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                 Flat bottom rail crossings
     
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1st message | this message only posted: 30 Jul 2020 20:42
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from:
Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Hi all
I'm about to embark on some flat bottom track for the first time, and am stumped on how the two rails in the crossing join!  Does everyone only ever use bullhead???  The photo shows what I'm building (my own photo), as well as an enlargement of the crossing nose.  Do the point and splice rails simply taper and join together so that each forms half of the blunt nose?  That's how it appears in the enlargement, but the apparent line down the middle may simply be uneven rail wear.

Any other hints and tips on working with FB rail will be appreciated.  I can see I'm going to have to make some grooved bending and filing jigs for a start.  I'm using Peco IL-1 code 60 FB which may be a little light, but the rail foot width allows for the 0.5mm flangeway gap without any filing.  Or did the prototype have to reduce the foot width to allow correct flangeway gaps?  It's hard to judge from the photo.

The photo was taken at Porthmadog Harbour Station in July 2000, 20 years ago this month, specifically to help with layout building.  Where on earth does the time go?!?!?

Cheers,
Paul





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2nd message | this message only posted: 30 Jul 2020 22:06
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from:
Rob Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom



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Hi Paul,

Yes, time just goes flying past :(

Many use the FastTracks filing jigs for forming the crossing V ( frog in the US ), the bonus being that one tool is used to file the V and the switch blades.

Video is here.

See https://www.handlaidtrack.com/

I have several of course :)

Rob





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3rd message | this message only posted: 31 Jul 2020 05:52
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Paul

Over the coming weeks I will have some code 100 turnouts to build using flatbottom rail, so will encounter similar issues

Firstly the example you are showing seems to have a simple butt join down the center, make up a simple vee soldering jig at the correct angle from card/wood strip/ali strip, choice of materials will depend on how many vees you have to build/longevity needed

Unless you have a lot of the same crossing angles, file in a vice by eye (may be worth making some simple jaw protectors from a pair of metal angle strips), slightly over file the angle rather than under file and the gap will be filled by solder. Make a simple jig from card to check angles

Depending on the track wing rail gap the outside of the foot may need reducing on the wing rail, with the wing rail cut nicks on both sides where the rail is bent

The switch rails are formed much the same way, file the back off the switch rail where it touches the stock rail, file off the head on the inside. The stock rail needs the foot filed back where the switch rail touches and I put nicks in the foot of the stock rail for the set bend

The handlaidtrack frog jig looks excellent and similar to the vee filing jigs, if a lot of turnouts are being built at the same angle it might be worth the expence
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4th message | this message only posted: 31 Jul 2020 06:04
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Paul

I would like to add, make sure you use sharp files and file one way only. I buy Vallobe files, they are slightly dearer than cheap files but so much better

For code 75 I use a smooth cut 10" when using the vee jig, I also have smooth and 2nd cut 6" files

For the switch rail jigs I use 10" on the backs and 6" on the inside heads. I keep my newest ones away from glass fiber strip and whitemetal.
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5th message | this message only posted: 31 Jul 2020 11:16
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from:
Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Hi Rob and John, thanks for your replies.
Rob - I had a look at those and choked on the price!  I have the various filing jigs for BH rail (Portsdown, I think?) but I think I'll be making my own for FB.

John - it certainly looks like a simple butt-joint down the centre, but as someone used to BH crossing noses that doesn't seem 'right' to me.  I notice in the link that Rob sent there is indeed a photo that shows just that, so perhaps for expediency that's what I'll go with.  With BH, I'm used to bending the rails out a bit at the nose before shaping and joining, but with FB the foot will get in the way of the wing rail foot.  I will check that the foot on the crossing nose doesn't clash with the wing rails anyway before I fix things down - thanks for that warning.  I'm very familiar with making BH track, but FB is all new to me!

I've previously seen advice about filing a notch in the foot at bends, and that feels wrong to me - I might well change my mind once I've accidentally twisted a few rails trying to bend them!

