Version 7.1

Whitesands Quay trackwork

Simon Cox


Model Railways

I have now built two versions of the track-work. Both have issues.

Hand-built 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 them 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 (a 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.