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Re: crossing - Handlaid

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  • Bill Hoshiko
    Dale, 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
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 1, 2003
      Dale,

      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.

      Luck,

      Bill
      El Toro, CA
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