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I've spent the majority of the day filming again but this time instead of chasing trains round the garden, I've remained in the same place and everything today has been filmed over Low Shott viaduct.

I've missed not having the steam train running so I've got the coaches back out on track and coupled up to Black 5 No.45010. I noticed Andrew had placed some crew in the cab of his Black 5 and it really makes a difference so I've done the same with mine. Here's a photo of 45010 running tender first across Low Shott viaduct:

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And then to show the difference the addition of a driver and fireman makes, here's a photo of 45010, still running tender first, having just crossed Low Shott viaduct. Thanks Andrew. Next I think I need some lamps on the front.

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Over the next few days I intend doing a lot less filming because there's still work to be done on the layout and it's best to do it while the weather is settled. I also need a break from videos because you can't enjoy a running session the same when you have a camera in your hand all the time. Sometimes you just need to sit back and enjoy it.

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Despite getting the sprung points working I just knew there had to be a better, perhaps much easier way. I kept going back to what @ThomasIsaid about fastening a spring to the points and to a screw al

A little later than planned but here finally is a video with action over the past 2 days mainly featuring the SLW class 24 quartet in yesterday's bright sunshine.  

Here's a very brief video made up of clips taken during yesterday's running session, the final clip showing the train passing over the sprung points before crossing onto Low Shott viaduct.

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It's back to the layout today and a task that I've not been looking forward to, one that I've often thought about not even implementing, but one that really does need doing because the points at either end of the ground level section need some connecting track. I'm talking about the loop line and somehow I have to turn some of this lot....

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...into something that will fit in here next to the main running line.

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As you can see, the first couple of pieces have now been done and they weren't too bad because while they've been previously used they're almost complete lengths as purchased. Most of the rest has had the webbing that holds the sleepers apart removed as, if you remember, I altered the entire loop and mainline tracks to give a slightly bigger gap between sleepers when I first installed it. It's going to make the job longer and more fiddly but there's nothing wrong with the track itself so it really needs using rather than spending unnecessary money on new track that might even be difficult to get hold of at the present time. Fortunately I have enough rail joiners in hand.

Space is very tight around the curve but I've seen plenty of lines like that so it isn't a problem. Even with just 2 lengths installed it already looks better so that's an incentive for me to continue.

One thing I'd like to be able to do, and it's probably asking a bit too much, is to create spring points at either end and then use this section as double track running rather than a loop and mainline. I'd need the point to spring into normal position when facing but be able to be run through from the trailing end. I know point motors would do it for me but I'd like to be able to do it without. I wondered if anyone had any thoughts or seen any articles about doing anything similar?

 

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Some years ago I had similar thoughts about using sprung points and looked at possible solutions. The only one I found was to use Fleischmann points (Profi Track I think) which are, or were, non-isolating. The spring mechanism was covered by a metal plate which I think was steel, and fitted under the track. The radius of the curve was very tight as it was obviously intended for a table top "trainset" layout where moisture and outside debris would not be a problem. I think the rail might even have been made of brass. It did not look convincing and of course had HO sleeper spacing.

I have no idea what is in the current track range. Perhaps Fleischmann train sets include Roco track components following the merger of the companies. Maybe ThomasI would know.

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Hi Mick, I thought about this as it is very typical of points on the WHL and FNL.

When I was up on holiday in Brora a few years ago I did notice that the real points were sprung like that but also quite slow to return like they also had a damper fitted.

Anyway, the issue as I see it is the weight of carriages and trucks needs to be enough to overcome the spring and not ride up over the blades and derail. With light plastic rolling stock I think the spring will have to be fairly light but it will also have to be strong enough to keep the point blades in place for trains coming into it from the toe end.

The standard spring is meant to keep the switch rails in one of two positions. I don't know how they would need altered to always return to the straight. Perhaps one end needs relocated to the straight edge of the point?

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I've cut out many of the clips I filmed yesterday over Low Shott viaduct to compile a much shorter video and I've just uploaded it. I don't want to go overboard and overwhelm everyone with videos so there'll be break for a few days now before anymore appear.

 

12 minutes ago, Riddles said:

Some years ago I had similar thoughts about using sprung points and looked at possible solutions. The only one I found was to use Fleischmann points (Profi Track I think) which are, or were, non-isolating. The spring mechanism was covered by a metal plate which I think was steel, and fitted under the track. The radius of the curve was very tight as it was obviously intended for a table top "trainset" layout where moisture and outside debris would not be a problem. I think the rail might even have been made of brass. It did not look convincing and of course had HO sleeper spacing.

