Remember the Top Deck of my fixed home layout? Well, things have been quiet on the blog front because I have made little progress worthy of reporting – waiting for some track building tools to arrive – from Canada. I was far from keen on the hand filing of Code 83 flat bottom rail for turnout building without help. Furthermore, I as not hugely enthusiastic about copper clad sleeper turnouts on the scenic part of the layout (shown above) either, so decided to try C&L Finescale Timber Tracks turnout bases for the main line trackage; each one is laser cut from very high quality plywood.
I very much like the Fast Tracks turnout building tools, made in and supplied from Canada. I was first introduced to them when I bought an N scale turnout kit for five curved turnouts for the Montana Rail Link layout. I immediately saw the value of the point form tools for building the track on the top deck layout and for future use. The filing jig for HO/OO gauge switch blades and crossing vees is shown above: One for a No.5 angle and one for a No.6 angle turnout. They will accommodate rail sizes from code 70 to 100. You can buy jigs for smaller rail sizes too to enable construction of turnouts in N and Z gauge – see below for an N gauge one:
This curved turnout (above) is to 9mm gauge or N scale using Code 55 flat bottom rail. Built for my US-outline Montana Rail Link layout, it took an hour to build using the various point form tools and jigs supplied by Fast Tracks as a kit of parts.
Insert the rail, clamp up and file away until the correct profile for switch blades or crossing vee rails is achieved.
A lovely jig for soldering up the crossing vees accurately!
A combination of Fast Tracks point form tools, C&L Finescale Timber Tracks turnout bases for UK practice and Peco Individualy track components has resulted in some pretty convincing flat bottom rail turnouts for the Kent Coast main line part of the top deck layout. Whilst such tools and turnout bases may seen expensive, the tools will last almost for all of my remaining modelling career and the laser cut point bases are brilliant to use. Furthermore, the resulting turnouts look far better and with better looking detail than those I may have built from copper PCB sleepers. And…no burnt fingers!