Back to work: Roadbed and Trackwork

Number7 turnout

I have spent some time figuring out how to build the above #7 switch.   The switch was not so hard to build.  I did have to figure out how to create detail items like tie plates and chairs.  My thought was to use the injection molded San Juan Car Company turnout details.  The parts are well details but were designed to fit on a different Code 100 rail profile.  The wider base of the Right O’ Way rail doesn’t fit the plastic parts very well.

frog and guardrail

The long tie plates were made from .015″ styrene which is the same thickness as the Grandt tie plates.  I used Grandt Code 100 joiner bars to add detail around the frog. I used a drawing from Rick Leach to size the long tie plates under the frog and guard rails.

toppenish frogx

The San Juan chairs were raised slightly with a .015″ spacer and then bonded to a .015″ tie plate.   The spacer allows the chair to fit in the rail web.    I realize that there are commercial Code 100 rail chairs offered in brass and white metal.    I have these parts and will likely use them on another part of the layout.


I added the chair to the gage plate to test the concept.   The prototype chairs had a lip that covered the end to tie plate.   I didn’t do this on this installation.

2012-06-02 Toppenish 046 - Copy

The prototype photos were taken at Toppenish, WA by Rick Leach.   The track was built by the Northern Pacific and is now part of the NP museum.

The next task was to rebuilt the hinged entrance section.  Several folks suggested that the type of European hinge I used won’t work for this application.    I check with my son who has built two hinged sections on his HO layout.   He sent me pictures and a video link showing how his section works.

I ended up changing the hinge to a 110 degree hinge and a different mounting scheme.  While I was hacking away on the hinged section I modified the shape to create a space to build a trestle over a stream or country road.   It will add some interest when you first enter the layout space.


The hinged section needs to have the hinges adjusted to level the rail head with the existing track on the right.   The rail will be cut on a 45 degree angle to allow the stationary rail to overlap the lift rail.

The fun part will be getting to build the bridge and trestle.

NP 1380 Cl S4 np ca 1950

Photo by John West (used with permission)

Photo by John West (used with permission)

8 thoughts on “Back to work: Roadbed and Trackwork

    • Patrick
      The ballast was obtained for me by Rick Leach. He sent down a flat rate USPS full of the local “dirt” from along side the former NP track in Woodinville, Washington. I have pictures of similar colored ballast on a part of the SP and even the Soo.


  1. Gene,
    Looking very good, and glad to see you back in the saddle. What is the gray material underneath the switch? It appears to be some type of Homosote. What are you painting the rail with? I like the finished effect.
    I was also pleased to see you converting the bridge into a scene, no wasted space in 1:48 !

    • Ben
      The material is a surfaced Homasote made by California Roadbeds.

      I painted the rail with Floquil Rust with Weathered Black mixed in to darken the color. The paint was airbrushed on the rail and track hardware before installing on the layout. I do clean the rail with a wire brush and lacquer thinner before painting.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s