I have no idea what is in the current track range. Perhaps Fleischmann train sets include Roco track components following the merger of the companies. Maybe ThomasI would know.

I'll look into that Dave - it might give me some ideas.

I was thinking of a lightweight spring attached at distance to the tiebar or even a small weight. It would need to be very light in order that wagons could run through the trailing points without derailing but strong enough to move the points back across once the train had passed through. I would still use the current live frog module for frog power feed but would be nice to be able to do away with a motor.

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2 minutes ago, Clay Mills Junction said:

Hi Mick, I thought about this as it is very typical of points on the WHL and FNL.

When I was up on holiday in Brora a few years ago I did notice that the real points were sprung like that but also quite slow to return like they also had a damper fitted.

Anyway, the issue as I see it is the weight of carriages and trucks needs to be enough to overcome the spring and not ride up over the blades and derail. With light plastic rolling stock I think the spring will have to be fairly light but it will also have to be strong enough to keep the point blades in place for trains coming into it from the toe end.

The standard spring is meant to keep the switch rails in one of two positions. I don't know how they would need altered to always return to the straight. Perhaps one end needs relocated to the straight edge of the point?

Sorry, we must have posted at the same time and your thoughts reflect mine almost entirely! Thank you.

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I thought about putting sprung points on my tramway, where they are very prototypical. I did a few tests with an old hornby point and didn't get very far. That said, tram wheels can be rather small. As you say, the challenge will be getting the springs loose enough to allow coaches and wagons through.

The obvious, yet brave, thing to do is to remove the spring from the point. I say brave because I've tried to put turnout springs back in, and that makes soldering look like an enjoyable afternoon task. Set up a test board and see it you can run a wagon back and forth while adjusting the tension on your springy device.

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54 minutes ago, chris said:

I thought about putting sprung points on my tramway, where they are very prototypical. I did a few tests with an old hornby point and didn't get very far. That said, tram wheels can be rather small. As you say, the challenge will be getting the springs loose enough to allow coaches and wagons through.

The obvious, yet brave, thing to do is to remove the spring from the point. I say brave because I've tried to put turnout springs back in, and that makes soldering look like an enjoyable afternoon task. Set up a test board and see it you can run a wagon back and forth while adjusting the tension on your springy device.

Tramway points are very much shorter in the moving rails as well. Railway points are really not prototypical for a tramway.

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2 hours ago, Clay Mills Junction said:

Anyway, the issue as I see it is the weight of carriages and trucks needs to be enough to overcome the spring and not ride up over the blades and derail. With light plastic rolling stock I think the spring will have to be fairly light but it will also have to be strong enough to keep the point blades in place for trains coming into it from the toe end.

According to an email I received yesterday from Accurascale about their new PCA wagons, the recommended weight according to NEM is 25gms per axle. Ideally, that is the weight one should aspire to in order to work properly. Perhaps it's quite a challenge.

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8 hours ago, Riddles said:

Some years ago I had similar thoughts about using sprung points and looked at possible solutions. The only one I found was to use Fleischmann points (Profi Track I think) which are, or were, non-isolating. The spring mechanism was covered by a metal plate which I think was steel, and fitted under the track. The radius of the curve was very tight as it was obviously intended for a table top "trainset" layout where moisture and outside debris would not be a problem. I think the rail might even have been made of brass. It did not look convincing and of course had HO sleeper spacing.

I have no idea what is in the current track range. Perhaps Fleischmann train sets include Roco track components following the merger of the companies. Maybe ThomasI would know.

So I use the Fleischmann PROFI track (have a lot from childhood and adolescence) only inside in the shadow station.
I would not recommend this for outdoors either.
The production of the track is also discontinued for H0 due to the merger with Roco. The Fleischmann brand is now only in use for N Gauge.

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9 hours ago, Clay Mills Junction said:

Hi Mick, I thought about this as it is very typical of points on the WHL and FNL.

When I was up on holiday in Brora a few years ago I did notice that the real points were sprung like that but also quite slow to return like they also had a damper fitted.

Anyway, the issue as I see it is the weight of carriages and trucks needs to be enough to overcome the spring and not ride up over the blades and derail. With light plastic rolling stock I think the spring will have to be fairly light but it will also have to be strong enough to keep the point blades in place for trains coming into it from the toe end.

The standard spring is meant to keep the switch rails in one of two positions. I don't know how they would need altered to always return to the straight. Perhaps one end needs relocated to the straight edge of the point?

