It's rail time again

If you've followed what's been happening, then you'll know I had nothing but misery with Peco turnouts in HOn30. Then The Roco ones gave minor problems as well and HOn30 went in the trash. Now that I have begun building in On30, a lot of things are being done. One major item which has not been started is the track. Now it's time to address that.

I know it sounds like all I'm doing is griping about the English, but in most cases all I have is trouble with the products and some dealers here. To make my turnouts, I needed a small 3 inch disk sander. Four companies were approached and the only one which had the courtesy to reply was a Chinese one, the English ones never even bothered to respond. So I shall approach the switches from a different angle.
irta0.jpg
Here's a serious glitch, the only On30 turnouts here are made by Peco—aaargh!!! In the above image you can see in the background a photo of some track. The ties (called sleepers in the UK) are standard gauge ones with narrow gauge rail. Next is how mine will be, very similar. Then Peco's offering, it looks awful. I spent quite a while researching and found that English modellers have the same kind of problems with Peco as I do, all kinds of fiddles have to be done to make the stupid things work. However, outside the UK, model railroaders seem to swear by Peco track and turnouts instead of swearing at them. There are some who have problems with DCC, but I don't do that so can't comment. I may be wrong, but it appears the good stuff is exported and the trash sold in England.

The cost of buying a small disk sander is so prohibitive that I redid the Peco turnouts I bought so that they work with my wooden ties. 4 turnouts are a ton cheaper than available disk sanders.

None of them worked straight out of the box—not one! I had to alter the things so they would operate correctly and make electrical contact.

So what did I do?

irta1.jpg
The blades of the turnout are squared at the end. I ran my fingernail across the inside of the rail. It caught so will wheels, causing derailments. I looked at it and saw that the blade barely rested against the rail. I used a small jewelers file and beveled it. My nail went across okay, but the blade should be solidly on the rail. Searching around the web, the one thing I saw in exported turnouts, was the blade of the switch slightly bending as it firmly connected with the rail. I did a minor adjustment on the blades and they're bit firmer. Then I looked underneath them all.
irta2.jpg
Originally those two contacts were not even close to the rail.

See those little contacts in the circles? They were sitting 45 degrees out from the bottom of the rail and did not connect at all, no wonder people here in the UK have trouble with this rubbish. I bent them down when the blade was away from the rail so that as the switch was closed it slides up with good contact. Adding insult to injury, there are no holes (like other manufacturers have) in the ties to pin the turnouts to the base, I had to drill my own.

Why do you English modellers put up with Peco?

Force them to change or force them broke.



Getting the things to look right

This took a lot of time. The color had to be right and the ends of the Peco switches needed to mate with my wooden tie bits so that the join could not be seen.

Part of the layout is the timescale. The idea is that the McGresty Mining Company lasted 20 years, beginning in 1886. So I've decided the year for the layout will be 1902. Things would have changed by then. The trackwork has altered and the ground cover increased.

The other thing is the size. On30 is twice the size of HOn30. I may not have enough room using the same base as before. At 9 feet by 17 inches it's quite narrow, I could widen that to 20 inch width, but it would mean an entirely new base.

I've put the whole thing hold for a while.
Apr 22, 2021


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