Turnout Ties

This week, after a short hiatus to visit my family, I’m doing more figuring on how a Canada Atlantic turnout must have looked. “What, can’t we just pull some standard drawings from the AREA and use those?” I hear you asking. Well, no, we can’t and for that reason, we also can’t use the excellent kits from the Proto:87 Stores either.

Figuring the ties for a turnout

Of course, we know relatively little about the track in Pembroke. We know that the tie spacing was 24.75 inches. This typically would be the spacing through the lead of the turnout. If we tighten the ties up to 20″ or less, it’s going to look like someone plunked a more modern turnout into the yard. So, we’d better have that spacing.

We also know that every Canada Atlantic joint bar in the photographs is centered over a tie, rather than spanning two ties, as is typical today. Assuming the frog was not built on site, we can guess that the toe and the heel of the frog would have been supported by ties, as the frog point would be too.

At the other end, I don’t know how the heel of the switch works. On the one hand, it could be supported by a tie as with the other joints. On the other, it could be in the space between ties, which is how you’d build it today. I’m going to go with the former.

I started trying to figure out all the leads and spacing on paper, and finally decided I should just cut some ties and lay it out on one of the Proto:87 Stores templates (thanks again Andy). Seeing it mocked up on the template enabled me to affirm that it’s going to look okay.

I started by placing the ties for the heel of the switch and the toe, heel and point of the frog. Through the frog, I simply spaced the ties by eye. There are two between the toe and the frog point, and three between frog point and the heel. They are about 20″ on center.

The lead is all regular spacing until three ties from the heel of the point. There they get closer again. Looking at drawings for other turnouts, this seems to be a common location for tighter tie spacing. Possibly there is some extra force near the heel of the switch, or perhaps the designers work like I do, and simply find a place to accommodate the desired lead length and the tie spacing.

I didn’t bother with the switch itself. I am considering printing these complete with rail braces. But more to point, I was out of ties, and it’s time for bed!

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