Switch stands

In common with most colonial railway companies the Pampas and Fernandez was unable to obtain many items locally and needed to import them from industrial nations like England. While a crowbar to shift the blades and a wooden chock to secure them in place works well on less frequently used tracks the turnouts at major stations required something more business-like. To this end the FCPyF placed an order with Ransomes and Rapier to supply a number of switch stands for use at various stations and sidings along the route, including Rio Paleta, Resurreccion and Cuarto de Pulgada.


OK, maybe not! Ian Bareham, fellow modeller of the obscure and exotic, got in touch with me last week via the MTI forum to ask if I could make use of some odds and ends he had to spare. The package arrived this morning while I was at work and was opened eagerly on my return home.

At first I just tried the obvious way of assembling them but the result was a bit too tall for O scale. Second and third attempts with the column shortened worked better but were still not right. A fourth go at it seems to have achieved the desired result.


The first, which might work well in G scale, was done by force fitting (clamping the parts in a vice and tightening it up) the grey handle on top of the clear stand. For the second I shortened the stand, so the handle works out at just below shoulder height, using a panel pin to hold the handle in place. For the third attempt I softened the plastic of the stand by heating it so the handle could be force fitted, both better but still not quite visually right.


For the final version I again shortened the stand (A) then drilled a hole in the handle (B) and used a locating pin (C) to position it on top of the stand. This way the handle itself is slightly below the top of the switch stand and looks much better.


When painted it becomes clear that there is a moulded oval shape at the base of the column, perfect for when manufacturers took a pride in their products and used cast builder’s plates to show where the equipment was made.


This “builder’s plate” will be highlighted in brass colour when the paint on the stand has dried. A panel pin pushed through the middle of the locating pin holds everything in place on the baseboard.

Admittedly the switch stands do look quite hefty, but they date back to an era when things were built to last and will not have a figure placed so close when on the layout so they should blend into the scenery quite well.

Thanks Ian. Never throw anything away.

stop board


About Bob Hughes

Ex railwayman, life long railway modeller, lover of real ale and spicy food.
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