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Pavement over turnouts

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Pavement over turnouts
Posted by rscott0417 on Thursday, November 7, 2013 8:12 PM

Part of my layout has a paved area but has 2 switches that will be in the paved area. I'd like to use smooth-it and was wondering how to keep the switches operational or if anyone has experience with another method, any help is appreciated.

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Thursday, November 7, 2013 10:09 PM

Is the pavement a street?  A parking lot?  Can you keep the points OUT of the pavement?

Usually, paved-area trackage that includes turnouts is low-speed - both trackage and pavement.  The in-pavement rail may be standard or girder (integral flangeway) type - and will always be a little bit above the pavement.  The switch point area can be cofferdammed off, then covered with "steel" (painted plastic or card stock) plates.  The plate between the points will move with them.

In a parking area the points, switchstand and a couple of adjacent ties might occupy a little, "Island" - a depressed area protected by curbs and a couple of solidly-anchored posts.

Back in the '70s the Okinawa Model Railroad Club had one turnout buried in a street that was paved with concrete - actually real cement.  It worked.

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964) 

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Posted by wp8thsub on Thursday, November 7, 2013 10:25 PM

Prototype railroads typically use special kinds of rail and turnout components for track buried in pavement, although standard track can still get paved over as well.  The Proto87 Stores have kits for turnouts intended for such  use http://www.proto87.com/pge75.html .  If you want to stay with standard turnouts, I've seen cardstock and styrene used to simulate pavement over the ties while staying out of the way of moving parts.

In 2000 and 2001 (I think) MR ran a series on building the Union Freight, an urban switching layout set in Boston.  The author, John Pryke, used cardstock to represent pavement around the tracks, and showed how to cut it for use with standard turnouts.  Kalmbach also showed Pryke's Union Freight in its book  "Building City Scenery for Your Model Railroad," but a quick search of the site didn't show it in stock anymore.

Rob Spangler

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Posted by ctyclsscs on Thursday, November 7, 2013 11:14 PM

Rob is right. John Pryke's book (if you can find it) will tell you just about everything you need to know about modeling street turnouts. The only thing I would suggest is staying away from cardstock. John modeled some of the most realistic looking streets I've ever seen, but he told me that some of the areas where he used cardstock were later affected my humidity.

As Rob also said, you can use standard turnouts. One of the issues, though, is cutting the plastic inserts to fit around all of the molded in plastic guardrails. It's a lot of trial and error. You also wind up leaving some pretty wide openings to allow the points to move. But if you take your time to cut and fit the pieces as neatly as possible, it will be worth all the effort in the end.

Of course, if you're doing more than one of the same turnout, you can trace the parts for the other turnouts once you have the first ones cut to size.

Jim

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Posted by zstripe on Thursday, November 7, 2013 11:59 PM

You can check out, Walthers,cornerstone series,street track inserts. They are for concrete streets,but they are made for all size turnouts,for the points. See if those will work for you, they are already,cut and sized,for the points.. Just a Thought!

Cheers, Drinks

Frank

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, November 8, 2013 12:40 AM

I used .060" sheet styrene to pave around some tracks.  While some of it includes parts of turnouts, none of it is over the area of the points.  You could cover those areas with simulated steel plates, as Chuck suggested, with the plates moving with the points.
Unless you're modelling in Proto-87, the flangeways will likely be considerably wider than scale. Smile, Wink & Grin




To make a pattern, I simply placed a sheet of paper over the area, then used a soft pencil to make a rubbing of the track layout.  All of the areas abutting the outside of the rail was cut along the line using scissors, while the line representing the inside of the rail was duplicated with a parallel line (to allow for the flangeways), then cut along the new lines.
These patterns were then traced onto the styrene and cut out.    Since the track is Atlas, I used lacquer thinner to cement .020" thick styrene strips to the tie tops, abutting the moulded-on spike heads, then cemented the sheet material atop the strips.  This leaves the road surface .003" below the top of the code 83 rail.  One day I'll get around to weathering the pavement. Smile, Wink & Grin


Wayne

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Posted by rscott0417 on Friday, November 8, 2013 5:11 AM

It's going to be a 4 lane road, I have 2 #4 left hand switches butted together so the road will pass over the switch points on both of them just below the frogs. I've used the proto87 track before and I'm not really a fan and would like to stay away from it. I was thinking about using the walthers street track because it seems like it comes as close to the inner rail as possible which prevents the ties from being seen but I'd hate to have to buy 2 kits for just 2 switches (1 #4 left hand switch for each kit). I was thinking about trying styrene but I don't like the way the ties are visible when you look down at the track. As much as I would like to stick with smooth-it, it seems everyone uses .060" so if I used .020" so cover the rails and then .040" on top of that I assume that would hide the ties so maybe ill mess around with that idea first and see how it works out.  Thanks for the help, I'll try to post some pics depending on how it turns out Laugh

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, November 8, 2013 5:19 AM

I would avoid Smooth-It like the plague in any area requiring operational switches.

