Track Realignment in Clearwater

Well another month has come and gone so its time for my monthly report on the construction progress.

I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but February is a short month. There has been progress made on the layout. All the track work is laid in Clearwater except for the curved turnout on the east side of town. I need to build another section of bench work that takes the mainline behind the furnace, as the turnout is presently too close to the edge of the present bench work. This will also give me a run around track so switching can be done in Clearwater.

One change to the trackplan (I’m sure there will be many others) was the realignment of the team/interchange track. I did not like the fact that I would have to reach over the standard gauge track and car to uncouple a On30 car located at the other side of the transfer dock. The new arrangement now has the narrow gauge track in front of the transfer dock and the standard gauge track at the back of the transfer dock and against the backdrop.

On a different subject, I’ve been thinking of using flextrack and commercial switches for the Big Tank siding (gasp). The reasoning behind this is that access behind the furnace and hot water tank is limited for hand laying and the trackage would essentially be hidden from view.

Electrically all the feeders have been installed and connected to the bus for all the track work laid to date. I have hit one small snag with the turnouts though. Because of the gaps at the frog some engines stall going through the frogs at slow speeds. My 0-4-0 porter not only stalls, but stops dead. This is because the dead frog. If I was going to be using electric switch motors this would be an easily solved problem. But I prefer throwing the turnouts by hand when I’m switching so I’m using Caboose Hobbies Switch stands.

I think I’ve found away to solve the frog problem. I ordered and received some phosphor bronze sheets from Micro-mart that I’ll cut into small squares and glue them to a switch stand tie and use a Phosphor bronze rod soldered to the throw bar to switch polarity to the frog. This will be all wired to the frog. More on this later as I work out the best way to set this up.

I also solved the problem of where to store and display my equipment. As you can see from earlier pictures, the equipment is being displayed on shelves where the backdrop should be. I got a fairly large medicine cabinet at a really, really good price complete with 2 glass shelves and no doors. So, I’ve modified the studs in a wall on the other side of the basement and nor the cabinet is built into the wall. I’m waiting on the 3 glass shelves I’m getting custom made to fit. Once I get and install them I’ll be able to glue on the sliding door tracks and cut the Plexiglas I have to fit.

Well that’s all there is to report for now, Time to build the extra bench work section I need and start thinking about building some buildings for Clearwater before the train crews start asking questions.

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