Points Failure At Woking

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Richard08
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Points Failure At Woking

Postby Richard08 » Tue Jun 14, 2022 9:06 pm

When I started thinking about building a layout, briefly - about 10 years ago - the plan was to make all the track, using Templot. I made one set of points and decided on Plan B, using Peco. Track making just isn't for me. So they sat for the said 10 years, and when Lockdown finally kicked me into action I used them on the layout. They worked fine 'on the test bench', but have had a somewhat chequered career. Peco point motors will switch them ok, but having no latching is a problem. A Cobalt motor burned out and the latching servo in place now is struggling. After many hours fiddling and messing the improvement quotient was tending towards zero, and not being able to access the Dry Siding or run-round annoyance quota was rising.
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So, I decided replacement was the only option (that didn't involve a nervous breakdown). I'm obsessed with the 'flow' of track work, so I kind of assumed, with these being custom points, that major surgery would be required to the surrounding track. Happily, after printing out a Peco template, things aren't that bad. I'm just going to mention here that my printer, after a few months of disuse, actually printed a page, without errors, first time. No, really, it did.
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After cutting the fishplates and cutting wires, the old points came out in one piece despite the ballast/glue. I can feel the need to get a Bolster C kit so I can strip these down as a load. Seems like a good excuse to me.
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It didn't take much to clean up the track bed, well, cork, since the PVA doesn't seem to have stuck to it all that well (but well enough).
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These home made points are flat-bottom rail, as are the Dry Siding and run-round, but go into a bull-head double slip (I built the layout with what was available during lock-down). Getting bull-head to join flat-bottom rail is a right faff to avoid having a fairly substantial step in the rail, so I chickened out and bought some Peco converter thingies. They also mean I have just enough plain track left over to do the job so don't have to buy a yard of track.
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But then..... sleeper spacing. With the way the geometry works out some sleepering on the platform road is going to have to give way to full width point timbers, so the ballast has been removed and the four sleepers cut out. Horrah!, it's all going well. Too well. At the other end of the points, the the 'bent' Peco sleeper needs to come off, and again a length of sleepering on the exit roads will need to be 'point timbered'. To do this, the 'converters' will have to shuffle along a bit, as to replace the sleepers on these would essentially involve stripping them down to their component parts. A side story: Peco make cosmetic fishplates for a bull-head to flat-bottom rail joints, but the 'converters' don't have them. Weird. Back to reality... Trouble is, I've only got two lengths of 'timber'. Never mind, just order some more. Would that it wold be that easy! It took a looooonnnng time to find somewhere that actually has any in stock. I have a horrible feeling bull-head chairs are going to be a problem too. Back to painting & decorating and making stuff until the post man comes. The picture is in a reply, too many pics.

Richard08
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Re: Points Failure At Woking

Postby Richard08 » Tue Jun 14, 2022 9:07 pm

The last picture...
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Going to have to do another 3 full width sleepers.

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Peterm
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Re: Points Failure At Woking

Postby Peterm » Wed Jun 15, 2022 12:15 am

A shame you had to do away with the hand built point - it looks really good. I bought a few Cobalt motors when they first came out and every one of them failed. I went back to the old faithful Tortoise and never looked back.
Pete.

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Mountain
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Re: Points Failure At Woking

Postby Mountain » Wed Jun 15, 2022 2:30 am

While I am no longer using point solenoids, I have found that making points, that the blades could do with the addition of pivots, though I do admit I am using heavy duty code 100 rails and short narrow gauge points so my short blades will need to be pivoted anyway, but even if building longer points I would personally add a pivot just to reduce the slight friction when changing the points direction.
Very long bladed points may not need it, but I found that most shorter points need that bit friction avoidence.
Something I did not consider before I made my own points was that if one has fixed pivots or one relies solely on the blades flexing instead, where the blades meet the tie bar will have the effect where one blade may be pushing itself longer when the points are set in the one direction and the other blade will in turn do this when the point blades are set for trains to run in the other direction so the system ideally needs a form of slackness built into the design either at the tiebar end, or somewhere further towards the frog which I tend to provide in the form of a "Loose pivot" which I use half a railjoiner on each blade to do this. Maybe not ideal but it worked for me and gave me the additional advantage that I can remove the blades without removing the track if I should ever need to do this.
One thing I have found is that there is a bit of trial and error to find ways of making points which work for you. Your point looks excellent and is a shame it was giving you issues. Hope your Peco points last many years to come.

