Switchblade

Nothing to do with the Dire Straights song about a pocket knife, this aside from my normal modelling was triggered by an article on the Narrow Gauge Railway Modellers forum about single bladed turnouts.

What appears to be a tie bar under the tip of the blade is just for support.

I first became aware of these narrow gauge industrial oddities some years ago on the Gn15 forum “Gnatterbox” and have since seen videos of them in action, usually on hand operated sidings but sometimes including with locomotive working, albeit taking it slowly and with more than a little manual steering assistance.

After some fine tuning of the angle of the turnout it was possible to roll a wagon through.

Anyway, having had my interest re-aroused I decided to have a go at one for myself. Whether or not this eventually gets incorporated into an operating Gn15 or On30 model is undecided at present though.

Rusty old steel rails are not easy to solder, so the pivot is attached using a modified fishplate.

The turnout was made by cutting up a damaged length of Tri-ang Super 4 track and reassembling the bits in a manner that nobody in 1960s Margate would have dreamt of, not even given the odd things that came out of that factory from time to time.

Some new sleepers are required under the turnout but they’ll just be cosmetic and my usual method of ballasting narrow gauge track will bury most of them anyway.

It works, purely manually for both blade operation and moving the wagon, but that’s not unprototypical for this type of track work and if a wagon will run over it so too should a loco with a similar wheelbase if the rails are live.

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About Bob Hughes

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