Thursday, September 13, 2018

J-strips for waybills

I have seen the use of plastic J-strips all around the country, used to hold waybills, car cards, or whatever the paperwork is, for the particular car-movement system, in a way that is visible and easily sorted. But the term “J-strip,” though it simply refers to the cross-section shape, can refer to a variety of sizes and shapes, and in home construction there are dozens of products called J-strips. The ones I mean do fit within that description, but at the place that sells the ones I have, TAP Plastics, they are called “frame strips,” their part number SKU #07129.
     This kind has 3M adhesive on the back and thereby is readily glued to fascia or other layout edge treatments. The strips are clear acrylic plastic, are 24 inches long, and the depth of each “J” channel is 1/4-inch. Here is a link to the product as sold by TAP Plastics: .The photo below shows an end-on view of the product I am using.

Note that there are actually two J-strips here, and the strip I am holding can be split down the middle. Thus the 24-inch strip actually is 48 inches of J-strip.
     These are designed so that even a thin card slipped into the “J” is gently gripped by the strip. That makes it easy to slip waybills etc. in and out of the strip, when in place on the layout. I have installed several lengths of this J-strip on my layout. Below are some examples.
     The part of the layout with a considerable depth of fascia is at Shumala. I was able to install the J-strips there at a height that keeps waybills below the level of the layout edge.

Note that no J-strip is installed under the push-pull controls on the fascia, since naturally those should remain uncovered by waybills. The Bill Box, in which crews receive the waybills for their shift, is on the shelf below.
     At Ballard, my fascia is much narrower, because the staging transfer table is below it, and there simply isn’t clearance for any deeper fascia. The J-strip location in this case causes the waybills to protrude above the edge of the layout, not an appearance I like, but still better than leaning each waybill against its car.

     The J-trip is pretty flexible. I haven’t tried to find out its minimum radius, but it easily fit to the broad radii of my fascia. An example is below, where the fascia curves toward East Shumala.

     I like these J-strip additions to my layout, and experimenting with them so far has been what I hoped it would be. I was familiar with them, since, as I said, they are used on layout all over the country, and that familiarity is why I decided I too could benefit by installing them. They haven’t yet been used in an operating session, so I look forward to that test, later this month.
Tony Thompson

1 comment:

  1. I think this will make it easier during operating sessions. I always found juggling the cards difficult.