In Model Railway Journal 234, Howard Bolton has a super article about building complex trackwork. It would have been great to understand more about what he does, but even in this relatively short article, I picked up a nugget, which I’m going to capture here so I remember it the next time I go to build track.
Where I fit the points to my track last, Howard builds his points as assemblies with their adjacent stock rail. That means that when he goes to lay the stock rail, he can ensure the gauge through the point doesn’t get tight. I’ve had to address such tightening on two turnouts so far. It would be much better if the stock rails had just been in the right place to begin with.
Speaking of points, I attended a clinic on handlaying turnouts at the train show last weekend. Mike Chandler has presented the same slides – yes actual slides – several times over the past forty years, but this was my first opportunity to see them. He has a bullet-proof assembly for his points.
At the toe of the points, Mike uses 1/16 inch Arborite for a throwbar. He solders brass tabs to the bottoms of the points and screws through the tabs into holes tapped into the throwbar. At the heel end, he solders a tab to the stock rail, and spikes the heel of the point through this tab to form the hinge. The heel of the point then rubs against the tab every time the point is thrown, ensuring positive electrical contact.