When I first read your post, doctorwayne's layout came to mind, so I am glad he replied to your post.  The use of  .060" sheet styrene seems ideal for this purpose.

Like another reply stated, I would avoid cardstock because of the warping issue.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, November 8, 2013 7:36 AM

rscott0417
but I'd hate to have to buy 2 kits for just 2 switches

Perhaps you could compromise and buy one set, and use that as a template to make up copies from styrene.

I've also used the Proto87 girder rail, and their cobblestone plastic sheets for the roads.  I really like the way it looks, but there's a significant learning curve, and I still have far too many derailments on it to consider the trackwork I've done there to be reliable.

For those who are curious about Proto87, this is an early shot of how I used a Ribbon-Rail track gauge to align two sections of 18-inch radius curved rail.

Here, I've installed the cobblestone sheets loosely.  The mottled gray one has been painted and weathered, while the light tan color is straight out of the package.

I didn't even try doing a turnout.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by mlehman on Friday, November 8, 2013 10:42 AM

I have a small intermodal ramp. It's mostly 1/16" and 1/32" aircraft plywood, with some 1/16" basswood, painted as concrete. That's over the track. For the turnouts, I switch to stained stripwood and ACC it carefully. I do take care to leave clearance and don't sweat tie exposure -- it's wood planking so the ties would likely be in evidence any way. So long as you make sure the parts are moving freely once glued, you're good. The ACC sticks things well, but usually can be popped loose from the plastic ties with the flick of a knife blade if maintenance is required.

Keep in mind that a lot of lower traffic street trackage was wood planked, because it was cheaper and OK for cars. The only place you really see this nowadays is at vehicle crossings, but I've seen and seen pictures of fairly extensive areas of planking. Just like the modeler, the prototype may have paved up to the track, but planked the area inside the rials for ease of maintenance. Wood planking was problematic for horses and oxen, though, so in that era it tended to be brick, as it often was if the street itself was brick. So you can use wood planking in a lot of different eras and situations adjacent to concrete or other such paving -- or not as the case may be.





Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by leighant on Friday, November 8, 2013 11:42 AM

Well, this is paved on diverging rails, not actual frog much less moving parts...

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Posted by rscott0417 on Friday, November 8, 2013 2:21 PM

I wish that was the  part of the switch I was paving

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, November 8, 2013 7:21 PM

Yup.  That's why, when I did my initial layout design, I considered where the roads would go.  I had to go back and relocate some tracks, and particularly turnouts, to make sure I did not have roads crossing turnouts.

It's a bit more effort to think past the track plan and start to consider the placement of structures and roads, but you will avoid some headaches by doing that.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by htgguy on Saturday, November 9, 2013 7:35 AM

I took a similar approach to doctorwayne. However, rather than using relatively thick styrene I used very thin "For Sale" sign and built up the height with a strip down the center of the track. That way, if the clearance was a little tight, the crossing material would be flexible enough to not cause a derailment. I would guess that the actual crossing material is closer to .010" than .060". This was just installed a week or so ago but have run some trains through it with no issues. 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/look4trains/10546563436/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/look4trains/10583182365/

I thought about trying to do the points for a long time, then decided it just wasn't worth it and figured out a way to install a crossing while avoiding that portion of the turnout. 

Jim

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 15, 2013 3:15 PM

Ive seen this done in an industrial setting. 1 point is fixed and the other is movable channel point (otherwise known as a streetcar type switch) the operating equipment lies under a metal plate.  You may want to consider a gantlet switch and a switch with a reverse curve and a crossover as an alternate if space allows.  Not saying what you want to do cant be done but its probably wont be easy.  Track Planning for Realistic Operation 3rd ed. (John Armstrong) has some examples for how to arrange track in a street type setting.  If you arent interested in modfying your track plan you may want to consider using a wood or styrene crossing. Several are commercially available. 

