Friday, October 22, 2010

Broken track

Point - brokenHow this happened I don't know. One minute the station end of the crossover was fine, the next the entire switch blade was lying on its side. Every single joint had broken at the same time. I knew the hall was hot but surely not enough to melt solder !

Needless to say I wasn't prepared. For some reason my toolbox was devoid of a roller gauge and flux.And the barrier was groaning with modellers who work in 3mm scale and wanted to see some track repairs. Maybe they were fiddling with the track when I wasn't looking !

Help was at hand. One of the traders was 3SMR who just happened to have a 14.2mm roller gauge. That's not something I'd ever expect to find outside a specialist 3mm event, but this time were were lucky.

They also had some Gaugemaster non-corrosive flux. 12 quid later I was back at the layout heating up the soldering iron.

While warming up I scrapped away as much paint from the sleepers as possible. Then they and the rail side were polished up with a fibre pen. I had my "mucky" pen in the box which normally sees use on etched kits so is well impregnated with flux.

The rail was held back in position with the new gauge and I applied the liquid flux. The stupid solder wouldn't run. I tried again but no good.

Point - mendedEverything was cleaned up again and I had another fruitless go. As far as I could tell, far from helping, the flux was inhibiting the solder flowing. Everywhere it wasn't the metal would stick. Fortunately I use cored solder so put this straight on the join with the result that it stuck although the joins were a bit bulky. Maybve I'm being hard on the flux but at the time it did seem pretty b****y useless and I certainly wasn't in the mood to deal with apparently defective soldering consumables.

No matter - after a quick wipe with the DOGA track rubber a wagon was shoved back and forth and then a loco. And then another. Amazingly it seems to be in the right place. OK so the alignment at the frog end is a big dog-leggy but things seem to run over it so I'm leaving it well alone. Nothing more than a quick touch of track colour paint touches this repair.

Just to be on the safe side I'm taking some proper flux to the next show.

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