Grovenor Sidings, Railway Modelling Pages by Keith Norgrove
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Grovenor Sidings, techniques
Point Construction, part 1.

August 2011

Since starting in P4 back in 1968 I have built track using the ply and rivet, or Brook Smith system that was then the only system on offer. This system is still a viable method of making trackwork and this page attempts to show how I do it. 

I have tried to minimise the words and let the photos tell the story as far as possible, more detailed information can be found in the Protofour Manual section 4.

The Crossing Vee

I followed my normal practice of using two offcuts of timbering to make a jig for the vees prior to fixing the timbers in place to continue the construction. The jig is used initially to check progress of the filing until the angle of the rail end is a snug fit in the jig. The point and splice rails are then soldered together upside down in this jig.
Vee jig

Filing the Vee

File one side of the rail first until nicely into the web, then use a pair of pliers to bend the rail so that the filed face is in a straight line with the rest of the rail on that side.
Filing vee, stage 1

Then complete the filing from the other side, marks on the filing board 6 times the rail width apart (for 1:6 crossings) will help gauge the angle and it can be checked in the vee jig.
filing vee stage 2
Make two such rails of opposite hands, so one can be used for the point rail, the other for the splice rail.
point and splice rails

Assembling the Vee

The rails are first tried in place in the jig and when satisfied with the fit removed and replaced with a dab of solder paste in the joint.
vee in jig
When finished you want the point rail to be in the normal, or main road, the splice rail in the diverging road. It appears to be the other way round in the photos because I always solder my vees with the head down and held by the double sided tape. This ensures that the running surfaces are held properly by the jig and keeps any tape residue off the bottom surface which needs to be clean for soldering to the rivets. A touch with the iron will melt the solder paste and give a good joint.
vee soldered

Preparing timbers

marked out timbers

Note I am using a different template here, I decided to use an old Scalefour society template to show that its not essential to have "Templot"
I always mark out all the timbers on the 12" strips  and complete all the punch and rivet work before cuttng the strips to length. This minimises waste, if you start marking out from the crossing end and work towards the toe, then when the next timber no longer fits you should be able to fit one of the shorter ones at the end of that strip. Mark the ends of each timber, its number and a dot where each rivet needs to be. The original P4 templates have dots to show you where, "Templot" provides a timber centreline, with these old Scalefour templates you need to estimate or mark where the rails intersect the centreline of the timber.

punching timbers
The strips are now run through the punch making a neat hole for each rivet position.

loading timbers with rivets
Then loaded with rivets, keep the rivet heads on the unmarked side to make sure all the markings end up underneath the turnout. Use the end of the strips to tease out a line of rivets and persuade them to stand up nicely, then work along the line of rivets putting a hole over each one, with a good light and a bit of practice you soon get the hang of it. If you find this difficult a scriber can be used to help the alignment by putting the point down through the hole and the tip into the end of the rivet.

closing rivets in press
Once loaded the final job is to run the strips through the press tool.

Assembling the Turnout

laying out on the jig

The timbers are cut to length and stuck to the template with double sided tape, here the vee and straight stockrail are ready for fitting and a set of Bill Bedford slide plates have been prepared for the straight stockrail. The Bill Bedford plates are available from Scalefour stores as item 165, or from Eileen's emporium.

straight stockrail
Here the rails are held in place with a pair of track gauges to confirm fit. A steel rule is used to keep the straight stockrail straight. A spare piece of rail is used to keep the left hand gauge level.
Don't worry if you only have one track gauge, you can manage perfectly well with one and most of my track was built that way, but  a second set does help and a chance find at the Scaleforum bring and buy provided mine.
When ready the rails are temporarily removed, the rivets and rail foot cleaned up with a fibreglass brush, a dab of solder paste put on each rivet, the rails put back in place and the stock rail soldered.

stockrail soldered
The vee is then carefully positioned, with one (or two) gauges and also soldered in place.

soldering the vee


The next task is to prepare the straight wing rail, an unused template is used to check that the bends are to the correct angle.
bending the wing rail
Once happy with the bends the rail is cut to length.

soldering wing rail
The wing rail is held in place by track gauges and a crossing flangeway gauge and soldered. Use the steel rule, or a block gauge if you have one to confirm that the alignment from wing to nose is straight, take it off and repeat if any error found as alignment here is important for good running.
curved stock, bending
Next  job is to prepare and fit the curved stock rail, this rail has a set just before the blade toe so that the initial angle of divergence is the same as the planing angle of the blades, important for a good fit of the blades without any gauge narrowing. Its difficult to judge this accurately from the template due to the curve in the rail so I find it better to draw the angle as shown here. In this case the planing angle is 1:32. The rail complete with set is shown next to the drawn angle, it doesn't look much but its important to get it right. (Note I have also calculated the planing lengths for both the vee rails (6*0.9 = 5.4) and the blade (32*0.9 = 28.8)).

The stock rail is held by one gauge on the straight portion at the toe and the rail curved between finger and thumb to fit the template, note that the planing length (as calculated above) should remain straight to fit the blade. Once happy with the curve solder in place, don't forget the slide chair plates. Start at the toe where the rail is held by the gauge, and the straight section over the planing length, then transfer the gauge to hold the stock rail to gauge from the previously soldered vee and complete the soldering.
curved stock


Holding the steel rule against the straight planing length shows up the set clearly.

curved stock
Its now beginning to look like a turnout.

Continue on part 2

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Copyright Keith Norgrove.
Last revised: September 15th 2011 (fixed a few typos)