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Posted by Steven S on Saturday, November 16, 2013 6:40 PM

 Here's a quick test I did using black craft foam with some gray paint sponged on.  The foam is flexible enough to move with the points.   It's easy to make patches and large cracks in the foam.  Just tear the foam.   But I've never been able to come up with a way to model small cracks in it.  I tried crackle finish but that didn't work.

Steve S

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, November 16, 2013 7:10 PM

That looks pretty darn good to me.  Thumbs Up


Wayne

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Posted by zstripe on Saturday, November 16, 2013 8:15 PM

Steve S,

That looks really good!     The cracks: Did you try a,dull, or the backside,of a Xacto knife, on a piece of scrap? Pour some India Ink in it, then see how it looks.

Cheers, Drinks

Frank

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Posted by rscott0417 on Saturday, November 16, 2013 11:04 PM

That looks really good. I tried the walthers street track inserts and it was a real pain, nothing fit right and it looked awful after I tried trimming the pieces. Any specific dimensions on that foam?

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Posted by rscott0417 on Saturday, November 16, 2013 11:14 PM

Or brand name?

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Posted by ctyclsscs on Sunday, November 17, 2013 2:22 AM

That looks awesome! Just wondering, though...how does it work? Is there enough of a flangeway for the cars to roll through?

Also, have you tried a super fine point marker for cracks. I didn't think it would look all the great until I tried it. Once I did I couldn't tell the difference between the marker "cracks" and ones I scribed it.

Jim

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, November 17, 2013 5:08 AM

Steven S

Here's a quick test I did using black craft foam with some gray paint sponged on.  The foam is flexible enough to move with the points.   It's easy to make patches and large cracks in the foam.  Just tear the foam.   But I've never been able to come up with a way to model small cracks in it.  I tried crackle finish but that didn't work.

 
Michaels offers some tips on crackling techniques on its website:
 
 
Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Steven S on Sunday, November 17, 2013 2:26 PM

Thanks for the comments.  I just used the craft foam from Michael's.  I think it's 2mm which is a little thick for HO.  I haven't been able to find 1mm locally, but I've seen it offered on the internet.  You could always bevel the edge of the 2mm or just cut it narrow enough that it doesn't interfere with the flanges.   But one of the reasons I tried the foam instead of something rigid is that I wanted it to go the full width of the track without any flangeways. I tried paper with a texture printed on it.  It would work well for N scale, but for HO it might be obvious that it's paper.  Perhaps you could use a textured paper that would give it some depth.

For the small cracks, I tried heating a straight pin in a candle flame and drawing in the cracks.  The problem is that it looked like it was drawn by hand.  It's difficult to make something look random. 

I don't think the crackle finish worked because I sponged the paint on rather brushing it. I think you need to brush the paint on pretty thick to get it too crackle, but I didn't want the paint that thick.  I wanted the black foam to show through.

BTW, here's how the big boys keep asphalt away from the switch.

Steve S

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Posted by Ken Harstine on Monday, April 12, 2021 12:43 PM

The scenery on the HO layout was entirely from cement as I recall.  Plaster was hard to come by but not cement.  Member of Ryukuan Model Railroad Club 76-77.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, April 12, 2021 1:09 PM

If you work the cardstock and finish coloring and weathering it, soak it in damar/Kamar varnish and let it dry thoroughly.  For all intents and purposes that will make it the functional equivalent of a thin plastic.  I suspect a similar effect could be produced with 'workable fixative' and perhaps with diluted white Weldbond, although you'd have to arrange some way to keep it from curling inappropriately as it dries...

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Posted by hornblower on Monday, April 12, 2021 7:23 PM

I have a couple of spots on my layout (darn, no pictures) where roads cross over the points of turnouts.  My technique is similar to the sheet foam technique (Creatology Fun Foam as found at Michael's) but I use scribed styrene to simulate wood crossings.  I cut and trim the pieces to fit both outside and inside the rails in a way similar to a regular track crossing but I provide just enough extra clearance between the point rails so they will operate correctly without being held up by the styrene.  When everything fits as desired, I distress the scribed styrene with sandpaper, paint it to simulate dirty wood, add "bolt heads" using a fine sharpie marker, add some Pan Pastel weathering, then glue all the pieces in place.  Most layout visitors think my track crossings ARE wood and often comment on the "realistic" bolt detail even though they are just black dots.  

Hornblower

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