Like the first railways managed just fine without fish plates so have Nystrup Gravel for some time now. As the real gravel line at Nystrup used fish plates to make a firm connection between individual rail lengths, it has only been temporary. Now the fish plates have been made and fitted.
|Fish plates in 3 stages: in bands, separated and bent once top left) and finished (top right) except for sanding the tabs off. |
The fish plates from Wenz Modellbau are made from etched brass. The fish plates are designed for Peco Code 143 vignole rail and on the Wenz Modellbau website they are marketed as being patterned on the Württemberg State Railway z-fish plate. The fish plates are etched in 0.5 mm brass and delivered in two bands with 55 fish plates each. One band is with rectangular bolt heads and the other band has 4 hexagonal nuts.
|My Mission Models 'etch mate' folding tool. A fish plate clamped in place for bending.|
To bend the fish plates in shape I first had to locate my folding tool. Once found, it turned out that the z-shape was quite challenging to obtain with the folding tool. I made the first 90 degree fold in the tool and used a pair of flat nosed pliers for the second 90 degree bend. The resulting fold isn't as nice as with a folding tool, but as the real fish plates are from rather rough, stamped steel plate, a little rough bend isn't a huge disadvantage.
|Wenz Modellbau fish plate soldered into the web of the Code 143 rail. The workers at Nystrup Gravel really messed this pair of joints up, even having to install a sleeper at an angle to make room for the fish plates. |
The fish plates are soldered to both rail ends in the rail joint. As the track length is limited I don't expect much expansion to occur and I hope the soldered fish plates will hold up to the forces of traffic and physics.