Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Rounford Halt N Gauge Scenic Micro Layout with Continuous Run Part 9 Making a First Radius Curved Level Crossing

Ratio Plastic Models kit 234 adapted to create a curved first radius N gauge level crossing
I used the Ratio Plastic Models kit 234 at the rear of Rounford Halt which included level crossing gates plus timber ramps and decking for use with straight track.  A level crossing seemed the best way to enable road vehicles to cross the branch line so that they may travel to Rounford Halt railway station.  The limited amount of space in the rear corner would not allow the landscape to be dropped or raised to accommodate a bridge.  A level crossing was therefore an ideal feature as its installation would not require the surrounding landscape to be substantially lowered or elevated.

The level crossing would also be an interesting feature in the background behind the pond I planned to create.
Painted N gauge level crossing gates from Ratio Plastic Models kit 234
I was impressed with the very detailed crossing gates, the attractive part of the level crossing which I wanted to see reflected in a water feature.  Painting the different parts of the crossing gates took quite a lot longer than anticipated.  The red lamps and bulls eyes were fairly straightforward but painting the thin metal straps and hinges black proved quite a challenge.
N gauge level crossing ramps with timber decking painted dark brown
Crossing ramps were painted dark brown to represent timber treated with creosote.
Ballast removed to allow level crossing ramps to fit closer to the branch line
N gauge level crossing ramps placed next to the branch line
Some of the ballast laid earlier had to be removed so that I could position the crossing ramps closer to the track.
Level crossing gates used to position the ramps correctly
The crossing gates were pushed into the holes in the ramps without glue.  The gates met in the middle of the track when closed to rail traffic.  This helped me to determine the exact position of the crossing ramps which I then marked onto the layout baseboard using a knife blade.  I also numbered the crossing ramps so that I would know which one sat on the inside or outside of the branch line.
Underside of the level crossing ramps with stepped inner edge
The stepped underside of the crossing ramps allowed cardboard supports to be fixed to them.  The cardboard supports were for pieces of styrene sheet with a plank effect which I wanted to fit between the ramps and the outer face of the rails.
Cardboard supports fixed to the underside of the level crossing ramps
I fixed pieces of cardboard under the inner edge of each ramp.  An additional strip of cardboard was fixed over the first to create a strong arrangement.  The ramps were placed in the locations marked earlier and the cardboard pressed onto the track to create the outline of the outer edge of the rail.  The waste cardboard was then cut away using scissors leaving a shape which sat on the chairs around the outer face of the rails.
Plank effect styrene sheet fixed to the top of the cardboard supports
Styrene sheet with a plank effect moulded into it was fixed to the top of the cardboard.  The styrene sheet was then trimmed to match the profile of the cardboard underneath so that it would fit neatly against the outer face of the rails.
Cardboard packing added to raise the level crossing ramps
The styrene sheet sloped when the crossing ramps were in position so pieces of cardboard were cut and fixed underneath to raise them to the correct level.
Strip of styrene sheet cut to make the decking between the track rails
A strip of plank effect styrene sheet was cut to fit between the track rails with a suitable gap between the planking and the inside of the rail on both sides.  It was important to ensure adequate clearance for wheels of locomotives and rolling stock and I decided I would rather have a gap which could be considered a bit wider than it should be in order to have trouble free operation.  I packed the central strip of styrene with cardboard underneath but allowed it sit slightly lower than the crossing ramps, again to ensure adequate clearance.
Finished curved N gauge level crossing with decking painted dark brown
I painted the decking dark brown.  The fragile gates were put safely aside so that they did not get lost or damaged whilst I was busy with other construction work.

Rounford Halt is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting article !
    Good work.
    I like very well your blog.