I'm still unsure as to whether or not it was generally accepted practice on the prototype to cut either the stock rail or check rail foot back to allow the correct gap.  I'd rather use code 70 FB (Peco IL-70) but as it stands the foot is too wide for my purposes.  I was hoping to go to North Wales this year and take a few more detailed photos of FR track, but that plan has been well and truly scuppered!

Cheers,
Paul

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6th message | this message only posted: 31 Jul 2020 12:24
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from:
Bruce A Wilson
Barrie, Ontario Canada

 

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FastTracks tools and fixtures may seem expensive but they are very high quality tools and you will not regret buying them if you are going to do a lot of handlaying track. The old saying you can get cheap or you can get quality but not both certainly applies.

Check out the many instructional videos Tim has on the web site.

There is some good information on building turnouts here

http://www.railwayeng.com/handlay6/hndly-h3.htm
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7th message | this message only posted: 31 Jul 2020 12:59
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Please do not send requests for help direct to me via email or PM.

Post your questions on the forum where everyone can see them and add helpful replies.
Paul Boyd wrote: I was hoping to go to North Wales this year and take a few more detailed photos of FR track, but that plan has been well and truly scuppered!
Hi Paul,

I've just uploaded 7 photos of Welsh Highland FB track in 2006:

 https://85a.co.uk/forum/gallery_view.php?user=2#gallery_top

which might help a bit. Or not. :)

cheers,

Martin.

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8th message | this message only posted: 31 Jul 2020 13:34
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from:
Matt M.
Australia

 

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Hi Paul,

I can't speak to FR flat bottom rail practice but generally I find that
the diverting rail finishes before the nose of the Vee. A close look at
your photos suggests that is happening here. If by only a tiny amount
in this case.

But I could be wrong.

On the prototype both the webs are kinked where they meet to
follow the middle line of the Vee. they run alongside each other
for a distance and that is where the bolts pass through booth webs
and the chocks giving the spacing to the wing.

It is hard to tell from your photo due to the angle but it looks like the
bolts and chocks at the practical nose of the Vee would have enough
web on both rails to hold. And the next bolt and chock set are
possibly close enough that the webs are touching (though putting
spacers in between the webs during assembly can be and was done
on the prototype.
There may also be rivets clamping the webs together between the
two bolt and chock sets.

The pictures Martin just posted are typical of a housed diverting rail
where the webs are clamped together at the Bolt and chock set
second back from the nose.

And yes prototypically you remove the inner foot of the wing rails
(and checks) for clearance.

Also the foot on the diverting line is milled out so it sits over the
foot of the main as they come together.

Hope that is useful and clear enough.

A lot of modellers here in Australia that make their own track are
using the fast tracks system. They seem very happy with it.

Regards, Matt M.
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9th message | this message only posted: 31 Jul 2020 13:38
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from:
Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Bruce A Wilson wrote: FastTracks tools and fixtures may seem expensive but they are very high quality tools and you will not regret buying them if you are going to do a lot of handlaying track. The old saying you can get cheap or you can get quality but not both certainly applies.

Hi Bruce,
I agree totally on quality/price and do have what I considered expensive filing jigs for BH track, of which I make a fair amount.  However, at the moment I'm not intending to build much FB track so the cost can't really be justified for the handful of turnouts I'm about to build.

That may or may not change in the future though!

Cheers,
Paul

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10th message | this message only posted: 31 Jul 2020 13:40
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from:
Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Martin Wynne wrote:
I've just uploaded 7 photos of Welsh Highland FB track in 2006:

Oooh - they look helpful, thank you!  I'll have a proper look this evening when I'm not at work  :cool:
Cheers,
Paul

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11th message | this message only posted: 31 Jul 2020 13:44
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from:
Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Hi Matt
That's very useful information, thank you.  Plenty to digest there, but it makes me even more inclined to use the code 70 FB I originally intended to use.  I'll just need to turn up some new gauges for the slightly wider head!

Cheers,
Paul

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12th message | this message only posted: 31 Jul 2020 17:45
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from:
Phil O
Plymouth, United Kingdom



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I thought I had uploaded some standard gauge flatbottom switch and crossing photos that I took at Merehead, but I can't find the thread I started, it was near the beginning of the forum in this incarnation.

