- I have a place I would like to have tracks crossing at a much wider angle than the Marklin crossing has. I have been wondering about scratch-building one from two pieces of Marklin track Has anyone ever tried this? Dale
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Have you ever handlaid any turnouts?
Crossings have a minimum of 4 frogs and can have up to 16 frogs. I
define frogs as the joining of two rails at any
angle. The 16 frogs are necessary if you build your guard rails
from rail instead of styrene strips.
A simple way of building a crossing is by using the Lincoln Log
method. Place one piece of track over the other at the angle needed
and cut the bottom rail half way through from the top and the rail
on the top rail half way up from the bottom. If you are careful at
this you can remove the ties from the top track and drop them over
the bottom track.
This is a very simplistic explanation. You may not be able to
solder any of the joints because that could melt the plastic ties.
One way would be to use some type of epoxy at each rail joint. With
this you can both make insulating gaps and firmly place the rails at
the same time. On second thought, the epoxy method to make
insulating gaps here may not work??
You will still need to cut flange ways through the rails that cross
above the other. You do this step very carefully once all your
rails are firmly fastened.
I used this method once. I soldered all the rails, including the
guard rails, into one solid piece and cut it into the four sections
required for the insulating gaps. It still required careful
assembly inorder for trains to travel over all these pieces of rail
without bouncing all over the place.
Once you got this far you still need to build the guard rails. You
could do this using styrene strips in order to keep the soldering
down to a minimum.
If you are not aware of the short circuit problems caused by a
crossing then you should get one of the books on how to wire a model
railroad. The crossing itself could need its own electrical
circuit. It can get a little complicated.
Commercial crossings are built in a jig with the plastic gaps and
electrical wiring built in. The whole thing is held together by the
plastic ties. The plastic ties are moulded into one piece.
Something that we cannot do for handlaid track.
Handlaid crossings are much more complicated then building
turnouts. Years ago I custom built turnouts and made only one
custom crossing. Never did another because I needed to charge three
times what a turnout would be. Even then I would not be compensated
for the amount of work involved. For the crossing that I made, If
I had charged treble of what I did charge, it still would not have
been enough. It was double tracks crossing double tracks. I did
it just to see if I could. I don't know if it was ever installed.
The buyer quit the hobby before he installed it.
Like building turnouts, you have the same problem of live frogs vs
dead frogs. I think that most commercial crossings have dead
frogs. If they have live frogs, the added electrical circuits and
DPDT switch would drive costs up.
I am writing this off the top of my head. I haven't built a
crossing in over thirty years. If it's difficult to explain how to
build a turnout without using any pictures, it is twice as hard to
explain how to build a crossing.
Take a commercially built crossing and two pieces of straight
track. Cross the two pieces of track, one over the other, and
imagine what you would have to do in order to make your two pieces
of track look like the store bought one. Make special
consideration for the insulating gaps. Your commercial crossing
probably has plastic frogs. This is the insulating gaps for this
piece of track.
If you like to make things with your hands, it can be a lot of fun.
It just takes a lot of work. I would never try to make a
crossing using this two pieces of track method. I would use PC ties
and solder. It would be a major trackwork project and not just
something to do while waiting for paint to dry.
If you have any questions, please ask. I thought that I could just
toss off a quick answer to your question but as I got into it, it
became more and more complicated. I already have spent over three
hours to write this short message. It brings back a lot of pleasant
memories so it has not been a chore.
El Toro, CA