BK Turnouts General Instructions


Prototype railroad track consists of two rails spiked to wooden ties resting on a bed of ballast for drainage. This ballast may be gravel, cinders or any of several kinds of crushed rock, usually limestone or granite. In model railroading, we add the ballast to the trackwork for increased realism. Many modelers think this type of trackwork is too difficult to build, but if the following suggestions are followed, it becomes quite simple and easy. We hope you will give it a fair try.

After you have decided where the track is to be laid, mark the roadbed with a pencil where the ties should be placed (two parallel lines). Paint about 2 to 3 feet of roadbed with a watered down white glue, only enough so that it does not dry while you are working. Set the ties in position the full length of the painted section. Some hints, if we may: If you are putting down ties for a modern mainline, make them even and straight. If they are for an older line, sidings, branches and yards, do not lay the ties too straight. Should one or two be a bit out of line here or there, the trackwork will look more realistic.

A typical stretch of track will have ties in all stages of weathering because old ties are replaced only a few at a time. Ties are spaced about 3000 to the mile. This comes to about 91 ties per actual foot in N scale standard gauge. Narrow gauge ties should be spaced a little farther apart. Ties should be a tie width or less apart on mainlines, and 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 tie widths apart on branch lines.

With the ties in position, sprinkle on the ballast. Some modelers use a salt shaker or similar device, some use a teaspoon; any method that works for you works. You will have to determine for yourself the length of roadbed that you can work without the glue drying. While this section is drying, you can move on to the next section. After a section is dry, remove excess ballast with a small soft brush or a vacuum cleaner with a cloth tied over the nozzle. This excess ballast can be used again. There will always be spots where the ballast does not adhere, so fix these spots at this time. Also make sure that the ballast is not above the tops of the ties.

When completely dry, begin laying the rails. It is important to remember that turnouts should be laid first, and then the rail laid to the turnouts, not the other way. Hold the needle nose pliers in a fist, thumb up and nose down. Push the spike in at a slight angle under the rail. It will not take long to get use to doing this.

Place the turnout on the ties using the frog as a center guide. Always, and this is important, place the frog in position first, and spike it down. Then the stock rails may be spiked in place. In front of the frog, spike the same number of ties as the frog number (ie – #4 frog, spike 4 ties). We suggest using a least 2 3-point track gauges to keep the rails roughly in place and an NMRA Standards gauge for the final spiking. If you are using an assembled turnout, remove the straps as you work. Always check and recheck the gauge with the Standards gauge.

We suggest using small spikes for code 70 rail. Code 40 and 55 should be glued with PLIOBOND, or like glue, not spiked. Code 70 could also be glued.

NOTE!!!! If ordering turnouts for crossovers, PLEASE state this on the order forms so that we can add length to the frog points.