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What's the point

Most people today that are interested in model railways started out as a child with the humble train set. Just which manufactures' train set you received depended on the era when you started out and of course the finances available.

The first readily available 00 scale train sets were produced by Hornby Dublo from 1938 onwards but this was a three rail system. The Hornby Dublo three rail range was not fully developed until the late 1940's due to Adolf interfering with the production schedule. The first readily available and mass marketed two rail system was produced by Tri-ang Railways around 1951. It took Hornby Dublo until 1958 to introduce a two rail system. Here endeth the history sermon.

Once you have your trains running around an oval track, the first additions usually acquired is more track and some points. With the Tri-ang system there was only one rule concerning where the power feed was connected to the track. To ensure that either track was live depending on the setting of the point the feed must be at the toe (narrow) end of the point. All points are self isolating resulting in the point acting just like a change over switch.

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If points are to be arranged with the power being fed from the heel of the point such as in a goods yard, all that is required is a single permanent bridging wire to maintain the fully operation self isolating facility. Rail gapping and additional power feeds are not necessary. Everything about two rail track layouts remained nice and simple until Hornby Dublo introduced their own version of two rail.

The fundamental difference between Tri-ang and Dublo two rail track was the points. Tri-ang used self isolating dead frog points and Dublo used self isolating live frog points. As anyone who has built a Dublo two rail layout will know, Dublo two rail track geometry is very convoluted and with it is the added complication of essential double and single rail gapping even for an oval with just one single point. Not a simple matter by any means. Dublo produced copious amounts of instruction concerning these complications but in reality, who reads instructions, especially on Christmas Day?

Don't be put off by live frog points. They permit an improved quality of running and also better reliability. Using, wiring and gapping live frog points is not complicated but the rules must be adhered to. That's for next time.