July 5, 2010

Cooling off at Brooke

 
The hot weather was a perfect excuse to work in the air conditioned basement and I was able to get all the track installed at Brooke this 4th of July weekend. We did sneak out early on Saturday and Monday to play golf at the local course, and went to a nice cookout on Saturday night, but the real action was in the basement this weekend. BTW, the temperature never did hit 100, only 98.

This is an overview of the siding at Brooke. I installed three turnouts and the track. The two sidings in the fore ground are curved. They came out nice and work well. I am starting to get a feel for what makes these things work properly. The curve in the foreground is 30 inches radius. The hidden return track to Aquia can be seen popping through the wall in the left rear.



This is the southern end of Brooke. Slightly above and to the rear are the splines for the future hidden track that leads to Aquia Harbor. I have some flex track for the hidden track so hopefully it will install quickly. The hidden track will be accessible with a removable section of terrain.

I used  Devcon two-part 5-minute epoxy to glue the switch stands to the ties. Combined with some spikes it makes a very secure bond. At one point my elbow knocked one of the  the switch stands while driving spikes. The stand failed at the solder joint with the base plate, but the epoxy joint between the base plate and the tie held. It was a simple matter to re solder the stand. I wasn't sure if the heat compromised the existing epoxy, so I mixed a little more and built up a fillet around the base to reinforce it. The nice thing about building everything your self is that when you break something, it is easier to fix.



I made some laser cut jigs for the track spacing in the section with two tracks. These jigs really helped when laying out the curved turnouts on the northern end.




One problem I encountered was that the arms on the switch stands are too long and are interfering with cars as they pass when the turnout is set with the arm towards the track. I ended up unsoldering the targets, trimming the arms and then reattaching the targets. They will require some touch up painting.

Now that this area is done, it won't be long before I'm installing track at Aquia Harbor. There still is a good bit of work to get the track operational, but the end of this phase is in sight.

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