Saturday, November 22, 2014

Failing Grade, Crossing That Is

Well, it turns out the Blair Line grade crossings ain't gonna fly. Last night, I fired up the layout for some much-needed playing of trains and all seemed fine until a long frieght encountered the newly-installed grade crossing. Sudenly I noticed train had decoupled right at the crossing. When I went to investigate, I discovered that the coupler trip pin on the first car of the decoupled consist was striking the crossing.

At first I thought I'd simply trim the trip pin so it would clear the crossing. But then I realized if one pin was causing problems, there were bound to be others and I was setting myself up for an ongoing battle. I'd used these crossing on my last layout with no problems but said layout was also laid with Code 80 track instead of Code 55.

So what to do? The best solution I could come up with was to remove the portion between the rails and sand them down so they don't sit too high.

Sanding seemed like a good solution in theory. But in practice, the sanded pieces started warping like the were auditioning to be a modern art masterpiece. I tired using glue to fight the warping to no avail. First I tried foam tack glue, then CA and finally hot glue, nothoing would hold the end down low enough for the trip pines to clear.

So it looks like I'm going to have to go with plaster grade crossing, which kind of sucks because I think the wooden ones look so much cooler. But I'll trade asthetics for operational reliability any day of the week.

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