flex track and test layout question

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by PennCentralFan, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. I have a question about flex track. I'm using Atlas code 80 N scale. With sectional track you can put a test layout on top of your board before you put down roadbed and lay out and ballast your track.

    Now with flex track on curves it flexes out unless it's glued or nailed down. I have not done this yet, but when I do a practice/test layout before I layout the roadbed how do you keep the track from flexing out of curves and so on? Are the rail joints able to keep the track in place?
  2. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    I typically stick to curves where there's a corresponding sectional track piece.

    I layout my "test tracks" with sectional track first, and whenever I get to gluing down the track for the final time I then switch to the Flex track.
  3. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    You really shouldn't use flextrack for setting up a "test" track, particularly in curves. This is because when you bend the track one of the rails slides out. If your curves are sharp, the piece that slides out can be quite long. You would then have to cut it so it matches the other rail. You do this often enough, and you'll wind up with a bunch of very short track pieces....
    I don't understand why you need a "test track". What are you testing..?
  4. I'm planning a new layout and with sectional track before I've always laid out the layout to trace around for the bedding and ran trains over the layout to check for thinks like sharpness of curves and bends.
  5. seanm

    seanm Member

    There is some flex track out there that will hold a curve... was it Model Power that had that really STIFF flex track? I use code 55 now and it needs to be attached with something as it is very flexible and springy.
  6. Peco makes a really stiff code 55 track with cement ties. I thought about getting it, but it was double the price and I have code 80 track allready.
  7. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    If I'm not mistaken - and understand your question correctly - each piece of flex track normally has an extremely small hole about every five or so ties that you could use to pin the track down. I used Atlas flex sections for my curves on one inch foam insulation board and straight pins to pin it down for my test runs. These pins won't hold it completely still giving the best electrical connection - but it will allow you to run a train to get an idea if your track plan is working. But the advice about rail cutting is good to remember...when you bend it, the inside rail will be too long and will need cut. So if you don't plan on using that particular rail section in that spot - use snap track cut to the correct length and save your flex for the straight-aways. Also, it's a real trick to keep flex track at a constant radius through the curve. Any little radius change when you're pinning it down can cause problems with engines/cars traversing that point. I've also found that the connection between a curved flex track piece and straight flex piece has a lot of pressure, changing the angle between the two flex track sections that causes derailments. I'm new to using flex track - so I'm sure there secrets out there that I just don't know - but that's how I've been using it on my new layout.

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