Here are some level crossings...

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by doctorwayne, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    that are quick and easy to build. For Atlas code 83 track, first determine the width of the roadway at the crossing, then add about 1/4" to that dimension. Multiply that number by 6 and cut a piece of .080"x.125" styrene strip to the same length. Lay the strip flat on your workbench, and drag your razor saw along it, to impart some exagerrated grain to it. (You need to add the "grain" to only one wide face of each strip.) Do the same to a strip of .040"x.100" which is two times the width of the roadway plus 1/4".
    Cut the .080" material into 6 pieces of equal length, and the .040" strip into 2 equal lengths. Lay each strip flat on the workbench, and use an X-Acto knife to bevel the top of both ends: start about 1/8" in from the end and remove about 1/2 of the thickness of the strip. (Material .080" thick is used because it will put the top of the planks just below the top of the rails, which are .083" high. Adjust the .080" and .040" dimensions up or down, as required, if you're not using code 83 track.)
    The next step is best done on a sheet of glass or metal. Line up 4 pieces of .080" material side-by-side on the flat, with the bevelled side facing up and the ends more-or-less aligned. Cement the edges of the strips together. (Use styrene cement for this work: I use lacquer thinner, applied with a brush, which gives a strong bond.) Take the remaining .080" strips, pairing each one with one of the .040" strips, and lay them side-by-side with the bevelled side facing down, and with the ends aligned, cement them together. I usually paint these before installing them, using Polly Scale paints applied with a brush. First, a coat of either Rail Brown, or Roof Brown, then, before that dries, a few light passes with some shade of black. I didn't bother with adding weathering, as I plan to do that when I get around to weathering the track and roadways. Paint both sides, both ends, and the tops of all three pieces. (Bevelled ends face up on all three, for installation.)
    Coat the bottom of the wide piece with styrene cement, and also the tops of the ties where the crossing is to be installed, then drop it in place. It should fit right between the moulded spike heads and lie flat on the tie-tops. While the flangeway that is thus created is wider than scale, it will allow all wheel flanges to pass through. Similarily, apply cement to the bottom of the approach planks and the tops of the tie ends, including the tops of the spike heads. Set the approach planks in place. The .040"x.100" will sit atop the spikeheads on the outside of the rail, while the thicker material will sit flat on the top of the tie ends. The roadway on either side of the crossing should be built-up to the same height as the approach planks. In this picture, the road is done with drywall compound, stained with thinned Polly Scale paints.

    The track here was ballasted before the crossing was installed, but if you wish to install the crossing first, paint the spaces between the ties under the crossing black or dark brown, to make that area less conspicuous. (My crossings need a bit of paint touch-up, as the track here was cleaned after the surrounding scenery was installed, scraping off some of the colour.) :oops:

    You can do curved crossings the same way, although the curve should be as broad as possible. (This is not really prototypical, but unless it's in the foreground, it won't be noticeable.) Simply add the curve by bending each individual piece with your fingers, and add them to the crossing area one-at-a-time. Do the painting after installation.
    The scraped paint shows the individual "boards" a little more clearly. :rolleyes:

    Dirt and gravel crossings can be done the same way, simply by omitting the two middle planks. Prepare the pieces as before, cementing the approach pieces together. (The approaches can be omitted if you wish, but I think they make the area look a bit more finished.) After painting, cement the planks in place as shown, then build up the roadway using ballast or dirt, as desired. Be careful to keep the gravel out of those flangeways!

    You can use the same materials and techniques to make handcar set-outs too. I didn't use approaches, simply adding some styrene "timbers" to act as handcar rails, with the cinder ballast built up around them.

    Another use is for baggage wagon and passenger cross-overs at station platforms.

    You can use the same techniques to create paved crossings, too. Simply substitute plain styrene (or brick-patterned styrene, or even plaster) for the "wood" pieces.


    If you need a level crossing or two, I hope that you'll try these simple techniques.

  2. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    That's really nice work Wayne...thanks for the tutorial! I'm going to try it out on the Ballantyne Branch.
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Hi wayne: Can I add another challenge to the handcar setout? there should be a set of arcs in the woodwork gouged by the flanges where the handcars are turned everytime they go on and off. I'm not sure how this can be modelled, but I remember them from my childhood.
  4. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Those are AWSOME and FANTASTIC Wayne

    Thanks for the tutorials :D :D :D :D
  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Thanks guys. Just remember to use an appropriate thickness to suit your track code. Ideally, the top of the crossing should be just a bit lower than the heads of the rails. In HO, the widths of the boards should all be the same.

    You're right, David, perhaps I'll add that detail when I get around to weathering the track. I think that the edge of a chisel blade might chew things up suitably.:D

  6. hiscopilot

    hiscopilot Member

    wow! very nice! i'll remember this thread for sure

Share This Page