I did a trailable turnout with a Peco Y-turnout.
Simply attach a spring to the throw bar and to a screw next to the route.
However, the tractive force of the spring has decreased significantly over the winter, so I will soon have to install a new one.

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9 hours ago, chris said:

The obvious, yet brave, thing to do is to remove the spring from the point. I say brave because I've tried to put turnout springs back in, and that makes soldering look like an enjoyable afternoon task. Set up a test board and see it you can run a wagon back and forth while adjusting the tension on your springy device.

Yes the spring would have to be removed and I've also endured the task of trying to replace one on more than one occasion. Not something I would recommend. 

8 hours ago, Riddles said:

According to an email I received yesterday from Accurascale about their new PCA wagons, the recommended weight according to NEM is 25gms per axle. Ideally, that is the weight one should aspire to in order to work properly. Perhaps it's quite a challenge.

I got into the habit of weighing wagons some time ago and I can't for the life of me remember what they used to work out at now. I can tell that some of the wagons I use outdoors are very light - the oil tanks and the new PRA China Clay wagons in particular feel very light indeed but it's difficult on those two finding a suitable place to add any more. With the outdoor layout I only run shortish rakes of wagons and coaches so additional weight wouldn't cause a problem.

1 hour ago, ThomasI said:

...Simply attach a spring to the throw bar and to a screw next to the route....

It doesn't get any simpler than that Thomas and it's something I'll be trying out - thank you.

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I've almost got the loop line installed - though it still needs work to space out the sleepers and solder on the bonding wires. All the 'wooden' type sleepers are loose and have been slid onto the rails so I will need to ballast this in the near future in order to hold them all in place. It does look much better with the two tracks side by side again so I'm glad I decided to retain the loop.

From the point along Stackgarth Gill looking to Trundles Bridge....

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I need to sort out the wiring around the point as some of it was a temporary measure until I'd installed the loop.

From near to Watch House Tunnel down to Trundles Bridge... Those unsightly track bonds also need redoing.

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The east end of Watch House Tunnel.... For a short distance either side of the tunnel area I've reverted to concrete sleeper track as I had some spare left over.

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And the west end of Watch House Tunnel, where it reverts back to wooden sleepers.

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And I said at the beginning of this post that I'd 'almost' finished......well this is how much I have still to do....

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I know, but I really couldn't be bothered to do any more. It will still be there tomorrow.

 

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Hi Mick, wow coming along nicely, can you use nails to nail the track down to the concrete base,, the new house I can't do that, the sections will have to be pre-standing, I hope to screw the legs to the fence in four places to lock the  layout from moving when setting it up, more work, legs won be like they were at old house .

Look forward to seeing trains running again .

Nice day here be working on joining the bridge together this afternoon.

Tony from down under.

 

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I keep doing a bit Tony - making the most of a fine spell of weather. I've almost forgotten what it's like when it rains!

I'm still undecided as to whether I'm going to simply have a loop line or whether to run double track around the ground level section. If I'd settled on double track beforehand then I would probably have purchased new concrete sleepered track as many of the sleepers on the track I've just put down have seen better days. I would probably have to go back over it and ensure it's aligned better too as I didn't take too much care thinking it was just going to be a loop.

If I run double track then I would like to be able to incorporate sprung points at either end to save having to change them. If I decide on a loop then it makes sense to have the points motorised, though at a push I could always operate them manually. The one nearest the shed is still fitted with a motor and only requires the decoder replacing as I'd removed it when taking up the old plywood baseboard. The far point will need a new motor and linkage adding.

I might add some power to the 'loop' today and run something down it to see how it looks - perhaps that will help me decide how to proceed from here.

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I went straight out of the door this morning and fitted the remaining piece of flexi track to complete the loop. It was then that I noticed I hadn't fitted last nights final piece properly and had left a gap of about 1cm on the inside rail between it and the section before. I ended up having to cut a short piece of track out so that I could add a longer section in to bridge the gap. Maybe I would have been better finishing it off last night! Anyway, the loop is now back in though I've still to make sure it's all aligned properly and that's best done by eye in my opinion with a long rake of wagons. I connected one section up to the power bus and was amazed to discover it powered the whole lot throughout - due to the amount of tarnishing of the rail joiners and rails I half-expected many of the joints to be dead but a quick rub over with the track rubber and I was soon running a loco back and forth.

