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Cheap Points


Justin Watkins asked on the 16mmngm group if there was a way of getting hold of cheap points. Ready-made points cost just under £40 (at 2008 prices), which is a little outside his budget. Second-hand points on eBay seem to go for nearly as much as new ones, making this a non-effective way of obtaining them.

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© Supplied by FreeFoto.com

Several people replied suggesting suppliers: Bob Bilsborrow pointed out that GRS and Garden Railway Centres sell 2nd hand track for around 2/3 the price of new track, and Steve Jackson recommended TrackShack on the Isle of Man as being the cheapest in his experience.

Justin had mentioned that he didn't mind buying damaged points and fixing them, if this could enable him to obtain the trackwork he needed for less.

A few people suggested that Justin make his own points. For example, Peco make the components, allowing you to create your own track, and this could work out about half the cost of ready-made track.

A cheaper option still is to make your own trackwork by soldering rail to copper-clad paxolin sleepers, as is done in smaller scales. You do have to make your own point blades and frogs, although this isn't really hard. This option also allows you to custom-make the trackwork to your own requirements. The following article by Martin Williamson explains in great depth how to build a point for a garden railway using copper-clad sleepers: www.cobbybrook.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/turnouts.htm

Articles also appear in various magazines. There was an article in the October 2008 issue of Garden Rail, and one in the August 2008 issue of the 16mm Association Magazine.

A quick search on the internet should yield many more such articles, and the skills are transferable between scales - to some extent, it should be easier in larger scales because of the greater tolerances in larger scales.

It was suggested that making your own is probably just as easy as repairing a broken point, and could cost as little as £10.

Other options for track making include the more prototypical options of fixing rail to wooden sleepers, either by soldering the track to pins in the sleepers, or with little rail chairs, or even spiking the track down.

I found the following two websites which sell copper-clad sleepers for O gauge (this being suitable for SM32 narrow gauge trackmaking).

Other useful track resources:

Minimum Curve Radius
Siding Spacings
Standard Track Dimensions
Track Construction
Track description at railway-technical.com links offsite
Diagram of a point at railway-technical.com links offsite