I spent part of Thanksgiving Day tuning up the turnouts that I spiked into place last weekend. Those of you following along know that I’ve been building the skeletons of my turnouts on a Fast Tracks assembly jig and then spiking them into place on ties that I glued down in advance using Fast Tracks templates.
Six turnouts are now securely spiked in and working well. One more is already working well with only the minimum spikes holding it in place, but the turnout leading into the coal track was giving me grief. It was showing signs of having issues last week when I first put it place, but I was convinced that I could sort it out once I came back to it with more time.
After fussing with it for about an hour, I decided to cut my losses. I pulled all the spikes and put the skeleton back into the assembly jig where I immediately saw the source of the problem. Somehow, I soldered the turnout together with a very slight twist. I unsoldered about half of the joints and carefully inspected the individual pieces. One point rail needed a very slight correction to its curve, and I discovered a very slight bow in some of the ties. I tossed the four ties that looked looked suspicious and made up replacements.
With the skeleton back in place on the ties, I was displeased with all of the spike holes, including all the extras that I drove in an attempt to fix the turnout while it was in place. I decided to rip out the ties and build this turnout on Fast Tracks Twist Ties.
The glue is drying on the coal track switch, but it’s already clearly apparent to me that a Fast Tracks turnout built on Twist Ties is more attractive and precise than anything I can build free-hand. That includes building the turnout on ties that I placed according to the the Fast Tracks templates. The turnouts at the paper plant are in place now, and they seem to be working well, but I think I’ll use turnouts built on Twist Ties for the rest of the layout.