Well, as we come off the curve of the eastbound main, I built the entrance to the yard tracks and the branch line. This first turnout went comparatively well, being finished in about an hour and a half. I had previously laid all the ties in the throat as you can see. I figured the next step would be easy as I had an Old Pullman pre-made double slip switch to cover both crossing the branch and accessing the arrival track.
Well, I was completely mistaken in that belief as the switch was a mess. It did not work and was not in any kind of gauge. So, I had to disassemble it on the bench and then relay it on a shim stock base to hold the frogs in place. Out came the torch as I held my breath and unsoldered all the frogs. I then reassembled every thing and held it all in place with spikes while I used the torch to solder it all together. Then I took it to the layout and it seemed to fit the diagram that I had made. The next problem was the way he had designed the points - they were just to flex by moving the rails - there was no joint or pivot. When I spiked it all down, I realized that the rail was too stiff and I had to make pivots. So, out came the smallest diameter cutting wheel I had to cut through the point rails without cutting the adjacent running rails and then insert rail joiners to provide the pivots. I am now at the 90% point as I have to adjust the frogs that I used to replace the ones he sent. I used cast #8 frogs from Trackside Specialties that really looked a lot better. I have invested about 7 days in this one switch as I have had to stop many times along the way. I am hoping to move right along on the next two turnouts and then lay out the actual ladder. Based on a planning session we had on Monday night, I will have to build a three way turnout at the end of the ladder. It looks like it will be a combination of a #10 and a #7. Am I looking forward to that or what! This is needed to get into the separate steam and the diesel engine servicing facilities. More later!
Well, now that we completed the ladder turnouts on the west end of the yard, we have pushed on to install most of the yard tracks themselves. This is a view from the center aisle showing the four yard tracks and the Arrival and Departure tracks along with the two main tracks. I had two open houses recently. One was for a local Model railroad club and the other was for some prototype enthusiasts. I also had a weekend with my grandson. So, I put out some extra cars so we could run some trains. I had a 43 car train running around behind some Sharks. They looked great. Here you see that we put some cars in the yard with a switch
engine, a Baldwin unit. This is a closer view of it. This is a test train to run back and forth as I test the track. All is well so far.
Here is a view from the other side as I stand in the main aisle. We are looking towards the east end of the yard. I plan to lay track down to where I have to build more switches.
A higher shot, further down the yard, looking east. The last track to the right is not actually laid down as I have to build the run around track there and I was checking clearances.
Here is the end of the line. I have to build the ladder switches and the crossings to get into the yard on the east end.
Here we are at the east end and you can see the switch templates are down so I can check my alignments and make sure it will all flow well.
A higher view that shows the location of a double slip that will be the second switch in from the east bound main track. I have checked the framing under the top and I seem to be able to fit it all in. I have not checked that on the ladder turnouts yet. but am keeping my fingers crossed.
A closer view showing where the ladder will go - next to where you see that aluminum rod to the left that ends under the soldering iron.
Here is a distance shot looking back into the yard with the branch high on the wall in the rear. The flow of the yard is nice but I am concerned about the coupling on a curve issue. There are plenty of curves in this yard. It looks like Clifton Forge on the C&O.