Wednesday 7 February 2018

Layout Extension #6

I had an Atlas track switch in place for running off the main track and into the spur to the abandoned factory.  This spur actually acts as a switchback to another industry that actively receives pellet hoppers and boxcars.

I didn't really much care for the Atlas switch, as most of my others are Peco and in general I find the Pecos to be more reliable.  I like the spring action of them compared to the looseness of the Atlas.  And since this one was to be buried in "concrete", I didn't want any unnecessary headaches afterward.

I found a Peco switch at the train show in Paris, Ontario a couple of weeks ago, so I bought it and got ready to replace the Atlas one.  Easier said than done.  For me anyway.

For starters, the Peco switch turned out to have a broken solder connection to one of the jumper wires beneath the insulated frog.  I'm not that good with soldering, and I try to avoid it if I can. But I pretty much had to take a crack at it this time, because returning the switch to the dealer for replacement could take a while since he's a good 60 miles away. Replacing the Atlas switch had been holding up progress on my street project, and I was wanting to get things going again.

I just had to cut out two ties from the switch in order to fit my old soldering iron into the small space where the jumper wire had to connect to the bottom of the rail. I surprised myself when it only took me two tries to get the wire soldered into place successfully.

The next problem to overcome was the fact that the two brands of switches are not the same length and angle, so some cutting and splicing of track was going to have to be done.  That bit of trackwork took a couple of hours. I'm used to doing that though, so I didn't mind too much.

All in all, just to get the new switch repaired, installed, and track re-worked was about 3 hours, maybe a little more. Could have been worse I suppose.  After that I set about cutting .020 styrene inserts to serve as the roadway pavement that the switch is to be set into.

Here's the new Peco switch, with the 2 ties cut out at the frog.  With this much finally accomplished, I could proceed further with extending the street pavement.

The switch with the white styrene inserts in place, and the surrounding area. The pink areas are wet DAP spackling, which will turn white when it's dry. The spackling was so thick, that I let it dry for two days before sanding it smooth.

The spackling is dry and sanded, and brush painted grey with acrylic craft paint.  I scored the expansion lines into it with the back of an Xacto knife.

Here, the inserts have been spray painted grey using Tremclad Primer. The spackling street concrete has been given a couple of coats of india ink and alcohol, which darkened the expansion cracks.  The concrete in between the double tracks is .040 styrene cut and press fitted into place.


  1. You wouldn't happen to have a track plan would you? I'm very curious about how you've laid this out.

  2. I do not have a track plan drawn out. I've never even thought of doing that. I could try to sketch one with pencil and paper sometime and post it.

    Thanks for the idea!