So here are some photos of progress and some lessons learnt building the lift up bridge. Plus my experience laying tracks.
I proceeded to lay track from the current mainline at the far end of the layout. The yard switch ladder was wired for DCC at the bench and joined as one unit (5 switches) by soldering the metal joiners. All the frogs and stock rails are wired. Some will go to "HexJuicers" (automatic polarity reversers from Tam Valley) and some will go to DPDT ground switches where there is room for them. The DPDT switches will be the switch stands and levers.
The track is held down with grey caulk, spread evenly with a putty knife.
|New yard entrance and mainline.|
|Laying track. Concrete sleepers for mainline|
|Return loop for Branch line|
|Testing city structure locations|
Laying track across the bridge joint:Now the part where I did a lot of research. Firstly it is important that the tracks are 100% attached to the bridge and abutment and do not move over time. I watched dozens of "You Tube" videos on the subject. There are several ways of assuring the tracks are firmly in place and here are my comment on each:
- Hold the track down with extra caulk and use super glue as well. I watched videos on a top quality swing bridge where the builder did this, but still wanted more stability.
- Use "set track" on each side of the bridge. This may work but not where the tracks are not straight. Also the track would look different to the Peco code 55 concrete sleepers that I use on my mainline. Set track certainly doesn't bend like flex track.
- Have a removable section of track. This works for modular layouts but would be too much effort every time you wanted to raise the bridge.
- Insert screws under each track on either side of the gap and solder to the rails. This is a good idea and one I almost used.
- Drill holes in the sleepers near the joint for spikes to provide extra anchoring. Yes, maybe.
- Replace the last sleeper (tie) before the joint on either side with a copper tie. Then solder the rails to the copper tie after insulating the tie. This is the method I chose and here are the photos to show the result so far. The copper ties are copper plated board available from all electronics shops.
Here is the first track laid across the gap with the copper ties in place. Note I drilled small holes on each end of the ties so I could insert pins to provide extra stability. The pins were inserted once the caulk had dried. Allow a day to be sure. Also use a fine drill (smaller diameter than the pins) to drill through the holes in the copper ties to, and slightly into the plywood so the pins go in straight and do not split the plywood.
|Track on bridge before cutting|
|Hinged end of bridge|
|Lift up test|