were a doddle.
You need track gauges; lots of them. Different types - roller, roller with flat (for crossing nose), shim material to space check rails, etc..
Not sure, but I think you might be pushing your luck.
Set-track is stupidly small radius compared to the prototype, even industrial situations.
I think if you were polite you'd get a sane answer, particularly if you are evidently proffering money. I guess they get a fair number of "tyre kickers" who ask "stupid" questions with no intention of purchasing.
Reply to
In article , Chris Wilson writes
Well, if you want to meet Brian Lewis, he's at St Albans this coming weekend. Not quite sure how you would get there - the natural route of South Eastern Trains to London Bridge then Thameslink is bedevilled by engineering works.
Reply to
John Bishop
Directions for St Albans in this months Railway Modeller. page 56 3rd colunm near bottom.
Ian Gearing
Reply to
Get Iain Rice's book on making 4mm track - one of the Wild Swan 'How To Do It' books. It's got a lot of information on how to build track and he covers various types of construction, including using C&L bits and pieces.
Forget about copying Peco - they have a peculiar geometry all of their own :-) If you're looking for turnouts for an industrial layout, you'll probably find that A5 turnouts give you a small prototype. If you read the Iain Rice book you'll find out what an A5 turnout is, but basically it is a turnout with the shortest switch ( and 'A' switch) used on British Railways and the angle of the crossing (frog) is 1 in 5.
Well it's a chap and a chappess :-) Mrs. Lewis, technically, runs the company, but her husband Brian is the one who does most of the leg work. He is worth having a chat with at an exhibition which he attends - he actually builds track from his own products so he can speak from first hand experience.
Reply to
Jim Guthrie
Jim and NC to both of you thanks ... ...
Cheers, I've got a few of his books already and am already impressed.
Yup ... hence my "roughly similar" comment. :-)
I think C&L provide templates up to A5, tell me, would I be right in thinking that (say) an A5 turnout would have the same geometry/crossing angle/whatever it's called as a 1:5 (diamond) crossing, A3/B3 with a 1:3 likewise and so forth.
The reason I ask is that my layout plan calls for two left hand turnouts to be placed in series (one behind the other as it were) a right hand turnout feeding in the to the leading one so that it in turn links to a diamond crossing that also links with the trailing left hand turn out ... I don't know if this will make sence in ASCII but here goes ...
To works sidings etc -> / / main loading bay and via loop to works sidings etc
T = turnout C = crossing
Thus you can see that I need the angles between the tracks to be the same on both the turnouts and the crossing
As for actual curve radius Iain Rice suggests that for industrial type layouts 00 "finescale" can go down to as little as 1' 3" radius so I should be OK. Apart from that little section above where space is really tight the plan doesn't drop below 2' radius - and again apart from the above the curves are eased. All the other turnouts can be much more gentle.
St Albans has already been suggested but I just can't get there. :-( I think that the first thing to do will be to buy some templates to make sure everything fits!
Reply to
Chris Wilson
Hi Chris
Brian also inhabits the very friendly Templot email group. If you're building your own track, then you may as well get it right, and Templot does the planning and layout for you. Go to
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and take it from there! If you go to
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then you can trawl through other peoples experiences and questions/answers from the "messages" option.
Reply to
Paul Boyd
If your turnout has a 1 in 5 crossing and your diamond has 1 in 5 crossings then they will have the same angle in that the 'straight' roads will be parallel if the diamond is connected to the diverging road of the turnout.
If you are working with short wheelbase locos like four wheel or short six wheel chassis then you should get them round those curves. I'm not sure what 00 fine scale standards you might be working to and how much clearance there will be between flange and rail, but you might have to put a wee bit of gauge widening in to make things a bit easier for running round curves that tight. If you get the Rice book you'll see his discussion on the matter of 00 track and wheel standards or, more accurately, the lack of them. Things are actually easier in EM or P4 since their track and wheel standards are set down and proven.
The one thing to watch with curves that tight on an industrial/shunting layout is that you have to have a coupler with a buffing action (like a Hornby tension lock) or you can run into buffer locking problems when propelling wagons if your method of coupling depends on the buffers when propelling. You can minimise the problem by using transition curves from straight to radius and by avoiding tight radius "S" curves like the plague. The prototype had similar problems and you see a lot of shunting/industrial locos with very large diameter buffers to avoid buffer locking.
Reply to
Jim Guthrie
Cheers, I keep looking at it ... but ... it's another technology so to speak. Everyone I've seen posting on the subject appears to rave about it but I've so much to learn I'm not sure if it will be worth the effort - for the moment.
:-( Because of spam problems I blocked all mail from yahoo addresses a couple of years ago at the server level, I would imagine by now that Yahoo's got eh hint and won't even try sending me mail.
Reply to
Chris Wilson
Thought so, thanks. After a quick measure up I've found that the approach angle isn't that critical in that I have around 10 degrees leaway on one side and 15 on the other and still use the existing planned approach to get the requisite length headshunt into the space available.
Yup, last year whilst experimenting I was working with even tighter curves using unmodified Dapol/Hornby L&Y Pugs and RTR 9/10' W/B wagons. On top of which Mike Smith was kind enough to send me some superb drawings for SWB prototypical stock that I ma well have a go at making.
Smiths 3 link couplings are in use on my converted stock, something simpler may have been a better idea however they are to fiddly for my 7 year old to enjoy playing with ;-)
The plan is that "Company" Engines make the deliveries and collect the "goods out" by means of pulling stock to and from the nearby station. Once the company engine has gone the privately owned engines with their short wheelbase and combination of dumb and Gibson sprung buffers take over to pilot stock around the yard.
Thanks for all the tips.
Reply to
Chris Wilson

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