Oct 17 2011

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Crossover Track (Straight)

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After my son got his wooden train set for Christmas his birthday, I started building track for him, but my interested waned during the spring and summer. This fall I’ve started building some more wooden train accessories. As I’ve been documenting that process, I realized that I hadn’t posted some of the other cooler track pieces I made earlier this year.

The straight crossover track connects two set of tracks, lets call them track 1 and 2. When it comes to the crossover, a train on track 1 can either continue on track 1 or move over to track 2.  A train on track 2 can continue on track 2 or cross over to track 1.

I chose the length of the crossover track to match the 6″ straight track pieces my son already had. These track pieces are 1-1/2″ wide which means the two pieces together are 3″ wide without any gap. For straight-line crossovers the wider the separation the larger the angle need to turn the train and the trains are more likely to derail, so I wanted the distance between the tracks to be as small as possible, but I needed to have enough separation so that two train passing won’t interfere with each other. After experimenting with my son’s trains I found that the minimum distance between the tracks needed to be 1/8″. So the total width of the crossover would be 3-1/8″ wide.

After figuring out the layout, I cut the two pairs of tracks using the same techniques I had used for previous track pieces. Knowing the distance between the pairs of tracks, I found the angle I needed for a groove to connect  the outside of track 1 with the inside of track 2 and made a jig out of hardboard. I attached the track piece to the jig with some carpet tape and lined up fence so the router bit cut diagonally from the outside of track 1 to the inside of track 2. Then I realigned the fence so the router bit cut diagonally from the inside of track 1 to the outside of track 2. 

After cutting the first pair of crossovers, I changed the position of the track on the jig and cut the opposing crossover pair using the same procedure as before. With all the grooves cut, it was a matter of cleaning up the track with a chisel and adding the connectors.

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