Well over the last two weeks I have been slowly working on the new crossing for the L&T branch, and one thing has become clear. The method I was using to secure the crossing (PECO Code83 ties) were not working, the track spike details are to fragile to secure the track with all the work that was being done to the crossing.
So last night I decided to try another angle and started from scratch with the base, after researching the Fast Tracks method of tie placement for crossings and a photo supplied from Alan (LK&O), and a further thread post from Tim (FastTracks - Thanks Tim...) I decided to use a fully scratch built base using styrene.
As I had soldered all the rail crossing sections (bar one guard rail section) I took these sections of the PECO ties and redesigned the base tie structure to reflect what Tim Had mentioned and seen in Alan's photo.
This is the scratch built base with the rail crossing sections sitting in place...
The base is 0.74mm Evergreen styrene sheet, and the ties are Evergreen HO scale 8x10" ties. They are spaced at the same distance as the PECO Code 83 Flextrack ties. The tie configuration has worked perfectly to pick up sections of the outer rail and inner guard rail sections that were unsupported using the PECO flextrack ties.
The added advantage of using the HO Scale Evergreen ties has been I have been able to get the tie wood detail in by scrapping the styrene with an Exacto knife to simulate the tie grain. The next step was to finish off the remaining approach guard rail and secure the whole crossing section the ties using CA glue. I will once the crossing is in place and working and tested secure it down including the rail with track pins through the ties and into the sub roadbed.
The crossing in place and connected to the other sections of rail...
I have cut the electrical isolation gaps into the crossing based on a wiring diagram for PECO Electrofrog Crossings and the Fastracks template for a 60 degree crossing.
I have also tested the crossing with an NMRA gauge and ran both a single truck through and several pieces of rolling stock. The crossing has performed perfectly with all the rolling stock across so far. The only issue I'm facing currently is the electrical wiring side, and I am seeking some advice.
The whole L&T branch is a reversing section and both ends that meet the outer loop of the JL&T mainline are protected by a PSX-AR auto reverser. My question is do I completely isolate the crossing and place another auto reverser (I have a Digitrax AR-1) onto the crossing and have it change just the polarity of the crossing for the few times it is needed or can I wire it another way (by either isolation or wiring) that will not require an auto reverser?
Overview shot showing the turnout from the L&T Branch and through the crossing, the 90 degree crossing is a PECO Insulfrog Crossing...
To date I haven't added any track feeders to the crossing, the only power being fed to the crossing is from the L&T turnout (through a PECO Insulfrog), from the 90 degree crossing (PECO Insulfrog) and from the JL&T Module track from the right. Prior to the installation of the turnout and the crossing all DCC power was working fine, and no shorts or dead track was being produced.
Hopefully someone can explain the way to wire this to prevent any issues.