A CUSTOM-FIT WYE SWITCH
SEPT. 6-11, 2010
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ON THE WORKBENCH - Since neither side of the switch is straight, I
installed stops on the left side to orient the ties. It will have a custom-made
frog, which is in the background, half done.  We still have to make the
point rails.
BELLA SHOWS WHERE THE SWITCH WILL GO - There was no
10-foot straight section where the switch would go, so I decided to make the
switch to fit. The left side is straight except the last 3 feet, and the right side has
a steady curve. Bella is standing where a new track will curve to the right.  This
is not a regular "wye" but will function in the same way, to reverse trains
without using a turntable.
MAKING A POINT RAIL - I use a band saw to cut the point rail.  Here is
the start of the cut. The left side will remain and the head of the rail shaved back
to make the point rail thin enough to make a smooth joint.
ON THE BANDSAW - The rail is slowly cut, and is dipped in a water bath
every minute or so to keep it cool.  The cutting process takes about 10
minutes and saves a lot of filing.
CUSTOM BUILT FROG - The frog has five parts prepared and installed in
the fol-lowing order:  Left point, right point, left wing rail, right wing rail, and
filler piece.
FROG FILLER - To ensure that wheels don't drop in the gap and cause
excessive wear on the rails, we've built up a filler out of two pieces of
quarter-inch aluminum.
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW - A section of straight track has been removed, the ballast moved
to the side, and the new switch put in its place.  There's a bit of rail cutting to do before we're ready to install the
joint bars.
ROOTS IN THE WAY - We had to chop out  a couple of roots that were in
the way.  The former track had a few thin ties to fit over the roots but we can't
do that here.
NIGHT SHIFT - I was running out of daylight, so I installed the last joint bar
in the dark with the help of a flashlight.  The rails have to be drilled to fit the
bolts.
DELIVERING BALLAST - The ballast car has been filled with about 15
shovelfuls of ballast.  It came in very handy to deliver ballast from a pile about
70 feet away.
COMPLETED INSTALLATION - The new switch is now ready for action.  
The ballast is spread and tamped, and tie tops brushed off.  It fits its location
nicely.
TRACK INSTALLED - A few days later and the reversing track has been
installed .