Sunday, December 8, 2013

071 The Navajo Mining Railway - Slow as a Tortoise

Thanksgiving has been a nice four day break from a rather stressful month at work.  Model trains keep me sane.

The room is ready and the tools are set.  Let's finish with the track installation today.

We left off on section three of the hidden staging area.  Remember that hidden staging track can be installed differently than viewable track, but the performance must be EVEN BETTER because you can't access it readily.

First I'll mount the turnout and remaining rerailer, but I won't fasten it down quite yet.  I'll need some wiggle room to put in the tangent (straight) track between the other rerailers and the turnout.

Using flex track I cut and fit the two remaining sections of rail and nailed them down.  I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to glue this track down.  I don't have to, but it may make it quieter.

The tortoise needs to go in this tortoise hole.  We'll mount it while the board is loose which is MUCH easier that doing it from down below.

While at the Hobby Stop down in Orem (327 E 1200 S #10 Orem, UT 84058 or 801-226-7947) I picked up some .025 music wire in 3 foot lengths.  It was fun to visit Roger and Scott at the Hobby Stop.  I love this store but don't get down there much because of the distance.  They usually have what I need, including the newest copy of Great Model Railroads 2014 from Kalmbach.  I can't find a website for them, so if any knows if they have one, would you send me a link?

Using the instructions from the Tortoise, I shape a much longer throw rod from the steel music wire.  Use your toughest cutters for this wire!  I also put on safety glasses, but I usually wear safety glasses all the time anyway.

This much longer throw rod will reach through the roadbed and then some.

I center the throwing mechanism and push the throw rod through the hole and down through the turnout throw bar.  Carefully I make sure it throws completely right and left.  Good!  I mark where the screws should go with a Sharpie marker and predrill them with a 1/8th bit.

I'll use four #6 x 1/2 inch wood screws to mount the Tortoise.  I'll also use my handy Craftsman flat head screw starter.  This are even more handy when you are under the layout doing this chore.

The screws came from an assortment that I got at Harbor Freight on sale a long time ago.  They come in handy.

Carefully I mount each screw in the screw starter and screw them into the wood.  Be careful not to tighten them too much or you will break the casing on the switch machine.

Flipping the track back over I test the machine to make sure the mechanism works like it should.  Nice and smooth!

The tool table is getting full!  I've got no where to put anything!

I like the Tortoise machines.  They are a pain to install, but they are quiet, slow and reliable.  Oh, and about $18 a piece.

Here is what it looks like mounted!


1.  It is MUCH easier to install a Tortoise switch machine before the roadbed is mounted if you can, but be aware of where the joist are as they could interfere with the device.
2.  The throw rod that comes with the unit is almost always too short, so buy some .025 steel music wire when you buy your Tortoises.
3.  A cheap set of screws in drawers from Harbor Freight saves you time and money when you need a small screw, bolt or nut.

1 comment:

  1. Just so you know...even though I was careful, I spilled that box of tiny screws all over the workbench and floor. Arrgh!


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