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Micro engineering ladder system tip

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  • Member since
    June 2007
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, October 12, 2020 2:23 PM

Coupled?  If so, then your good.

I'm planning to run 89' TOFC flat cars and Autoracks so I didn't want to take the chance with the #5 turnouts in a yard.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

  • Member since
    June 2020
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Posted by Lastspikemike on Monday, October 12, 2020 2:19 PM

Walthers mainline heavyweight pasenger cars roll freely through this ME ladder design. These cars are marked 24" minimum radius. No problem with the initial S curves. 

I set up my Code 70 version. I really like the way it looks. 

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Thursday, October 1, 2020 1:58 PM

There have been a few QA complaints about ME turnouts. I note that they use flex track ties from the points back to the entry to the turnout. On the ladder system the result is one very bendy bit right under the throw bar. If you're not very careful you can easily bend the turnout at that point. Result will be a misaligned and sticky throw bar and possibly picked points as the points will not be tucked right against the stock rail. 

I also noted that plastic flashing on the tie webs underneath the points can hinder proper closure of the point rail. I trimmed all the flashing I could see which freed up the points. On one the top of the straight stock rail was bent inwards right at the point rail  which hindered proper closure of the point rail against the cut out in the stock rail. Minor niggles but ME is not up to the build quality of a Peco turnout.

The standard length 5a turnout has two flex joints in the ties back from the points to the entry. The 5a also has a straight diverging route. The other four turnouts use curved diverging routes. All five turnouts use the exact same cast metal #5 (straight) frog and you can see the fiat spot in the curved diverging routes resulting from this.

Both of my ME 5d and 5 e turnouts have a tight gauge defect where the jumper wires are soldered. The one long tie is angled instead of straight, the tie to tie gap is 4 +mm at one end and 3 - mm at the other side of the turnout. The spike heads are in the "correct" location so the end result is the gauge is tight right at that spot. Since the ties are moulded in this is either a error in the mould or some warping effect from soldering the jumpers in. Not too impressive imho. 

I may experiment with cutting the tie webs and straightening that tie when I lay the turnouts.

Alyth Yard

Canada

  • Member since
    June 2020
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Posted by Lastspikemike on Thursday, October 1, 2020 1:55 PM

This is a useful link to explain how it works:

http://www.crusaderrail.com/pubs/mec_crs_ladder_handout.pdf

 

and this discussion is handy also:

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/272894.aspx

 

Track spacing to main line is said to be 2 1/2 " and yard tracks will be at 2 1/16" spacing.

Substitution radius for these curved diverging route turnouts is 26" as measured by trammel points and confirmed elsewhere. 

 

 

Alyth Yard

Canada

  • Member since
    June 2020
  • 993 posts
Micro engineering ladder system tip
Posted by Lastspikemike on Thursday, October 1, 2020 9:18 AM

I mention this because my LHS is out of stock on the ME 5c turnout (RH in my case) and it seems so is everybody.

"Luckily" the system actually only needs two turnouts: a 5a or a 5b and a 5e. The 5b can be very easily cut, albeit carefully, to create a 5c and a 5e can be similarly modified.

The two stock rails just need clipping right at the frog. The exact location can be determined from the 5d. Note the insulating gap right after the ends of the frog which is preserved by cutting the stock rails just that much longer. The ends of the inner rails just come off with the ties.  Then the turnout becomes either a 5c or a 5d depending on which you started with. 

The cut on the straight through stock rail is made right behind the tie leaving 3mm of rail extending from the straight across tie that will be the last tie on the modified turnout 5b. The outside diverging stock rail will be just a tad longer and remembers to cut both rails square, don't try and saw straight across the entire turnout in one cut. Then file down the straight rail by less than 0.5mm (1/64" approx) and continually test fit to make sure the curvature of the diverging rail is smooth and without a kink or offset in the railhead, or excessive gap. The factory made 5d is no exemplar of manufacturing accuracy so it is easy to match or exceed ME QC standards!! It is the exact length of the diverging rail you need to get exactly correct for a good result. Another thing to watch for is interference at the heel of the frog. The plastic webs connecting the ties needs to be trimmed a bit to allow a snug fit for the stock rail joints.

The 5a is also longer at the point end so if  you are really that tight for space and must have a 5c length turnout you need to trim the point end back also. The 5a also has a straight diverging route so trimming the ties and stock rails at just the right place is slightly different to the curved diverging route turnouts. Having now modified a 5b into a 5c I caution anyone attempting to modify a 5a to make sure it can be done. The difference is the joint in the diverging stock rail will be straight rail joining a curved rail in the 5d or e.

This also opens the way for modifying other turnout brands to perhaps duplicate some of the benefits of the ME ladder system.  Tough to match the 5e though. The ME system is really based on the 5e with the attached diverging route at the point end as well as the actual diverging route. That's what provides the length compression effect.

Alyth Yard

Canada

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