Welcome back for the second part of my interview with Fast Track co-founder and product developer Tim Warris.
Johannes: What new products are you working at Fast Tracks?
Tim: We are planing on focusing on the tools we currently offer and expanding the line of available fixtures with the addition of narrow gauge curved turnouts, and European and HOm fixtures. Starting on January we will be launching a completely reworked website that will be easier to navigate and use, this project has kept us busy for some time now, but everything looks on track for the January 1 launch. Of course there are always other special projects we are working on developing, keep an eye on the site for announcements.
Johannes: At the 2009 National Train Show, I had a chance to see your Central New Jersey Bronx Terminal in person and I was very impressed by your handiwork. Tell us how you found out about this prototype and what challenges you encountered in modeling the terminal.
Tim: I have always been fascinated by railroad trackwork, the more complex the better. I ran across an image of the CNJ Bronx Terminal in a book by Michael Kriger “Where Rail meet the Sea”, that focused on rail marine operations. I was immediately intrigued by the operation and started doing some research on it. Finding suitable information on the terminal was quite a challenge. There isn’t much out there in the public domain (well there wasn’t then) so it was very slow going at first. I was fortunate to find a detailed trackplan for the terminal that had been published in a 1950 Railroad Model Craftsmen magazine. Working from that I was able to develop an accurate HO scale design for the layout.
It was several years before I started on actual construction, beginning with the most complex piece of trackwork (of course, why do it the easy way…) Shortly after I started building it I also started a blog to document the process. Fortunately for me, a few readers also had been researching the terminal and were willing to share with me the information they had on hand, which was substantially more than what I had and filled out my collection nicely. From this I believe I have enough detailed photos and drawings to complete the terminal very precisely.
Johannes: Did you use custom assembly fixtures for this project or did you build some of the turnouts from scratch?
Tim: I designed custom fixtures for every piece of trackwork on the terminal, in total about a dozen fixtures. I combined as much of the trackwork onto a single fixture as possible, and in some instances joined together two fixtures to allow me to maintain as much accuracy as possible. For example, one fixture has four curved #2.5 three way turnouts on it. Building them all in a single fixture ensures they will maintain precise alignment when installed in place on the layout. Even the straight and curved trackwork was built in fixtures. I completed all the trackwork, and soldered it together into a single unit before installing it in place onto the layout.
Johannes: What have you been working on lately and where can we see CNJ Bronx Terminal next?
Tim: Since the last major train show in Hartford, I haven’t done much work on the layout. I find sometimes the most effective thing to do, is to do nothing at all. When I do return to the project, I will probably focus on building a detailed model of the round freight house and the float bridge.
Johannes: I am looking forward to seeing the terminal again soon. Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions.
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Images courtesy of Fast Track and Tim Warris. Used with permission. Eisenbahnstudio.com is not affiliated with the manufacturers of the products mentioned on this site and did not receive payment or samples for review.