When we organised an operations session last summer it became apparent that only having one road from the off-stage yard feeding into up platform was a severe disadvantage. After some discussion it was agreed to build a crossover to allow for two loops to feed into the platform. It was also agreed that to minimise loss of storage space in the yard the new crossover would be sited close the station, the footbridge being chosen as the closest point it could be allowed to encroach.
The track geometry in the selected location was not conducive to using ready made turnouts so I agreed to build the crossover. Rubbings were taken of the existing track work onto which the precise locations of the entry/exit rails were marked. This rubbing was then used as a template for building the crossover. The key copper-clad sleepers were cut and glued to the template and the outer two stock rails positioned and soldered in place. The stock rails determined to overall geometry of the crossover and the other components were gauged into place from them. Once all the soldering was complete the track work was removed from the template and the remaining wooden sleepers glued to the rails.
The next stage was to place the finished crossover onto the layout and mark out where the existing track needed to be removed. Once this was done the crossover was laid in place and the position of the holes from the point motor actuating wires was marked (Figure 1). The holes for the wires were drilled and the crossover was finally positioned and pinned down. Power feed dropper wires were then placed and connected followed by installing the Cobalt point motors.
We did encounter some teething problems, all of which were related to choosing to use flat bottom rail. What was not appreciated was that this type of rail is much less flexible than bullhead type resulting in the switch rails being very stiff, too stiff for the Cobalt motors. The switch rails had to be removed and the foot of the rail filed off to allow the rail to flex properly. Also during construction the foot of the rail caused problems with gauging the check rails correctly and needed removing.
Once all these niggles were sorted out the crossover was painted and now works well with trains running through sweetly (Figure 2).