East of the Blue Ridge

Chronicle of an On30 quarry railroad

Track revisions - turnouts

The Demo Crew left the track work on the layout full of gaps.

200318_04

Two of the gaps were to accommodate the Fast Tracks turnouts I had built for the new Shop Track. As is typical for Demo Crews, they were not particularly careful about how much track they ripped out.

200318_06

I placed the new turnouts as precisely as I could and held them in position with map tacks. Rails were trimmed to length and everything was marked up.


200323_11

The Fast Tracks jig I used to build the curved turnouts is actually for HO standard gauge. By now Fast Tracks probably produces On30 curved turnout jigs, but I worked with what I had. I brought the turnouts back to the bench and replaced the HO standard gauge crossties with On30 ties everywhere but under the frog and guardrails.

200325_27

The turnouts were then moved to my trusty old piano jig so I could cut the new wooden On30 ties needed for the install. Even though the turnouts are curved, I was still able to use the jig for tie length and spacing.

200325_28

The strings of ties were pulled out of the jig and glued on the roadbed per my earlier turnout test placement.

200326_30

Turnouts were placed on the ties to verify placement again.

Purchased from New Castle

Piedmont-Standard recently purchased a few locomotives and some rolling stock.

NC-C-Co

The recent additions came from a small coal mining operation in Alabama.

I met Ted McCormack when we were both in the James River Division On30 module group. We have kept in touch over the years since that group disbanded.

Ted had been in N scale before joining the module group. The theme for his On30 modules and new home layout was the New Castle Coal Company, which had been a family operation. Ted had some really awesome old photos of the mining and rail operations that provided reference and inspiration for his excellent modeling.

Old.Puss.2

After a while Ted decided to get back into N scale, and called me to let me know that his On30 inventory was up for sale if I was interested. I was very interested, as Ted has impeccable taste when it comes to such things. He had outfitted the New Castle Coal Company with smaller industrial style equipment which is precisely my intent for the Piedmont-Standard.

200324_15

I posed some of what I bought from Ted on one of the longest sections of mainline remaining on my layout.

200324_17

I had the intention of possibly working up a new photo for the website's homepage.

200324_22

That may be a while in coming, as my wife is working from home nowadays so my computer time is restricted. At least that is my excuse.

200330_04

Building Turnouts

The revised track configuration for the Piedmont-Standard requires two new turnouts.


I initially assumed I would build the new turnouts in place and just drew the new shop siding on the plan without a lot of thought given to frog angles or track geometry.

200212_12

It occurred to me to pull out my old Fast Tracks fixtures to see if I could use any of them to build the shop siding turnouts. Using the fixtures is preferable to building the turnouts in place since they make it much easier to maintain consistent dimensions and tolerances. I have built turnouts in place but it is a long process of fitting, adjusting, and tuning. FasTrack fixtures get me 90% of the way toward a reliable turnout and allow working at my bench rather than reaching over the benchwork.

200229_28

My curved fixture with a #6 frog angle was close enough to what the shop siding needed for me to give it a try. Over ten years since the last time I used them, the instructions, tools, and materials still felt familiar and the process went fairly quickly.

200228_25

I built the turnouts with overly long stock rails coming off to tie into the existing track work, hoping that would give me some "wiggle room" to splice new track into old.

200228_27

Test fitting the new turnout for the shop siding west end.


200305_01

New turnout for shop siding east end sitting on top of the old Ariel Church siding.

Installing Flex Track

Having decided to use cork roadbed for the standard gauge track, it was time to install it.


191115_06

Liquid Nails adhesive was used with plenty of weight applied until it set.

191112_04

And so it went with the new sections of Homasote roadbed.

191120_11

Once installed, the new Homasote roadbed was painted dark gray to seal it.

191127_14

Micro Engineering On30 code 70 flex track was installed on the hidden sections.

200210_04

New and revised On30 tracks that are not hidden will be hand laid.

Standard Gauge Roadbed

My meager supply of leftover Homasote went toward new roadbed.

I was able to piece together sections of reasonable length to do the hidden tracks.

191109_10

The long, straight standard gauge sidings would have required a puzzle of Homasote scraps, so another approach was needed. I had good results on the Railroad Display for the Quarry Gardens at Schuyler using Midwest cork roadbed and Atlas 2 rail O gauge flex track.

191107_04

Setting some O scale cork roadbed in position with a stick of O gauge flex track on it did not look right to me. The cork roadbed appeared too wide, and the flex track did not have the look of an industrial siding.

191108_09

Three strips of HO cork roadbed are narrower than two strips of O cork roadbed and appeared to be a better fit under O scale crossties.

191118_09

I went with three strips of HO cork roadbed for the standard gauge sidings at the mill site, which will be hand laid to P:48 gauge.