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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,

I recently built this up for a customer that had a preliminary design for a switching layout based on an industry in Black Hawk, CO. I helped him with the final layout design and drew up the entire 68" x 216" layout plan in Inkscape so there was a scalable vector version for printing on a poster printer. I was able to design some bespoke turnouts for the layout, and the most impressive one is this serpentine ladder. See the build pics below.

I had to screw two boards to my bench to get a surface long enough for the entire unit, about 82" long. This is the first turnout I have designed that needed two pieces of rail joined together for one of the stock rails! With 6ft long sections of rail, that doesn't come up too often. You can see in the pics the method I use to attach two turnout ties together with brass splints heated up with a torch and melted in. I have tried all sorts of methods, mechanical with braces, adhesives, melting two ties together, etc, to make extra long ties out of our standard 5.75" long turnout ties and the brass splints is the best I have come up with for longevity. Ideally I would like to have an injection mold made up for a super long tie, but the cost of those molds is unfortunately cost prohibitive for the owner of Llagas to have made up.

It was a fun turnout to build, I always love breaking away from the monotony of churning out #4s and #6s to work on stuff like this. I do have another custom project I need to get working on soon that uses precut timbers sent in by a customer, so I'll try to get some good pics of that to share when the time comes.

Once this layout is built I hope to get some pictures of this ladder installed and in it's new home.

-Mike

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Nice build Mike.
Still not sure why the customer would want it all in one piece, since it could easily have been made into three as you already have the join at the frog.
It's not as though it is an overlapping ladder.
Mind you, it will not take much cutting to separate the switches if he decides to make layout changes in the future.
Cheers,
David Leech, Delta, Canada
 

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Beautiful stuff, what are the frog numbers?

I too would question why all in one piece, would be easy to bend or damage, but I'm sure the customer has reasons.

Hard to tell the rail material and code from pictures, brass, NS, ?? How are the frogs made? Cast, built up?

looks great!

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Greg and David for the comments/compliments!

The reason it is all one piece is to allow the headblocks to be one long extended tie, that's how I designed it at least. While it does have an insulated gap right after the frog and is two or so inches from the start to the next set of points, that headblock ties extend out to the far side of the divergent leg. I probably could have made the tie just separate there and when the individual peices formed together it would line up and not look too bad... but the customer was planning to pick the order up in person from the beginning, and since I didn't have to ship it in the mail, I might as well take advantage of that and build something large! If this was something to be shipped, yeah I'd probably go with the three part design.

The rail is code 215 nickel silver, cast white bronze tangent frogs, slightly modified with some bending and filing to follow the curvature as it isn't too extreme.

-Mike
 

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From Post #1:

You can see in the pics the method I use to attach two turnout ties together with brass splints heated up with a torch and melted in. I have tried all sorts of methods, mechanical with braces, adhesives, melting two ties together, etc, to make extra long ties out of our standard 5.75" long turnout ties and the brass splints is the best I have come up with for longevity.

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for sharing the WIP picture Fred! This is going to be quite a nice switching layout!

-Mike
 
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