I am satisfied so far with the flex tracks that I have laid so far on Segments G, H and A as you can see in Build #12 and Build #13. Since then, I have spent about 10 minutes per day running my ICE 2 (Fleischmann) and ICE 3 (Arnold) models up and down the double tracks. The idea was to make sure that the track work does not cause any derailment. The track work was perfect. There was an “unintended” derailment, but not due to track work (see my Facebook report in germaN160 by traiNmaster on 25 June)
Over the week, I got extra Peco turnouts and concrete-sleepers flex tracks for the staging yard throats. Here is the staging yard throat at Segment E that I marked in April 2014. Now it is time start laying the turnouts and start wiring.
I marked the position of the turnouts with Peco turnout templates. I love this method. These templates are 1:1 to the actual turnouts. They made it easier for me to determine the position and correct type of turnout before buying any. Here is the link to Peco turnout plans.
For now, I installed two turnouts as marked by the templates to test electrical connections. The first large right-hand turnout (Peco SL-E388F) was relatively easy. I removed the extra replacement sleepers from each end of the turnout (keep them aside), added rail joiners and attached to the flex tracks. I added a piece of cork strip beneath to hold the turnout in position. The other challenge was adding a right curved turnout (Peco SL-E386F). Peco has a minimum track distance of 26.5mm. However, as I wanted 30mm track distance, I have a gap between the diverged routes of the turnouts; gap you do not normally have if you keep to 26.5mm.
The close-up view showed a gap of 14mm. So, how did I fix it? Cut a 12mm piece of flex track as joiner. The missing sleepers will be added later using Fast Tracks’ CopperHead PC ties product, soldered to the rails and painted concrete colour. I was considering to use wood or concrete sleepers for this gap. Just to add a bit of realism to the yard throat, I decided for concrete. I plan to paint these turnouts in concrete colour anyway.
My trusty RDC did its job of running up and down the turnouts to make sure the gap does not cause any derailment. Again, well done RDC!
I tested with both ICE 2 and 3 and again no derailments. The electrical connections were fine too.
With 2 turnouts temporarily in place and 4 more to go, I hope to complete this yard throat by end of this month, continue testing for electrical connection and potential derailments. The next step would be to paint the sleepers concrete colour, make all the turnouts DCC-friendly and start track buses and track feeders wiring. So far, using the Fleischmann analog transformer (above), I am more than satisfied with the electrical connection.
I will show you in future post how I make a Peco code 55 turnout DCC-friendly. So far, most instructions you find on the Internet covered Peco HO-scale turnouts or Peco code 80 N-scale turnouts. Peco code 55 is made differently compared to other manufacturers.
Till then, I look forward to your comments.