Cheers

Phil.
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Please do not send requests for help direct to me via email or PM.

Post your questions on the forum where everyone can see them and add helpful replies.
Phil O wrote: I thought I had uploaded some standard gauge flatbottom switch and crossing photos that I took at Merehead, but I can't find the thread I started, it was near the beginning of the forum in this incarnation.Hi Phil,

This one?

 https://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=475&forum_id=11

cheers,

Martin.

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14th message | this message only posted: 31 Jul 2020 19:04
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from:
Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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More useful photos, Phil, thank you!


It's strange how things turn out.  I've recently been browsing through my MRJs, and what do I find in issue 251 just now?  An article by Peter Kazer entitled "GWR Narrow Gauge Point Drawings"!  Although some of the GWR specific detail is irrelevant, it does show a very useful plan drawing of a crossing, as well as a cross section showing the rail foot cut away on both the switch and stock rail.

Unfortunately the article seems to just sort of stop, but I'll be blowing up the crossing drawing to disentangle the various lines!

Overall, I have a much better idea of what I'm letting myself in for now.
I just hope we haven't already had our last issue of MRJ.

Cheers,
Paul

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15th message | this message only posted: 1 Aug 2020 06:24
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Paul

Please email me as I was given a PDF about 7 mm track building which may be of interest. I did have also a plan from the Welsh Highland Railway of their latest turnout design

John
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Paul

Here is a link to a thread I had with photos of a new Welsh Highland Railway turnout

https://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=578&forum_id=1&highlight=narrow+gauge

John
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Paul 

This is a plan sent to me by the Welsh Highland railway for the turnout at Beddgelert Station

John


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from:
Phil O
Plymouth, United Kingdom



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Martin Wynne wrote: Phil O wrote: I thought I had uploaded some standard gauge flatbottom switch and crossing photos that I took at Merehead, but I can't find the thread I started, it was near the beginning of the forum in this incarnation.Hi Phil,

This one?

 https://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=475&forum_id=11

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin,

Yes that's the one. Many thanks for finding it, it was the title that threw me.

Cheers

Phil.


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from:
Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Hi John
Thanks very much for those plans. As Martin says, it looks like they been metrificated from Imperial!!  The more info I can gather, the better.

More generally, I've been doing some more digging, specifically in trying to find out the actual rail used by the FR at the turn of the century (20th/21st!) around the Tan-y-Bwlch area.  I hit gold with an RAIB accident report from 2009 about a derailment just on the Porthmadog side of T-y-B, where it was stated that the rail was BS 60A laid in 1973.  Bingo!  Peco IL-1 code 60 BH is pretty close to that, so that's what I'm using after all.  The Festiniog wiki is a bit vague on which rail was used where and when.  Actually, the accident report doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the quality of track maintenance - hopefully things have been learnt since then!

Matt M is right in that the splice rail is spliced into the point rail, although seemingly less so than with BH, and the actual nose is the web of the point rail so the ends of the two rails need to be splayed out slightly - exactly the same as with BH.

It also struck me just now, when making up a tool to make a roller gauge to suit, that roller gauges for FB rail will only hold the head!  Something else to be aware of - make sure the rail is actually sitting flat.  I think accurately making a tool that will cut a slot to hold both head and foot is beyond me.  Some parts of the layout will be in BH, so the suite of gauges made for that rail (3mm Society code 60 BH) will still get used.  The head is slightly smaller so the gauges won't fit the FB rail.

Thanks to everyone who's contributed to this thread!  I had printed some build templates once, but now I have to have a close look at the turnouts again and tweak them a bit in light of the plethora of information provided!

Cheers,
Paul

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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Paul

In 2008 we had a holiday in Porthmadog and spent some time exploring the railway. At Minffordd station the track at the time was a mixture of both bullhead and flatbottom rail

This photo shows both types in use at the same time

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from:
Jim Guthrie
United Kingdom

 

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Hayfield wrote: Paul

In 2008 we had a holiday in Porthmadog and spent some time exploring the railway. At Minffordd station the track at the time was a mixture of both bullhead and flatbottom rail

I visited the Ffestiniog in the early 1960s and my memory is that the track was all bullhead at that time.  I've got some pictures I took at the time and I'll see if I can dig them out.

