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Whitesands Quay trackwork

Simon Cox

13 Jul 2014

Narrow Gauge Railways


Whitesands Quay trackwork

I have now built two versions of the trackwork. Both have issues.

Handbuilt track and point controls

The track work on Whitesands Quay consists of four points providing a runaround and two sidings. This provides enough scope for interesting operations and operating sequences when exhibiting the layout. I built the track the traditional way using code 65 rail on copper clad sleepers. The most difficult part was the point work especially as this was my first attempt. I had some good advice and tips from fellow members of the GDNGRS and so tested the track and points as I built. I thought I had cracked it - a few areas of improvement were obvious but altogether I was quite pleased with the result. 

Then I discovered that several of my wagons didn't run the points. I had only tested with one Ninelines wagon and that had worked great but in retrospect I should have used a range of stock to test. So I put the track to one side and moved house. (Not because of this!)

A while back my friend Richard Glover tried to set up one of his layouts with servos operating the points using a MERG circuit board. He had some serious issues and didn't use then in the end. More recently though Peco brought out a point motoring set called Smart Switch. I thought those issues would have been solved so I purchased a set along with some new OO9 mainline flexitrack and points. It took a weekend to recreate the track work plan of Whitesands Quay and wire it all up. The servos worked perfectly and the throw and speed can be adjusted using the built in controls. I ran a locomotive over the track and all worked without any issues. Then I tried a second loco and things went to pot. 

This loco had an open frame motor and the interference from it sent the servos wild - all four switching from side to side at random. Friends have suggested screening the wires (bit of a pain) or buying more expensive motors. 

So I am back at a bit of an impasse again. I now have two sets of track work for the layout. One isn't quite good enough for smooth operation and the other is only going to behave if I use core-less motored locos.

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