Response to Austrains' announcement of a C30 tank and C30T
An Announcement from Austrains - SDS acquisition
Connecting loco and tender - Hornby Top Tips
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Bachmann new GWR Earl Class review
Reconnecting with a childhood hobby
James May urges nation to 'save Hornby' as shares plunge 62%
Hornby boss quits after third profit warning in five months
Statement from Ixion Model Railways Ltd
As I mentioned back in my blog post about switch locks ( https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/35731 ), I've long planned to add working derails to my layout in order to further immerse my crews in the experience of their prototype counterparts. I finished that task about a week ago and thought I'd share what I found in case others were interested.
Description and photos follow in the first reply.
The derails I ended up using were Details West #DR925, purchased through Hobbylinc . That link also includes some nice photos of what you get in the package, though I ended up only using two pieces: The derail base and the derail itself (either right- or left-hand). I thought it was actually really easy to add a working "hinge" between the two: Simply drill both out using the molded indentations, pass a piece of piano wire through, glue the "stub" end to the base using thick CA, then cut off and glue the other end.
To replicate the IAIS derails, I painted mine yellow before assembly. To install, I simply CA'd them to the ties at the appropriate locations, being careful not to get glue in the hinge points. Once the glue was dry, I used my Dremel to remove the raised rib along the non-rail side of the base, then touched up the yellow paint. This was done to allow the derail to lay flat when it's open, preventing it from creating clearance issues for passing equipment. However, it's important not to remove that rib until the derail is glued in place, as the integrity of the base would be compromised if it wasn't already glued to the ties.
Unfortunately, 5 of the 6 derails on my prototype are in very "trespassy" locales that are no longer accessible, and when I did have access to them back in the era I model, I didn't think to take good closeups. Also unfortunately, the one I can still shoot, at Searle Petroleum, is unique among the six. The other five are all the flop-over style, while the Searle derail is a high-stand style that's thrown much like a turnout, as shown below:
When it's opened, the derail slides away from the rail rather than flopping over. To keep things simple for modeling purposes, I chose to just use the flop-over style offered by Details West for all six.
Here's a crummy prototype pic of the derails to the left of the vertical sign on the Atlantic Spur (left) and Pellett track (right) at Atlantic, Iowa:
One thing I quickly found out when installing derails is that, as much as you might want to copy the prototype exactly, practical considerations quickly take hold. When attempting to model the two derails shown above, I had to relocate the one on the left far closer to the mainline (behind the photographer's back in that pic), as placing it exactly where the prototype did would limit capacity on that track even further than it already was. Here's where it was placed on the layout, allowing 5 cars to be spotted to the right:
...and here's the Pellett track derail:
Here's a pic of the Searle derail in the open position:
Finally, another consideration I learned about derails is that, in HO scale, they can be very hard to see if the layout is high enough, or they're far enough away, that you're looking out across the rails at them rather than down. Here are a couple examples at both ends of Hillis siding, where the derails (circled in red) are 18-24" into the scene.
As you might have noticed in those pics, as a result of the issues described above and in order to increase visibility for my crews, I've chosen to label all derails with signs mounted to the fascia patterned after those used on the IAIS.
I also intend to add scale DERAIL signs to each scene in the coming days to further increase visibility, though I believe this may be an area that'll require significant attention during crew orientation prior to each op session. If things get too wild when guests are operating, I may just leave the especially-hard-to-see Hillis derails open and only use those when I'm operating alone or with friends who are more familiar with my layout.
Modeling Iowa Interstate's West End, May 2005
This article first appeared on model-railroad-hobbyist.com
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