Rail work mishap.

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Travellar, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. Travellar

    Travellar Member

    Oh boy, did I just screw up!

    I've had a gap in the trackbed at the back of my layout for a while. Right where the track leaves a turnout on the outside mainline and starts heading up the mountain, my trackbed was flawed. I wound up with a gap about 2-3 inches long, and at least half an inch deep. Sending trains up the mountain has never been a problem, but there's just enough give that trains coming down the mountain could flex the track a little, and have problems on the turnout.

    Deciding against cutting the whole section out and relaying the trackbed, I opted instead to fill the area in. I built a dike on either side of the track with modeling clay, and used an eyedropper type bulb to fill it in through the ties with relatively watery plaster. (okay, water putty) So far, so good, and all according to plan.

    Then, I managed to knock over the plastic cup that had my waterputty mix in it. Right across the tracks, completely covering two lines, and a key turnout on the inner mainline! A little cursing, several handfulls of paper towels, and some water to try and wash the area out, and I'm fairly certain I can still run trains over it. The downside is, I expect that switch to give me problems forever now, and it may well freeze into place once the putty dries.

    So, anyone else ever have disasterous mishaps while working on thier layouts?
  2. w8jy

    w8jy Member

    Rail work mishap

    Well, I feel better now that I know other people can be as clumsy as I am.
    My layout was still in my workshop while I was laying track. I was carefully cutting some flextrack with my dremel cutoff tool, when a friend of mine who had walked in without my knowledge said hello. I jumped and turned, and my cutoff tool sliced into a double crossover next to the track I was working on. The slice through the ties could have been fixed, but the contact piece of the frog that I severed defied any repair efforts. So, $95 later, a new one took its place.

    My workshop and my radio room are in my pole barn. I am an ex-cop, and never have gotten over my aversion to people walking up behind me. Therefore, I ALWAYS lock the outside doors when I am in either room. Well, obviously, ALMOST always, anyway.

    Kind of funny, in retrospect, but an expensive reminder of why I keep the doors locked. Guess I should be thankful that I wasn't using my table saw - could have sliced myself instead of the crossover.

    Can't blame my friend - I am clumsy enough to damage things on my own!
  3. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Soldering and paint are my two bugaboo's. I have several melted tie ends on the layout and some paint on the ties of a trestle.
  4. Travellar

    Travellar Member

    well, the good news is I can definately run trains over the area. (And that little derailing problem seems to have cleared up!)

    The bad news is, I'm pretty sure that switch is trashed. I can flip it manually, but not remotely. Since it's at the back of a 5' layout, manually isn't much of an option. So I've just left it in the straight-through position, and have to use the other side of the interlock to move trains.
  5. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    The number of disasters one has can be easily determined by the size of their spare parts box.....I have a large spare parts box! :oops:
    In spite of some current thinking, we learn far more from our mistakes than we do from our successes, and yes, I have learned a lot!
  6. dks2855

    dks2855 New Member

    Been in similar pickles myself. You might try scrubbing the turnout parts with water and a stiff brush repeatedly, and over time the water putty may soften enough that it can be worked out of the moving parts. This may take several repeat procedures. And in the end it may also take the application of light oil to the moving turnout parts as well. But keep saturating the area over and over, brushing it firmly to removed dissolved water putty. It may be worth the effort, and its certainly less trouble than replacing the turnout. I've rescued turnouts from similar disasters.

    BTW, I've filled in roadbed gaps like that by simply pouring in ballast and bonding it all in place. Oil the moving parts of any nearby turnouts before trying this, however.
  7. Travellar

    Travellar Member

    by bonding it all in place, are you referring to the watered down glue mixture I've heard about? and yeah, that probrably would've been less risky.

    Anyhow, my turnout is fine, but the switch actuator seems to be toasted. No real hassel to replace just that though.

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