Now I'm left wondering what to do about the points and whether to stay with motors or try the 'sprung' version. I would like to be able to use the sprung method if I can get it to work reliably but I don't want to be picking wagons up off the deck all the time. I've been having a mess around with a spare point trying to gauge what force is required to hold the points in normal position and what weight the wagons need to be to run through them without riding up on the rails.  Dave @Riddles raised the subject of wagon weights suggesting that the NEM recommendation is for a weight of 25g per axle. I've had a few of mine on the scales today and most of them are slightly down on that figure, even the ones that I've already added additional weight to. A 2 axle wagon coming in at 50g is still pretty light in the hand but I imagine that much more than that might create problems further down the line with wheel bearing wear.

I have to admit that the view from the shed door across Low Shott viaduct is much better with double track beyond round the curve and it's nice to see a train coming towards you on the 'right side of the road', swing over the points and proceed onto the viaduct!

I feel like I'm more or less at a standstill now until I can fathom out what to do - or what I want to do.

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In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say.

Excuse the crudeness of the set-up but I've removed the over-centre spring from the point just off Low Shott viaduct so the blades are now loose and free. Using the operating linkage, which I previously installed with the car central locking motor, to connect to the point tie-bar, a rubber band looped around the trailing end and a rounded file passed through the opposite end of the band, there is now sufficient tension to keep the points in the normal position of travel from the viaduct. The plastic box houses the auto frog module for powering the live frog.

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While holding the file in position so that it doesn't move and using one of my lightest wagons, an empty HEA, I can run through the points without the wagon riding up onto the rails and once through, the point blades return to the normal position. It works, but there is a fine limit to reliable operation with the lightest wagons. I will have to do some testing with wagon weights in order find the optimum weight per axle for my needs.

I haven't yet sourced a suitable spring but there's no reason why the rubber band or a piece of elastic wouldn't suffice for the time being providing there's a means to adjust the tension. Obviously the points will need to be kept clear of dust and debris but that applies equally to points that are motorised.

 

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I managed to get hold of a selection of springs of varying sizes yesterday but none of them seem to be an improvement on the 'elastic' method. I say elastic because I substituted the rubber band seen in the photo above for a short length of elastic which works even better. However I've found that it's important that there's no unnecessary friction anywhere in the linkage - it does all need to glide as smoothly as possible if you are to have the least resistance on the elastic when forcing the points over and enough 'bounce' to return the points to normal position. I'll be having another go with it today.

I've also been ensuring my wagons are of sufficient weight and I've decided on a figure of 60g for 2-axle wagons. This wasn't easy, especially for wagons such as the small tanks where there's insufficient room to add any additional weight without it being visible. So I've done what I thought of doing a few days ago, and drilled holes in the bases, added 16g of dry sand and stuck a small piece of plasticard over the hole afterwards. You'll see from the photo that the tanks have already had additional weight glued directly beneath the axle and I probably need to look at the wheels as in the photo they appear a bit wobbly.

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And you might gasp...but I've done exactly the same with my 'new' PRA wagons where again there's no room to add any additional weight. Drilling the holes was scary, especially as you have to drill through a small weight at the base so need to have a firm grip on the wagon but I managed it without causing any damage. The difference between the tanks and the PRA's is that on the PRA's there's a small gap between the plastic base of the wagon and the weight sitting just above it, so after filling with the sand I plugged the hole with a bit of old blutac before sticking on a plasticard cover.

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The grain wagons were easier and I was able to use the weight from a 16t mineral wagon that I've previously loaded with real coal, as it fits nicely underneath.

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I've been out this morning and have now connected a spring between the point linkage and the elastic with the elastic secured to a screw that I can turn to adjust the tension. I have to say that it's not entirely the tension of the spring that returns the points to the normal position but also the weight of the spring itself - in fact I go back to my thoughts a few days ago where I suggested that a counter-balanced weight could work equally as well as a spring and I believe that's the case. Anyway. for now I'll persevere with the spring method and see how it goes. It's been working with almost all my wagons this morning, the worst offenders being Bachmann OTAs and OBA/OCAs which ideally need some additional weight for them to be absolutely reliable.

I've removed and checked all the wheels on the tank wagons after seeing the wobbly one in the previous photos but I can't say I came across one that needed anything doing to it so it may just have been distortion in the photo.

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Posted (edited)

I did wonder whether miniature ball bearing type bearings could be used on rolling stock so they rolled more easily and could bear more weight and therefore be more stable. Then I realised why this has never been taken up before; with such low rolling resistance, the stock would need to be braked and that is far more difficult in this scale.
If there were one or two problematic wagons, then it might be a solution if they aren't a whole rake.

Edited by Clay Mills Junction
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