Build Log: PR&KRR, Supplemental

Actually my title for this build log is a bit of a misnomer. I have actually added a few new bits but I do feel like they are just a completion of where I left off previously. 


Most of the focus this time out has been on landscaping. I actually only spent about 2 or 3 hours on the railroad. The better part of today, Sunday, was spent pulling weeds, topping off soil and cutting grass. Saturday was pretty much a wash, but I did get two nice low water plants to add to the growing scenery. Last week I also put in a low growing evergreen bush.  


As for the rail itself, I managed to drive a few dozen spikes and finally got a start on my first turnout.

I have made about a dozen turnouts by hand for my N scale layout and have a pretty good handle on the method. Using that knowledge I decided to forego any template and just go ahead and freehand, which is in keeping with the rest of the track laying so far. I set up the straight rail from before the switch points to well beyond the frog. Then my diverging rail (actually the one rounding my first big curve which is headed south) was temporarily spiked in so the curve bent naturally, past the frog slowly straightening to the points. I would guess it is about a number 5 or 6 but I haven't measured. 

The inside diverging rail was then measured and cut at the appropriate place where it meets the other inside rail thus forming the point of the frog. This is where I learned something new: how to weld/braze aluminum. Actually this was rather easy and very much like soldering. Let the heat do the work and don't blob it on. The challenging part was figuring out a way to keep the same angle when taking the rail off the ties and bringing them to the workbench. Well, challenging for me anyway. I figured out I could make a mark on both rails and measure the distance between them and that would keep my triangle the same dimensions. Simple geometry really but seemed like a brilliant idea to me this afternoon...

After brazing and filing off the excess, I checked my work and proceeded to give it a coat of red primer, which is my idea of rusted rail. It looks pretty good and should get the job done. I realize just now that I need some kind of throw mechanism before I can make the thing work. I have been looking at the various manual throws and will choose one this week, I suppose. I have no need for electrical or pneumatic throws. I am definitely using battery power for the locos and "follow the train and flip the switch" power for turnouts. I have all manual throws on my N scale stuff too. It just seems more fun to me. Interactive, if you will.

Once this turnout is installed it will be another 80 ft or so of rail spiking and then one more turnout to close the loop to where I can run trains. Perhaps at that point I will celebrate with buying my first real loco! Not that I haven't been window shopping but first things first, you know.