Three Way Switch

by Keats (Kap) Pullen, III
Bluechipper's Home Page

Currently the CALS track is approximately 30 years old and most of the existing track is nearing its life expectancy and re-building of 30 plus switches is necessary. In the process of installing new track the board members discussed additional improvements to the current track layout. Two major concerns were to implement an additional loading track that would facilitate easier loading access for members to use at the clubhouse and an improved signaling system for operator and passenger safety. The two main lines will be moved over and a loading track substituted at the original outer loop alignment creating a shoefly effect.

The CALS board of directors determined that a 3-way switch would be required to implement this improvement. During the initial design of the three (3) way switch it was necessary to do some research on the prototype practice. A trip to the Strasburg bookstore resulted in mentally extracting a paragraph from a track workbook pertaining to 3 way switches. Since there was so little information available, we decided that it was not necessary to purchase the text. The first step in fabricating the three-way was designing the crotch frog. Then the two standard frogs and the crotch frog was machined.

Design Picture

Switch construction at Glenn Sharpe's shop

The fabrication and assembly of the 3-way switch consisted of approximately 10 hours of pre-assembly machining and design and 20 hours of actual assembly of the track layout, and installation of 90 ties, 850 screws, and washers.

Original switch

Work crew pictures

Why is Ray breaking up the old switch?

Larry Law excavating with Glenn Sharpe and Doc Kinzer overseeing the operation.

Preparing the installation site.

The frog half of the switch has been installed.

The points are installed and are ready for alignment and leveling.

Leveling and tamping process using ice chippers purchased from Harbor Freight.

Final clean up and test roll with a set of trucks.

Ray Short is the engineer using the work train to test the layout.

The clubs work locomotive was built by Dick Hein.

Glenn Sharpe seems pleased.

This proved to be an outstanding work day! Cool weather and plenty of help. The CAL's crew installed the three-way switch, thirty feet of straight track, and a regular switch. Everyone had a sense of pride and satisfaction from a job well done. Fellowship with regulars was great -- come join for the next project. All Hands Welcome! Ladies, too.

What's next?

The double slip switch for the yard sounds like a good project


Work Description CALS Member
Design and Machined (crotch frog, 2 standard frogs): Kap Pullen
Assembled and built 3-way switch, machined points, etc. Glenn Sharpe
Work Crew Installation John Frederick
Bill (Doc) Kinzer
Lou Koehler
Larry Law
George Payne
Kap Pullen
Glenn Sharpe
Ray Short
Bob Schwoerer
and others

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