Right-O-Way: How to Build a ROW Turnout – Part 2

Part 2:

This is where the dialogue for that now infamous Curved RH #8 begins.

Comments for part 2:

Here I will explain the little snipers waiting in the bushes for you.  There are more than a few.  Mainly because of the change in elevation between the 1/8″ balsa + the code 125 and the 3/16″ + code 148 in a very short distance as would be typical in a yard adjacent to a main track.


In the addendum I’ll show photos of tools,  pitfalls, and tips that will save you some trouble.

Tie Template

Here are a few samples of what I use to lay out ties for a given switch number.  Left to right is: #8 double slip, #8 crossover, #7 crossover, #6 crossover and a #5.  In each case, to flip from RH to LH, after you tape the ties together, flip them over, tape the back side, then hold the ties securely and remove the first layer of tape.

You can use any old scraps of ties for your spacers.  In certain places where things cramp up a bit, like around the frog, HO switch ties come in handy.  Below is the template for a #7LH crossover.  Right now we are just concerned with one half of the equation.  In the photos below you can see an AREA #7 has a lead of 62′.  In one to 48 that’s 15 and 1/4 inches.  In the lower right pic the purple arrows show the crossing of the rail lines marked in red.  The ends of the ties are pencil.

      Some miscellaneous notes:  after gluing the spacers down, let them dry then sand them.  When time comes to tape the strip, some won’t come out if the spacers are too high.  Also, watch the distance between the spacers.  If you have to push the tie into the space, the tape will never pull it out.  So just take a knife and cut yourself a little room as needed.  This spacing does not have to be perfect, but not funky either.  I have templates that allow for crossovers.  This is a different breed of cat than just two turnouts across from each other.  I’ll go into that at a later time if there is any interest.

The pic on the left shows the headblocks with the red down arrows.  The yellow arrow points to where the tip toe of the points should be.  Notice for the length of the points, in this case 16′ 6″ the ties are the same width as the other side of the headblocks.  Then they start to gradually get larger.  Hold it!  About now you must be wondering “where do I get the original drawings for what I want to build?”  Right!  A problem I have is I am not sure just what authority I have to pass that sort of info along.  But I can tell you what I did:  Internet!  Search for specific railroads with the words ‘track’ and ‘switch’ and ‘turnout’ included.  From there a lot of ideas will open up.  btw: just for the heck of it:  In 2 rail O Scale a #8 crossover is nearly 4′ long.  Cool!

Disc Motor Tool

Notice the tool itself is set in a cradle.  Also notice for $19 you get 100 Inch and a half disks.  I have found the discs are just the right size for working with code 125 and 148 rail.  Also, they are just big enough they hit the deck while still spinning when you set the tool down, which means you have to stop and replace disks and you are down one without doing any work.  So I use a left over HO cradle.  The inch and a half x 25 thousandths will get you a cleaner and more vertical gap between rails.  You pretty much have to lay the tool right down on the rail.  Have I mentioned goggles?  Eye protection.  This could be your most useful tool and the most dangerous.  Mine spins at up 35 thousand rpm’s.  The cutting edge is about 12″ from your face.  Hell, I’m not gonna say any more, just do it!  Please be careful!

Pete Mottershead
Specialty Track Services.
919 880 3115