Scratchbuild a Hayes Bumper Post

The Cape Ann Rail System needed a quantity of Hayes Bumper Posts to keep equipment from falling off the layout. There were three requirements:
  1. Electrically non-conductive. Posts are sometimes soldered up from scraps of rail - but that presents a problem. Anything metallic will create a short circuit between the rails!

  2. Rigid attachment to the rail in order to be functional; capable of actually stopping any runaway car or errant locomotive. Many sidings end at the edge of the layout, 55" above the concrete floor.

  3. Appearance to resemble rail
Our local donut shop provides red plastic coffee stirrers which are X-shaped in cross section. This would make a perfect structural shape for our needs. Here's how to turn one into a HO scale bumper post.
  1. Cut a piece of stirrer 1 1/8" long. This will be the upright piece. Score in the middle, and bend it into a V-shape. Apply a bead of hot melt glue into the gap between two ties. Invert the V-shape and push it into the glue. Hold until the glue sets.

    Upright glued into place

  2. Cut a piece of stirrer 1 3/8" long. This will be the angled piece facing the end-of-rail. Score and bend as before. Apply a bead of hot melt glue into the third gap from the first. Invert the V-shape and push it into the glue at an angle, so the point touches the top of the first piece,

  3. Apply a dot of hot glue at the top to join the two pieces together.

    Angled piece glued into place

  4. Allow glue to cool and trim off any excess.

  5. Apply a bumper plate made from scrap styrene to the upright. (A piece of bread loaf closure tag works well).

  6. Paint the assembly rust brown, with the bumper plate yellow. Now the post is glued to the ties at four points and provides excellent rigidity and stopping ability.
Finished bumper post

Home • Revised Dec 5 2014