Manning switch machines to benchwork is a challenge facing all modelers. In this video, Stephen Priest discusses how he installs switch motors on his HO scale Emporia Subdivision of the Santa Fe model railroad with Allen Keller. Stephen has come up with a method that makes it relatively easy and flexible to mount switch machines. As an example, Stephen has 3 quarter plywood and with a smooth cutting bit, punching an inch round hole.
He then mounts a small piece of plastic behind the turnout. This is then glued on permanently with goo. Stephen has made brackets for the machines out of plastic that fit through the hole underneath the benchwork. The large hole allows for easy adjusting and good alignment. It also allows for maximum throw of the throw rod, in other words, the larger the hole, the more flexible the mounting system is. The plastic piece discussed allows for hiding the hole and ballast the trackwork once it is in place.
One of the big things Stephen had done in the last year to his motive power was to refit it all with the standard drives. He matched each length of locomotive with the best type of drive for that locomotive for smooth operation and pickup. Stephen has a lot of structures on the layout, either scratch built or made from kits. Stephen enjoys making structures that people can recognize.
Because many railroads have standard structures, kits cannot give the perfect effect for each railroad. Stephen enjoys modeling and operating with his friends and his wife. He enjoys that the hobby encompasses so many different disciplines and skill sets that he can teach himself to improve on. For tips on trackwork, or more Allen Keller videos, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.