Friday, 1 February 2013

Jumped too far


Jumped too far ahead.

     In my last post I now realize that I jumped ahead just a bit to far, so today I want to go back a few years to early 2003.

     The National N Scale convention was being held in Melbourne for the second time in April of 2003 ( the first was 1991) and this time we decided to have layouts as part of the convention rather than self drive tours as at some of the previous conventions held in other states.
     My layout was on the list for about 140 odd N Scalers to attend over the course of the day in three buses arriving one after the other.
     So whilst cleaning the track in preparation one of my already ballasted in place turnouts decided that it's throw-bar would break away from the point rails. The soldered joint was very weak. At this stage of layout development all of my turnouts were hand thrown and that's the way I thought that I would go even as the layout progressed. A bit of muttering both out loud and under my breath I replaced the turnout and everything was then ok for the convention open day. The tour went well and so after a bit of thinking and discussion with close friends it was decided that to be really sure this was not going to happen again that I should remove all of the M,E turnouts and modify them, big call, there was over 50 in place so let's think about this some more.
     Well after discussions with my Financial Controller (missus) we decided that once these turnouts were modified I would go ahead and fit Tortoise motors at the same time. I owe her big time.
     So out they came one by one and modified to the very best level we could. New full length point blades were made, printed circuit board ties were fitted near the frog with isolation gaps cut to prevent shorts and we powered the frog. Each of these were fitted back in place and the tortoise motors installed.
     I started at the town of Winfield and gradually worked my way through Red Rock, Ponca City, Hackney and Guthrie having first to soften the ballast and carefully remove the turnouts without damaging them and the track on either side. Augusta and Flynn were the biggest yards so I called in some help. Fortunately Augusta was still void of any scenery so it made that yard a whole lot easier.
     Two new control panels were made to allow the fitment of the turnout toggle switches at Augusta as there was just no room with the DC block control switches already in place.
Here is John helping to fit Tortoise motors at Augusta

The deep fascias made a big difference at least we could get our hands in some of the way.

Here is a view of Augusta from the entry door. The duck-under connects with Flynn for continuous running.
      As we wired the motors we made sure that we added all 8 wires so we could connect them to some of the signals that were already in place only to show the state of the turnout. I also added metal rail joiners on each track of the turnouts and cut rail gaps under the signals and filled these with styrene and glued them in with super glue. Once dry I gently filed them to the profile of the track and now you can hardly tell they are there.
     A very big job and made harder by having to retro fit the motors. Thanks to John F and John C for their tireless help it sure does make it easier when one has good friends to assist.
     That's it for this post so until the next.
Thanks for dropping by.
Rod.

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