Two separate days on business in Amsterdam this week, and an evening seminar in between means that there has been precious little time available for any modelling. However I managed to find a quick ten minutes last night to knock up a quick jig that will help with future jobs.
The period that I'm going to be modelling is Great Eastern Railway, circa 1909/10. The exact date hasn't yet been fixed, but it will be around then. Thanks to Adrian Marks on the Templot forum, I have plenty of information on the different types of track formation that would have been used.
At this date, the quieter branchlines of the GER would still have been laid with rail in lengths of 30 feet, if not even the earlier 24' length. A standard was established in 1883 (rather than 18.83!) set that there would be eleven sleepers per thirty foot section.
I am knocking up a quick piece of board in order to sit rolling stock on to check buffer height, coupling alignment, etc, etc. This is just on a small offcut of wood pinched from the back of the garage. It's conveniently long enough to fit two 30' legths of plain track on it, and next to it I can put an A4 turnout that will be a test to see how stock runs over pointwork and crossings, and will be a good proxy for some of the more severe curves that will be found within the to-be-built brewery.
Adrian provided a set of measurements for the sleeper spacing of this rail length, so I printed off his diagram, and then transcribed the markings at 4mm to the foot on the side of a piece of stout card.
This was then placed next to the length of track that had already been prepared with
separated C&L sleepers taken from the individual P4 trackbase panels. These work very well on their own, but they don't simulate the variable spacing around rail joints and the large gaps between sleepers that I wanted to capture.
The spacing marks on the card could then be easily aligned with the centre of the chair on the outside of the rail for each sleeper.
A bit of shuffling around, and we have one prototypically spaced length of GER track. The railhead is notched with a piercing saw to simulate the gap between the railends, and I'll add an etched brass fishplate to the join afterwards.
I'll now attempt not to nudge the sleepers out of position (being separated from each other means that they do move more easily out of alignment) and when all is square I'll glue it down to my bit of nicely varnished board.