I have to admit to indulging myself with a bit of a pat on the back over the past couple of days. I had been planning to continue laying the track on the Raworth coal line but for a couple of reasons I decided to put a hold on that and move back down the line to finish the track laying in Raworth itself. It’s possible that I haven’t been all that clear in my posts that I’ve been using a mix of track and techniques across the layout and Raworth is no exception. On most of the off scene track I’ve been using Peco code 124 bullhead flex track and their matching switches. For the on scene mainline track I’ve been hand laying the majority of the plain track with code 125 ME rail on pre-stained sugar pine Kappler sleepers (ties) and hand building points where these were needed. The vast majority of the switches on scene are actually located within the Morpeth town and QW yards and were thus made quite some time ago, up to 13 years ago in fact. On the sidings and the coal branch I’ve been using the same sleepering but have been using ME code 100 rail. I buy all my ME rail in their 33 piece packs of yard long rail and have used about 4 or 6 packs of this in total mixed between both sizes. I use small ME rail spikes on all the hand laid track and most of this has been laid on 4mm (about 1/8″) ply bases I cut to fit and on which I draw a centre-line. I’ve used a few Peco switches in on scene locations when the circumstances called for a “challenging” point formation (curved switches and a double slip) and I’ve recently used a ModelOKits sleeper layout on the first point I made for the coal branch (as can be viewed in my most recent video Morpeth Video Update #1).

The last small section of track needed for Raworth yard involved building a code 125 switch and installing a 60′ turntable with short lines leading up to this. This turntable is a CIL product and it has made appearances on this blog in the past. However I’ve recently rebuilt the electrical system that lies underneath this piece of equipment and I’m going to hold off writing about it till I’ve installed it and given it a thorough test.

This image shows the section of layout that includes the CIL turntable and the most recent hand-built switch which is sitting in the lower foreground of the photo. The two pieces of 4mm ply road bed can be seen sitting in place (one leading to the turntable and the other to an engine lay-by) prior to having sleepers glued to them. If you look very carefully you may be able to detect where the hand laid track transitions to Peco flex track just before the hole in the backdrop.

I will admit to being knocked over by how easy laying the switch on the ModelOKits point layout was and the time it saved me. So I wasn’t looking forward to having to lay a point in code 125 using my old method of cut sugar pine sleepers. I could have purchased a code 125 point base from ModelOKits however I have some sleeper material I wanted to use up and I was also hoping to save myself a few dollars by not using a laser cut base. So out came the 4mm ply and the paper templates and I’ve got to admit that the switch went together like a dream. It obviously took longer than if I’d been using a cast frog and a laser cut sleeper base but it really took no time at all and everything worked as it should the first time. I took the time to add up as accurately as I could how much the switch cost me to build and the total I came up with was $29.11. If I’d used the MOK switch laying aids you’d have to add something like $55 to this, taking the total over $80. This won’t be completely accurate because I haven’t checked the prices but it is equivalent to buying a Peco r-t-r switch.

So while I’m very chuffed with the low-cost of this switch and the progress I’ve made on the layout this is probably the last code 125 point I’ll make for this layout and unless I build a new layout somewhere along the line, possibly for ever. I’ve got 2 more code 100 switches to build but these are both going to be built on the sleeper bases using frog castings. I like to be careful with my money but I’m not stupid 🙂

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