North switch points

The points are by far the hardest part of getting Proto:87 running. The flanges are so tiny that they like to find any excuse to go the wrong way. For this switch, I originally planed the points using the Screaming Banshee Rail Grinder almost a year ago. Miraculously, I found them in my increasingly dusty garage. At that time, I planed all ten sets, as well as the frogs. However, as I built the other nine switches, I always chose the best ones, and so, the last set is the bottom of the barrel. One side was pretty good, but the straight point needed to get redone. That was when I remembered why I invented the Screaming Banshee Rail Grinder in the first place: filing points by hand is tedious business.

Anyway, I am still learning about shaping points, and so, this takes me the most time in a turnout. I think one thing that seems to improve performance is if the point is actually vertical on the back, rather than undercut. When they’re undercut, the pressure on the foot of the rail actually serves to rotate the head of the point away from the stock rail. I continue to fiddle with them until I can repeatedly run a truck through without derailing while the point is just sitting on the ties.

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My points are bonded to the switch rods with CA. Most points, I just glued in place while pushed against their stock rails. However, on the diverging route for this switch, I decided to give it a little help in the form of a clothespin clamp.

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While I was waiting for one point to set, I assembled the Bullfrog for this switch. Unfortunately, it is missing its spring; I expect it must have fallen on the floor, but I’ll be darned if I can see it down there. So, I guess I will be writing to FastTracks to see if I can get a new one.

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