Jim.

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from:
Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Hi Jim
The FR started using FB in the early 1970s, so yes, definitely all BH in the 1960s.  My first trip was in the late 1990s, so that’s roughly the period I’m modelling.  I was going to model early 70s, but realised 20+ years later that “my” nostalgia period is the turn of this century!

I do have loads of photos of BH track though!  Dduallt still had BH on my visits and I took loads of detail photos of the track and point rodding etc.

Cheers,
Paul

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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Some US practice here;

https://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=3438&forum_id=11
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from:
Matt M.
Australia

 

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Hi Paul,  

Andrew's photo is great as it shows some of the standard features of a lap joint 
chocked Vee crossing.  Of course the details do change according to geography, 
company and time period.  
Of interest to note are the two visible rivets that help clamp the webs together.  

Also note the the straight cut through the check rail's foot on the gauge side.  

I attach some drawings of 1956 NSWGR 80 lb crossing details to help you see what goes on.  
I'm not suggesting you attempt to model to exact standards, but it helps to understand 
what is going on to accurately fake it. 

Your original photo shows a lighter style with only single bolts through spacers or chocks.  
I would suspect there are at lest two rivets out of sight clamping the webs where they run 
along side each other.  

Martin's 119-1977 photo shows a fairly common lap joint also shown in the attached 
NSWGR 1922 drawing.  

I hope this is of use. 

Matt M.






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from:
John Shelley
St Ciers Sur Gironde 33820, France



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Paul Boyd wrote
I just hope we haven't already had our last issue of MRJ.

I've just seen a message on an io-group from a book seller that "New MRJ being despatched at the end of this week."

Cheers for now
John from 33820 St Ciers sur Gironde

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from:
Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Hi all
Sorry for taking a little while to reply.  I was away from home for a couple of nights and not able to have a proper look until this evening!

Thanks very much to Andrew and Matt for the photos and drawings respectively.  I have a much clearer idea now of how I'm going to build the points.  I hit a snag on Sunday when I seemed to have lost the ability to make a cutting tool, before deciding the "tool steel" I was using must have been cheap rubbish - decent material cut nicely without any special shaping, but I'd run out of time by then.  Not before realising that I'd also run out of suitable brass bar to make the roller gauges!  For S4n2, I feel that roller gauges ought to be made for the different types of rail with their different head widths

John - that's promising news about MRJ-279.  I's ordered 278 from newsstand.co.uk but that got lost in the lockdown so they extended my subscription to cover 279 - I got 278 from an eBay seller eventually.  Mind you, newsstand are still promising 24th July!!

Cheers,
Paul

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from:
Rob Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom



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Hi Paul,
What are you using to make the grooves in roller gauges ? I was never happy with cut-down HSS saw blades and the specialist grooving tools are quite expensive in thinner/smaller sizes.

Rob


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from:
Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Hi Rob
I’m using a 1.5mm wide parting tool ground down to an appropriate width, initially with a grinding wheels then finishing with a normal cutting disc, on the flat side, in a minidrill. The actual width of cut is difficult to measure so it’s a bit of trial and error by cutting a groove and trying the rail for size, hoping I don’t go too narrow!

The photos show a tool I’ve made for a .75mm groove, as well as a stock photo of how it comes, with the holder.  I’ve just added a photo of the gauges that particular tool has been used for, for 3mm Society code 60 BH rail.  The grooves are just too tight for the code 60 FB I’m using.

Cheers,
Paul


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from:
Rob Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom



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Hi Paul,
Thanks for the info and the pics. 1.5mm bits are what I use for normal parting in my (small) lathe so will try grinding some down for this. At least brass doesn't need a top rake so there aren't too many angles to grind :) I have some narrow gauge projects to play with at some point that will need some gauges making.

Thanks again.
Rob


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from:
Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Hi Rob
I only have a Unimat 4, but that does most of what I need.  Build quality was pretty rubbish though and it took a lot of work to get it useful, including making the motor run in the right direction!

Cheers,
Paul

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