East of the Blue Ridge

Chronicles of an On30 quarry railroad

Lots of New Turnouts

A long expanse of new crossties stretched away from Ariel Church all the way to Piedmont Mill.

First order of business was to stain them and the Homasote roadbed a dull black with a heavy coat of ebony wood stain.

Once dry, the stain was sanded almost completely off the tops of the ties.

Once that mess was cleaned up, I went back and stained the tops of the ties with a random application of wood weathering gray solution, Floquil Driftwood and pickling stains.

Then ballast was spread over the roadbed, shaped and graded with a paintbrush, then soaked with a water and alcohol mix. While still wet, the ballast was saturated with diluted matte medium. Once that was dry, I used a single edge razor blade and dental pick to clean ballast off the tops of the crossties. A thin acrylic wash of dirt and mud tones was then applied to the ballast and ties.

I drilled an eighth inch hole down through the roadbed centered between the point crossties, and centered between where the rails would run over them.

This was used as a pilot hole for drilling a five eighths inch hole up through the subroadbed. I did not drill up through the Homasote. Once the hole was drilled up through the subroadbed, I went back up on top and elongated the pilot hole to the width of the larger hole underneath.

Six new Tortoise switch machines were tested prior to installation using a toy transformer.

I bent six actuating rods from the heaviest gauge piano wire that would fit through the #56 holes I had drilled in my turnout throws. I am afraid it might be too stiff, and cause undue strain on the throw solder joints. Time will tell.

Each Tortoise switch machine was attached under the subroadbed, first with just two screws to allow some adjustment, then with four screws tightened to hold it securely in place.

Each actuating rod was centered, then checked to make sure it was centered in the hole through the roadbed.

The turnout was then dropped down over the actuating rod. I slipped 1 mm thick styrene shims under the PCB ties near the throw to help reduce friction of the switchpoints rubbing across the wooden crossties when the turnout is thrown.

Track is being extended to connect the installed turnouts.