I'll admit it: I'm a bit fickle. Regular readers of my James River Branch site know I am prone to changing my mind—sometimes frequently. My original T Gauge starter layout was nothing more than a twice-around loop. When I'd built my first 3mm switch, I added it to the layout. Then the layout was no more.
At the outset of the recent resurrection of the project, I'd planned on including one of Eishindo's new switches (below); then, when concerns over performance began to emerge, I changed my mind and dropped the switch. Now I'll let readers guess what happened next.
I'd just sprayed the track with two shades of grey primer in preparation of painting the ties; in fact, I'd sat down at my workbench and was about to select a brush when I stopped, and just sat there staring at the layout for the longest time.
I had a particular look in mind for the area around the lower track along the river, and no matter how I tried to envision something else there, I just couldn't buy into the change; I was fixated on this image of a big old factory, like a brick manufacturer or the like. But the key was that it needed a siding. And to have a siding, I needed a switch.
The irony is that I'd just finished a switch redesign project (above). But I couldn't use my new switch, because the layout track was all soldered together and very firmly adhered to the base. There was no way to seamlessly cut in a switch—at least not without a lot of trouble and mess and potential mayhem.
But since I designed the layout from the get-go with no intention or hope of actually using the siding, there was no need for a functional switch. Which meant I could simply fake one—a relatively simple trick I've used many times before. Plus, it could be any arbitrary size and placed at any arbitrary location that suited my needs.
With loads of spare track at hand, I simply grabbed a curved section and sliced it up with a Dremel such that it would snuggle up against the side of the layout track (below). After adding two straight sections to what was left of the curve, I glued everything to the layout.
At the location of the frog, I sliced a tiny notch in the mainline rail where the siding rail met it, taking care not to grind all the way through the rail. Then I dummied up the diverging point rail with two scraps of rail (so as to avoid possible shorts), ground to shape with a Dremel (below).
I didn't bother fussing with the rest of the frog or guardrails. As I'd noted previously, this was never intended to be a "macro photo" quality layout; the goal here was to suggest a switch, without being literal. And I'll confess it's proving to be quite enjoyable modeling in an "impressionistic" style—makes a nice change from being a rivet counter.
After filling in the roadbed gaps with Squadron Putty (the greenish areas in the photo above), I sprayed it with primers to blend it into the rest of the track. A simulated switch stand will add a nice touch when I get to the detailing stage.
As I worked on the new siding, I decided that I'd make the factory building abandoned, which meant the siding would be disused—a perfect opportunity to help disguise the crude quality of the switch with weeds and such. Now I feel as though the layout is headed in the direction I'd envisioned.