Hudson Valley Lines


The Water Level Route...You Can Sleep

A work in progress...

Here is an uncompleted series 19000 caboose. This model is a wooden kit produced by Robert Ray. It took me roughly eight hours to get the model to this point.

 Installing a Blue Point Turnout Controller

Having used 2.5 inches worth of blue foam as the main foundation for the layout has made it very easy to transport when I've moved and has provided flexibility in fitting the layout into different sized rooms.  However, I knew that one day I'd have to figure out how to manually control turnouts without mounting a slide switch right next to the turnout.  When it comes to my layout, I want to avoid something as unrealistic as a slide switch sticking out amongst the scenery.  I've also been interested in using a Blue Point turnout controller ever since New Rail Models released them.  The questions I kept asking myself was how I was going to mount the controller in such a way that it would be easy to get it aligned with the turnout, accessible without having to remove the track should I ever have to replace it, and a solution that could be achieved with minimal cost.  After trying different approaches over the span of several evenings, the solution I settled on is easiest to show with this cut-away diagram and the following pictures:

Step one is to build the Masonite and wood block mount that will hold the switch machine in place.  I glued the wood block to the Masonite with Gorilla glue, so they won't be coming loose any time soon.  The main purpose of the wood block is to give me something solid for sinking the four mounting screws into when I attach the switch machine.  Here's the whole assembly:


Step two is figuring out where the hole for the turnout controller needs to go and making two cuts in the foam.  For the first cut, I dug out roughly 1/8th of an inch worth of the top layer of blue foam, sized to allow the Masonite to sit flush with the top of the foam.  I then cut the main hole for the controller to fit inside, this hole goes all the way through the blue foam base.

Step three was to drop the switch machine assembly into place and make sure everything was lined up and flush:

I actually don't have any pictures of step four, but it involved drilling a hole from the front of the layout straight to the center of the hole for the push rod to fit inside of.  I made this hole large enough to slide in a piece of PVC pipe, inside of which I placed the wood dowel push rod.  The PVC helps to reduce the friction when actuating the push rod and I figure will also help protect the foam over time as the push rod moves around.

After I knew I had the push rod dowel lined up with the attachment point on the switch machine, I figured it was safe to glue the Masonite/wood block assembly into the layout.  I used wood glue and let it dry overnight with some weight on top of the Masonite to keep it in place.  I then glued some new cork roadbed onto the Masonite so that the turnout wouldn't be floating in mid-air.  Finally, I set the turnout in place and temporarily nailed down the track to hold everything in place until I get around to gluing and ballasting the track:

I'm fairly happy with this approach because it meets the requirements I set for myself; I can access the switch machine from the underside of the layout if it needs to be replaced, achieving accurate alignment is easy, and I already had most of the materials handy, so the overall cost is low.