Category Archives: Trackwork

A Pair of Buffer Stops

A small project this weekend: A pair of buffer stops.

This is the Springside Models kit, and I’ve assembled one with rail cross beams, and one with a wooden sleeper.


The rail one has card shims behind the rail to provide electrical insulation.

Note to self: I think this would have been easier with a quicker setting glue. Perhaps some 5 minute epoxy, rather than the overnight one I have.

Test track

In the area group I attend of the Scalefour Society, we’ve all agreed that this winter is a chance to build test tracks. There were two of us who already had test tracks to be inspired by, and there are five or so under construction (including this one!).

Having enjoyed building locos so far, and being aware that a layout is a big thing to have to hand (mine are stored when not in use at the moment), I was keen to join in and build a test track.

The design follows the track Richard Dunning uses, with a 3’6″ reverse curve to challenge the chassis of a loco, and a straight track to observe the chassis working in a stress free way.

Mine is 300mm x 1200mm in surface dimensions, and I’ve used exactoscale track components to lay the track out.

There is bracing underneath, and a batten all around, to provide protection to the track, and stop things rolling off.

I’ve provided some 00 track to rest a Kadee coupler jig on, arranged so that the rail levels are the same height. That way the proportions the jig checks for will remain the wagons I use, and if I convert RTR stock, the NEM coupler pockets will work as-is (if I wish).

Electrical wiring is above the surface, so that anyone using the board (including me after time away!) will be able to see at a glance how the rails are powered. I’ve provided 4 terminals, so the tracks can be powered by independent controllers if I wish. I don’t know if I will use it much like that, but it gives me a convenient way to use the regular and programming outputs of my DCC controller.





More details are on the Scalefour Forum.

Holiday Possession

Over the Christmas period, the real railway often shuts down for maintenance. I’ve also been making temporary use of the desk space to do some building:

Trackwork under construction

Which has resulted in movements from my loco on finished looking track:

The completed trackwork

I’m very pleased with the result!

Track Plan

Track Plan

Looking at the shunting puzzles site, and the collection of track I had, I realised I had enough bits to build a Timesaver, but it looked very complex for a layout I wanted to finish quickly. Therefore I decided to use Inglenook sidings as my base. Looking at the 2 pieces of foamboard I wanted to use to build the baseboard, butting them together would create a 1680mm length that would be easy enough to manoeuvre around the house (for storage, etc).

I wanted the layout to look relatively modern, so I wanted to use longer wheelbase wagons than the very shortest found on British railways. If I wanted the 5/3/3 proportions of the classic Inglenook plan, I needed to allow 8 wagon slots and one loco slot within my 1680mm length. After allowing for the classic BR class 08 shunter, pointwork and buffers, that meant an average wagon length of 143mm – big enough for long wheelbase modern wagons in 4mm scale.

I added the kickback siding with a fuel depot to the ‘classic’ plan, as many others do, to add more visual interest. I realised later that by using 2 locos I could shunt a tank wagon in occasionally to fill up the fuel tanks, for more operational options.

The final board ended up at 1685mm because my trackwork overhung by a millimetre or so (sloppy work on my part), and a shim was needed to allow me to fit a fascia.