Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Morrisville Turnouts Complete

I finished off the work on the installation of the 2 turnouts in Morrisville that will provide an additional passing siding (see previous post). After having the track in and wired, and after doing some test runs, I needed to get turnout controls in place. The rest of Morrisville has front edge mounted Caboose Industry ground throws, but doing the same would be nearly impossible given the existing track and scenery.

During an Op Session, last year before the new turnouts were installed, Bill Howard(in white) has the ground throw controls right at his finger tips along the front edge of Morrisville. One new turnout is where the caboose is, but on the second track from the right pictured. No way to to run a throw rod there now, so undercount control became necessary. The other turnout is about where the CV brown boxcar is next to the silo.

So I figured the best bet was to put in Tortoise machines. A benefit to automated control vs. manual throws is that whenever a turnout needs to be thrown, both need to throw in order to have a clear path. That meant I could simply have 1 control for the operator.

I had read somewhere a while back that mounting Tortoise machines on a longer piece of wood can assist in getting the throw adjusted. By lining up the machine's rod with the throw bar and then putting a single screw towards the rear of the piece of wood into the subroadbed above, you have the ability to slightly move the turnout left and right to get the throw just right. This avoids needing to keep removing screws and repositioning.

I found this this method worked great and I wish I had done it on the other installs I had where seeing the top and bottom at the same time is not possible. Of course having someone assist also can help, but much easier to just drive a couple wood screws then try to screw the actual machine in over your head!

This is pretty good picture of the method. I mounted the Tortoise to the thin birch plywood panel. Note - I needed a second piece  (in this case scrap poplar) to prevent the small screws from protruding through, but using one thicker piece would have worked as well. I positioned the throw rod up through the throw bar and kept the Tortoise edge even with the throw bar so there was no bend to the rod. I set the one screw at the far left, then tested the throw. Pivoting the the plywood allied for a minor adjustment to the left to right throw, and once I had it working well, I set the second screw closer to the Tortoise to lock it in place.
With that work out of the way, I mounted a single DPDT switch for the operator to throw both turnouts. Oddly enough, this is the only DPDT I have on the layout as all other controls are either DCC or touch panel. It was a simple matter of getting the right wires matched up to have both turnouts throw the proper direction, and power was provided by a leftover 9 volt wall wart power supply mounted in this area.

I found just the right spot for the DPDT switch. Inside the Morrisville shelf area I had this angled piece. I simply drilled a whole for the switch and mounted it. The good thing is that it is directly below where the turnouts are, and nothing protrudes off of the fascia or into the aisle way.
With that work completed, I test ran sone trains and threw the switches to make sure all was well. 

On a related note, I have been thinking about adding a new train to the Morrisville operations. I currently have some fictional Woodville Terminal cars in the yard representing a fictional connection to the Lamoille Valley with this short line that used to be part of Mike Confalone's layout. It gave me a way to logically get these custom painted/decaled cars onto the layout. I thought about instead of staging these cars, I establish a transfer train for the Woodsville Terminal to deliver cars first to Morrisville, and return with anything going back to the WTRC. 

I put together a small train that I can stage beyond Sheldon Jct. using CV power for now, and ran it up to Morrisville. Here is a quick video of me using that train to back through the new turnouts and test things out.

With the track changes now compete, it is time to prepare for and schedule the next Ops Session!


Dave said...

Interesting trick with the Tortoise switch machines. I had not heard about this. I'll file it away for future use.


Greg said...

Nice work Mike!