Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fast Tracks - Initial Impressions

I am to the point now that I have just about run out of the Atlas code 83 turnouts that I have been using to lay track. Since the Acca yard as originally planned would take a bunch of #6s and #8s, I was looking to spend a fairly good chunk of coin just to handle that part of the layout. That doesn't begin to figure out what I would spend for everything on the upper level.

I am mostly happy with the performance of the Atlas turnouts that I've put down, though they aren't going to win any awards for visuals with the huge cast frog that includes nice, shiny flangeways.

I decided to move everything to #8s in the yard (SD90s and 89 foot flatcars aren't fans of #6s..) to give me the prototypical flavor and looks that go with modern railroading; my original plan was number #8s on the Arrival and departure tracks, and #6s, everywhere else, but upon further reflection, I figured all number 8s would suit me better.

With those thoughts in mind. I purchased a fast tracks #8 cross over jig. This jig will let me build either right or left turnouts, single and double (aka scissor) crossovers. I also purchased some extra quick sticks and extra PCB ties.

Everything arrived in good shape and I set out to start building some turnouts. I used Micro Engineering rail that I bought locally at Chesterfield Hobbies (I've just about cleaned them out of Code 83 ME rail twice); too bad they don't have any compatible ties. :( (And the ME ties I bought a bit ago don't work either, as they are too short to match up to Atlas flex track or to the ties and quick sticks that Fast Tracks sells.)

First two turnouts were learning experiences; I have to rework them as I didn't follow the directions exactly when I formed the stock rail on the diverging side. (It needs a slight bend or kink in it, just like most prototypical trackwork so the point fits in nicely.)

The next two have been pretty nice:

I built them as part of a yard ladder (the start of the A/D tracks) but it looks like my switch build area wasn't setup correctly to get the diverging routes on 2" centers, so I'll be cutting these apart and just connecting them with rail joiners. The bottom two switches in the ladder I've got laid out correctly, so I will be getting those done shortly.

Another couple of gratuitous pictures:

No comments:

Post a Comment