I risked having a go at the first FineTrax point last night, and as with all these things, there was two steps forward and one back. It didn’t take long to get to this stage, as shown below, and my test wagon ran smoothly over the frog and blades. Then, of course, the fun started with the soldering!
First, I managed to solder a point blade to the stock rail. A little fettling solved this.
I then added the wiring between point blade and stock rail. No problem here, and I’m pleased to note that the plastic used for the base is much slower to melt than Peco sleepers. It may, of course be due to the use of Code 40 rail, with a lot less metal and less heat needed to solder.
I then looked to add the wiring around the stock rails. Disaster! A little pressure and the short lengths of rail next the frog knuckle popped out of the chairs, and couldn’t be replaced. This seems to be a weakness in the design, as this short length of rail is only supported by two chairs.
I am considering a few changes to the point construction to solve these issues.
First, move the isolating gaps of between frog and blade a few sleepers nearer the point toe. This is easy to arrange, and there are still plenty of chairs supporting the blade. This is further strengthened by the soldered wire links between blade and stock rail. It also seems possible to feed the knuckle rail section from the blade end of the point, rather than the frog end. This will save having to bend the point base to feed in these sections of rail.
Secondly, a touch of solder at frog and knuckle at the three points shown below will strengthen the whole structure and give electrical continuity. I will try this out on the remains of my test point!
The wiring then becomes very easy – a single feed will be needed to the whole frog, rather than two.
I will think about this, and then try it all out on one of the other points that I have to build. I will need to buy another point to replace this one – but of course FineTrax have run our of Code 40 bullhead rail and aren’t taking any orders. Never mind, I’ve plenty to do.
Despite the problems, I have to say that I strongly recommend these points. They are easy to build, stock runs through them very well, and they look wonderful. The problems are mainly due to my heavy-handedness, and I’ll find a way around that.
And today’s book purchase. An interesting survey of my favourite BR coaches.
Makes an interest contrast with the much older (and probably better, really) HMRS volume that I have.