Richard08
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Re: Points Failure At Woking

Postby Richard08 » Wed Jun 15, 2022 10:53 am

Yes, I was being ambitions with the point blades (flat-bottom) perhaps. All was good on the bench, with everything nice and shiny, but real-world guff/paint/whatever tipped the balance. It's a real shame Peco don't make their points like they do the double-slip, without the micro switch 'box' - they would look very much nicer. Does anyone still use the micro-switch idea, with most point motors having build-in switching now?

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Chops
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Re: Points Failure At Woking

Postby Chops » Fri Jun 17, 2022 5:47 am

The human is the only species that creates problems for it to solve. You have done well, sir. :)
Nessie rocks!

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Mountain
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Re: Points Failure At Woking

Postby Mountain » Fri Jun 17, 2022 9:06 am

Richard08 wrote:Yes, I was being ambitions with the point blades (flat-bottom) perhaps. All was good on the bench, with everything nice and shiny, but real-world guff/paint/whatever tipped the balance. It's a real shame Peco don't make their points like they do the double-slip, without the micro switch 'box' - they would look very much nicer. Does anyone still use the micro-switch idea, with most point motors having build-in switching now?


Ooh. They have changed a bit from when I last bought them. They now look like modern electric points that some places have.

Richard08
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Re: Points Failure At Woking

Postby Richard08 » Sat Jun 18, 2022 9:48 pm

With Postman Pat doing her stuff, the P-Way have been dragged out of the pub and told to get on with it. The first thing was removing the two approach sleepers, using an upside down sleeper hold to hold the stock rails - there's nothing to stop them flapping about in the breeze when the sleepers are gone. After much pushing and shoving the position of the points was set and approach rails cut. Chairs were added for fixing the rails to the new point timbers. The imfamous 'bent sleeper' was cut off, the stock rails bonded to the blades and the two links underneath (for traditional electrofrog use) removed.
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Chairs were added to the platform road also to sit on the new point timbers. Rather the move these rails, I filed the rail feet sufficiently to allow the chairs to be clipped on, so to speak. The alternative would be to cut the chairs in half and fit them either side but I figured Plan A would be 'better' somehow. I'm sure ballast breeds, where is it all coming from every time I clean up!
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The upside down sleeper (keys cut off and the chairs upside down makes a nice grip). It holds well enough to allow handling the points without imminent risk of converting themselves in a kit.
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With the points in place, using the approach as the datum, the arrangement at the exits is mocked up. Note to self : Mark and make holes for crossing vee wire and point motor. Bet I forget. I think the first two sleepers in the platform road will have the ballast removed and the sleepers twisted to ease the transition so to speak.
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The moment of truth - will it actually work out rather than just looking like it will. Amazingly it does. The 'flow' will be maintained.
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Richard08
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Re: Points Failure At Woking

Postby Richard08 » Sun Jun 19, 2022 9:55 pm

Tis very nearly done. Quite a lot of sleeper shoving, but all good. The sleepers are a bit squished just by the tie bar, but there's no way to alter the two sleepers either side without major surgery. Next, when the sleepers have stuck down, the chairs will get moved about and rails fixed in their final position. Been a lot of effort, but worth it. Must remember to remove the nails...
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Bufferstop
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Re: Points Failure At Woking

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Jun 19, 2022 11:38 pm

If you find that hand made points require too much force from the point motor to operate reliably, as you say some kind of pivot is required. The modification is quite simple, cut through the blades then re-join them with fishplates. Fix the ends which go to the crossing, fit the fishplates on the end, slightly open the end where the blade will go then re assemble. I made it work quite reliably with a standard solenoid motor, there being enough friction to stop the blades moving once set. If for any reason you need an insulating gap in the rails, use an insulating rail joiner, insulation and flexibility in one.
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Richard08
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Re: Points Failure At Woking

Postby Richard08 » Tue Jun 21, 2022 7:39 pm

And re-ballasted. The USB airbrush is going to make re-decorating a lot simpler.
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