Monday, May 30, 2016

Working with MicroEngineering Turnouts

A recent post on the Canadian Model Trains post asked about curving commercial turnouts. I can only comment on using MicroEngineering turnouts because that's all I have on my layout.

MicroEngineering turnouts specifically note that this is possible in their instructions. Here's how I've been using them, with some additional modifications.

Unfortunately the turnouts are all installed, so I can't show you the the underside of the webbing, etc, but here's the basic process.

1. Curve toward the diverging route. This will make the radius on the diverging route sharper. ME only manufactures #6 turnouts. You can curve it the other way, which makes more of a wye than a curved turnout and doesn't work quite as well.

2. Leave the areas through both the hinged points and the frog straight (it works better and is prototypical). In other words, only curve the section between the frog and hinge, and the portion beyond the frog.

3. Cut the webbing on the outer rail of the curve, along with the inner tracks, leaving the webbing intact on the inner rail only. I cut the webbing between every other tie. You can do all of them, but the more you curve the turnout, the more of a gap you'll get between the diverging rail and frog.

In addition, I make a few other modifications. First I try to eliminate the short sections of rail just past the frog.

To do this slide the short pieces of rail out of the turnout. Then remove the ties from the next piece of track, and cut the main rail short enough to allow the other rail to reach all the way to the frog (leaving a gap of course to avoid a short). This eliminates a joint and the need to solder a feeder to this small section of rail. 

Notice that the short pieces of rail to the inner tracks left of the frog have been eliminated.

Where needed, you can nest the next turnout up to the frog. 

1. Prep the first turnout by removing the small piece of rail after the frog on the appropriate route.

2. Measure the outer rail on that route to determine the correct length. Using track cutters, press the rail very hard against the ties on either side of your cut, and cut the rail to length. This will prevent it from lifting the rail when you cut it, which will at best mean that you have to figure out how to reassemble the turnout, at worst it will break off all of the scale spike heads that hold the rail in place and you'll need a new turnout.

3. Cut out all except the last two ties behind the frog.

4. On the second turnout, remove the first two ties, then slide the rail into the last two ties on the first turnout. Solder the outer rail to strengthen the turnout and maintain electrical continuity. 

Here's an example:
The points of the middle turnout is much closer to the frog than the points of the turnout on the left.

Using this same technique, you can create crossovers. The length of the turnout beyond the frog places the track centers at about 2". This is less than many people use, but more prototypical (still too wide). So if you're going to use this approach it's best to work it into your layout plan from the start.

In this case, you'll leave half of the ties on the diverging route on each turnout so you can slide the outer rail from each turnout into the frog on the other turnout. You'll also need to shorten the ties between the two turnouts, some all the way to the edge of the tie plate to clear each other. 

I don't worry about the gaps between the middle of the ties. I fix that while ballasting.

Note that the middle two turnouts are also nested end-to-end, eliminating the short sections of rail.
The outer two turnouts are not nested, and those sections of rail remain.

And here are two nested back to back with a handlaid diamond crossing.

Still have a few ties to add.
You might be able to tell that some of the wing rails is an experiment in using CMVW plastic ones from their turnout kits.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A prototype for everything...

Due to a recent comment on the Steam Era Freight Cars list...

This is a picture taken from the May-June 1948 Along The Line magazine published by the New Haven Railroad.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Philadelphia Transfer

So, I've been working on operations and was looking through blocking information for the trains that pick up in New Britain. For ANE-1, which is the Hartford leg of the Speed Witch, that meets NE-1 (the Speed Witch) in Bridgeport, one of the classifications is Phila. Tfr. which is listed in the beginning of the Arranged Freight Service books as Philadelphia Transfer.

But I couldn't find any information about it online. I figured it was in Philadelphia, of course, and my guess is that it's for L.C.L since most of the Speed Witch is.

Then I found this map.

And there is is, toward the lower left, at the east end of the 52nd St. Yard - Phila Transfer L.C.L.

Interestingly, the map not only lists the stations (which in railroad terminology designates a town that has a passenger station and/or freight house and/or team tracks or bulk tracks in NH terminology), but whether they take L.C.L or carload traffic.

But even more interesting is that at the beginning of the NH Arranged Freight Service books, it lists PRR classifications as well. One of the classifications is Speed Witch (another is the aforementioned Philadelphia Transfer), and all of the stations classified as Speed Witch appear on this map:

Bridesburg, Pa. Carload
Bustleton, Pa. Carload
Dock St. Phila., Pa. Carload
Engleside, Phila., Pa. LCL and carload
Fairhill Station, Phila., Pa. LCL and carload
Frankford, Pa.  LCL and carload
Holmsburg Jct, Pa. LCL and carload
Kensington Sta., Phila, Pa. LCL and carload
Midvale, Pa. LCL and Carload
North Penn, Pa. Carload
North Phila., Pa. LCL and carload
Norris St., Phila,. Pa. Carload
Ontario St., Phila, Pa. LCL and carload
Sears Sta., Phila., Pa. LCL and carload
Shackamaxon Sta., Phila., Pa. LCL and carload
Tacony, Pa. LCL and carload
Tiaga St., Phila., Pa.  Carload

Vine St., Phila., Pa. Carload

Taken from NH Arranged Freight Service #79 (April 25, 1950).

So not only do I have more information for where these cars are going, but also whether they would be LCL or carload. Incidentally, my suspicion was that the carload shipments are for team tracks, not industries.

And as it turns out, I can look that up too. I happen to have a copy of PRR C.T. 1000 for May 1, 1945 - List of Stations and Sidings and Instructions for making Reports to the Superintendent Car Service. This lists every siding, private and railroad owned, on the PRR.

So looking at a couple of the entries, say Bridesburg and Tacony. In addition to all of the industries (and a couple of storage sidings) listed in Tacony, it also lists at mile marker 76.9 (from Jersey City Passenger Station) Freight Station and Public Delivery. In Bridesburg it lists at mile marker 78.7 just Public Delivery. The freight station entry is self explanatory, with Public Delivery the designation for what modeler's tend to call a team track.

These will all provide some interesting destinations for waybills on the layout.

As a bonus, recently Ted Culotta mentioned a book on his called The Railroad Freight Service. While it's nice to have a hard copy, you can view this book in its entirety at Hathitrust here. Just scroll down and select which copy you'd like to view, two universities have scanned it. As Ted said, it's a very helpful resource.