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Too Old ???

902 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Brian Considine
Hello to one and all.

Iam a 67 year old returning to railway modelling in 00 gauge after a gap of too many years. Iam trying (not too successfully at the moment ) to recreate an arera of railway that refllects the area where i used to live as a lad. My father was a driveer on BR so that has stimullated my interesst.

I have a gripe. is it just my incompetence or are the Peco fishplates these days somewhat lacking? I have the devil's own job trying to get them to slide easily on to newly cut rail ends despite taking care to trim the rail and remove the chair

Any help ould be greratly appreciated!!!.
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Cant help with your problem but just wanted to say Hi and welcome to the forum!
Welcome. You actually want a tight fit for good electrical conductivity but some on this forum will tell you not to rely on them for that. Have you tried filing the end of the cut rails to make a slight chamfer on them? This will make them enter the fishplate more easily.

Good luck with your return to the hobby. I'm a pensioner myself (but only just) although I've been interested in this hobby for many years.
Hello,I have not had any problems with them but they are rather a tight fit,when I've fitted them I usually push them on with a small piece of timber because one decided to travel up inside my finger one day, I've broke several bones in my time but none of these were as painfull as that fishplate. If I come across a tight one a pair of sidecutters are used to grip it on the flat underside then you can push it easier.
Just like Frame 69 I push them on with something inanimate, since they can inflict painful lacerations. Chamfering the rail ends as Robert recommended seems to be enough to make the job fairly easy.

It is not the metal ones I have a problem with, but the insulating type, particularly with points, which is of course where they most often need to be used. Many are rather tight on the rail, but the more significant problem is that the base of the joiner is significantly thicker than the usual gap between the bottom of the rail and the sleeper base. I have found it necessary to reduce the thickness of the joiner base in order to obtain a level rail top through the join. I have mentioned this problem to my retailer, and he assures me he has passed it on to Peco...
Fish plate finger is a well known problem in Railway Modelling. I too find that Peco fishplates are difficult to fit but chamfering the track ends helps.
Good luck, I always keep a few sticking plasters in my pocket. Also have you tried a sewing thimble for fitting, mine works well!

Patrick Draper
It's not you or your age Ifnwen99, Peco fishplates seem to reply on plenty of pressure to ensure good connections. Since I have adopted the one wire per rail section approach and glueing the track in place, I am seriously considering doing without the wretched things altogether. One advantage of this will be that each length of rail will be free to expand on its own and not pass on its expansion via an overtight fishplate joint.

Until now my technique has been to chamfer the rail ends with a couple of quick flicks from a file and to open up the fishplates ever so slightly with the blade of a small screwdriver. If force is required, it is always via something like a block of softwood so that my fingers don't suffer if I slip.

For insulating joiners I slice away extra space from the top of the sleepers.

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a chamfer is good..also, a quick swipe of a file underneath, and a couple either side of the rail web, across the top of the foot will help too..this will hopefully eliminate the microscopic burrs that can occur after cutting the rail... I also find using a small pair of pointy-nose pliers pointy-nose ones are very old, and have real points, one tapering but round in cross-section, the other half round....the pointed jaw fits nicely inside one end of the fishplate, with the half round jaw gripping underneath the plate.....this enables me to ensure the fishplate is actually engaging the rail web...once engaged, a shove with a wood block ensures the whole rail length goes thoroughly out of skew.....

the problem for me with peco's insulated joiners is their thickness, and the amount of sleeper depth needed to be removed.....also, when warm, they can go out of alignment across the join?

forget they're there...and place a soldering iron too close, and all hell lets loose...
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My Gollly what a response. It's always nice to know that some
one else suffers the same fate. The thimble sounds like a good idea to try . Thanks all.
Welcome to MRF - try chamfering the fishplates as already suggested or just open out the ends of them a tad, using a set of fine nosed pliars to push them on.
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