February 2013
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Racing Around………… Not Really

It has been a few weeks now since I completed the Helix and I can now run trains in a loop. The Helix has come with a few issues as I was laying the track. The adhesive caulk I used has proven not to be as good as I first hoped it would be. I had to keep going back and adding a little more caulk in spots and clamping the rail back down again as the caulk kept letting go. I’m not sure if it was the adhesive caulk, the rail expanding and contracting, my construction technique or a combination of these. With our heating season upon us the track definitely expands a bit and may pop out of these spots on occasion so the helix has to be watched closely and a slow order has been advised for this location. I’m not going to worry about it too much as I hope it won’t last too long before I start to expand.

With the helix as complete as it is ever going to be, I can now run a train around and test out my mainline. I discovered three different spots in the track work that are either giving me grief or I’m just not happy with the way it “flows”.  I’m also having issues with making my turnout controls work satisfactory in a crossover at the West end of Cole.

  • I have two different Micro Engineering turnouts that are not working out and will either need tweaking, a turnout throw or just simply replaced altogether with one built from my Fast Tracks jig.


  • I have another ME turnout that I was never happy with as it was in the middle of a curved section of track. Now that I have built a few turnouts I decided to replace this with a custom built curved turnout. I just finished it but have not installed it yet.                                                                                                                                 
I don't like how I go from a curve to a brief straight section through the turnout then curve again

I don’t like how I go from a curve to a brief straight section through the turnout then curve again

My very first custom switch for the West switch at Keaton.

My very first custom curved turnout to replace the straight one for the West switch at Keaton.

  • For my turnout control I have started using the Bullfrog from Fast Tracks and because of the space under the layout in three places I am forced to use a Sidewinder as well. However, now I’ve run into a problem with the crossover at the West end of Cole. I want one knob to control the two Bullfrogs at the same time and no matter how I work it, the control rod joining the two Bullfrogs just doesn’t have enough room to work properly. The crossover is so close to the wall the bend in the rod is too tight and just will not work.  😥

What I am going to try is a Mole from the guys over at Proto:87. My other option is also the Tam Valley Depot Servos. I’ll let you know how this works out once they arrive and get installed.


Once I have these problems solved I will be working on my track placement in my towns and I also have a few decoders I can install.


See Ya


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