Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Round and Round She Goes, and Where She Stops Nobody Knows

The last time you saw any work on my new layout there was just a new paper track template. Things have moved on quite a bit since then.

Firstly I spent quite a lot of time at the mind numbing task of cutting and then filing a groove into the 90 sleepers required for the layout. I used the same jig as before to help measure and cut the sleepers which definitely makes the job easier although it's still rather boring. The sleepers were then all attached to the template using double sided sticky tape. That is the easy part, next up is the rails.

Obviously the rails needed to be curved into shape before I could try soldering them to the sleepers. Curving them as I went would just have ended in disaster. Now I don't know of anyone who sells a rail bender for OO9 gauge but I bought one from KBscale designed for use with a slightly large rail (their market is 7mm scale modelling). This consists of three sets of washers bolted to a plate. Sliding the rail between the washers introduces a curve into the rail while keeping it flat and not allowing it to twist. I used the tightest setting and it worked perfectly. In fact it produced rails with a curve slightly tighter than I needed.

With the rail nicely curved I soldered on the outside rail first using the template to guide the positioning. I needed two pieces of rail to complete the circle so there are two gaps, one is a nice flush join, the other is a little wider than I would like, but I've now filled it with some solder and filed it back and it seems okay. With the outer rail in place I then soldered the inner rail in place using the excellent rail gauges Paul turned for me. Again two pieces of rail were needed to make the circle but I made a better job of the joints.

Of course having two rails at roughly the right distance apart doesn't mean they will work as track. The only way to know for certain is to add a locomotive and some electricity and see what happens...

I thought I might have to adjust a few tight spots but I couldn't spot any obvious problems so it looks like the track is done (structurally at least, it still needs painting etc.). The video was taken before I filled the over large gap in the outside rail which is what you can hear as the loco passes through the left side of the circle. With the gap filled in the noise is a lot less obvious.

While I was really happy with the short test track, given it was my first attempt at building track, I'm really impressed with how this has come out. I always assumed I'd just be buying track when I built a new layout so I owe a huge thanks to Paul for providing the gauges and everyone who has provided suggestions, advice, and encouragement!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Adrian, as you can probably tell I'm seriously pleased with the result.

  2. Nice work Mark, glad to know that the gauges worked as they should. Now you have somewhere to test chassis for hours on end!

    1. The gauges were perfect Paul, thanks again for turning them for me. Other than it being a little trickier to get the rail to stay in the right place while soldering (it naturally wanted to curl a bit more than I needed) it wasn't any more difficult than the straight track and the weight of the gauges certainly help keep things in place. The only awkward bit was getting the joints right; the first one as I said was a bit large but the rest are pretty perfect.

      I'm looking forward to some destructive testing of the next Hudson-Hunslet chassis!