Thinner Throwbars in RMC

I have a story in the October, 2017 edition of Railroad Model Craftsman magazine about how I built the head rods (throwbars) for my turnouts.

RMC October 2017 cover

I hand-laid my track and built my turnouts using the assembly fixtures and other tools offered by Tim Warris at Fast Tracks. I love the reliability of using copper-clad printed circuit board (PCB) material for holding rail securely in a turnout – especially around the frog.

But the traditional way of making a head rod always bothered me, because the rod would end up being as wide as a tie – for the very good reason that one would simply use a PCB tie.

My approach results in a head rod that is much thinner in appearance – more like the metal bars used on a prototype turnout. The article provides step-by-step instructions to make your own.

In preparing this article, I took some photos of the switch points on a turnout, part of the ex-CNR – now Trillium Railway – industrial trackage in St. Catharines, Ontario. Here they are, for context:

Head rod and back rod
(Head rod and, further up the points, a back rod. Note the size of these rods, compared to the ties.)

Head rod and stock rail
(The head rod projects only a couple of inches beyond the stock rail.)

Head rod and switch stand
(A pipe connects the head rod to the switch stand)

Click on the RMC cover, above, to visit Railroad Model Craftsman online. You can order a copy of the magazine via the White River Productions online store.

9 thoughts on “Thinner Throwbars in RMC

  1. Some of our SLD (St. Lawrence Division of NFR, in the NMRA) will be starting to learn how to build those handlaid turnouts, so that is a nice alternative to enhance the look.

  2. Trevor, Excellent article. I read it a few days ago, and again this morning. The next time I build a switch with my Fast Tracks jig I’ll do my best to copy your throwbar in N scale. I don’t think there is any reason that I can’t succeed. Thanks for the idea.

  3. I’ll have to keep my eye out for a copy and read it. I am seriously considering taking the leap and if 2018 does become the year where a small layout in my apartment happens as I’ve been writing about, that i might as well go in for a penny and in for a pound and go as far as building my own switches and such to deal with some of the potentially strange trackage I’ll be creating.



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