Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by ic&e_modeler, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    I would think that the best place to cut the long rail would be the next curve. If it curves in the opposite direction it might be worth using it as the outside rail and not have to cut as much, or possably any, of the track. If you are just doing a simple oval the inside track is going to be shorter than the outside, no way around it. In fact, unless you are running a point to point layout, the inner rail will always be shorter.

    Gary, everything I've read on track laying recomends this method which as you stated, only makes sense, decreasing derailment possabilities. :thumb: Now, if the turnouts only came that way, their danger would be reduced also. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :D
  2. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Clark, Funny you should mention turnouts. When it comes to trackwork, I've tried just about everything you can think of. I went from Atlas flex to handlaid, and for years it was true, to me at least, that handlaid was far superior to flex track. I still used Atlas flex track for staging. Time goes by and track "components" are now available which make my older handalid track look spartan. A year ago (maybe two!) I bought Central Valley turnout kits, they look far superior, if you are ok with losing the ability to fit handlaid turnouts to fit a given situation. And you don't lose the attractive feature of rails not both ending together like commercial turnouts. Recently I "discovered" Micro Engineering turnouts. They really are very nice, too bad they are only available in #6 so far. I like them enough that I am using them on my latest extension, and it has presented me with the "dilema" of having to deal with "sectional" turnouts again. Just last night I was pondering what length of rail I should glue to the deck girder bridge I just built so that I can maintain staggered rail joints between two turnouts on opposite sides of the bridge. Call it an unreasonable fetish if you will, because I know it is relatively unimportant, but I am currently stumped! I can't duplicate the good looks of this turnout but wish I could stagger railends! Writing this makes me think if this is my biggest problem (it isn't, but I like to avoid the real problems!) I have it made!

    Yellowlynn, it was when I needed to lay track on a multi level helix that I realized I needed the most "bulletproof" trackwork possible. Since it was hidden, I used easy to lay Atlas code 100. Taking into account Murphy's law, I knew any kinks on the 26 and 24 inch radius curves on the helix would cause me to burn down the railroad, so I just figured out a way to stagger the joints and also solder them while straight, both items which I had read were desirable. In the long run, it was a great decision, as I now run trains up and down the helix trouble free, except for one Walthers curved turnout I used. At some point in the near future I will replace it with handlaid, which is funny because I used to handlay because it looked better than the commercial turnouts available, now I handlay because my work is far more reliable than commercial, but doesn't look as good!

    BTW, the Micro Engineering turnouts are very nice but do have gauge problems in the guard rails. I ripped the guard rails out and will replace with rail I have on hand, glued onto the ties. Properly gauged wheelsets "bumped" thru the turnouts with the guard rails supplied. A nice feature of these turnouts is that they have a spring on the throwbar which latches the points in place, somewhat like a Peco. But you can remove it easily from underneath if you want to power with a slow motion motor. I removed these springs from the three turnouts I've laid so far, and have found that even with the spring removed, I can push the points over by hand and they stay in place. Granted, I haven't run thru them much yet. I did drill holes in the roadbed for installation of throw wires in the future so when the points stop staying put I can install machines. Having handlaid for so long, I like powered frogs, and these turnouts have an isolated metal frog which looks great, and you can solder a feed to it on a provided pad on the bottom. I soldered wires to all frogs for future use. In fact, I am a nut for feeders, and soldered 7 wires to each turnout! One for each stockrail, one for each point, one for each of the diveging rails from the frog, and one for the frog. All are connected to my bus wires except the frog, which is hanging for future use if needed. So far I haven't had any reason to worry about powering the frogs.

    Sorry, a bit of a long reply to what was probably meant as a joke!

  3. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member


    Gary, I am a joke. However, I found your answer to be very illuminating and informational. I'll never do handlaying but I enjoy reading about a lot of things I know I will never tackle.

  4. DeaconF

    DeaconF Member

    Never say never. I have been doing this for years saying the same thing. After many tries, i now do track the way Gary is talking about. I have less problems now and I wished I had tried this stuff years ago. Once the track is laid it is messy to rip up and redo. I have even found that if I do it right (first) I can secure the track, and balast and secure the balast without worying about ripping it up. Give this stuff a try Lynn, you won't regret it. Frank
  5. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Would you mind explaining this procedure? I've had some thoughts, but would welcome any new ideas.
  6. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Clark, my first post, post # 17, pretty much fully describes my procedure. The one thing I could clarify is that I only kept the last 6 inches or so of the partially laid piece of flex track straight while soldering the next piece to it. This minimizes the "travel" of the rail when you put in in its final position. Since the previous joint was also soldered, you won't have a problem with the first section of rail moving while you putz with it. I often had to remove spike detail on one additional tie during final positioning. Three ties shorn of their spike detail isn't enough to create a gauge problem.

    On my 7 turn helix, the outside rail got quite a bit shorter than the inside rail, quickly. I would let it get about a foot shorter, then throw in a 9" or so piece to bring the ends close again, repeating as needed. If you are laying a 180 degree curve, the difference won't be so great, and an S curve presents little problem. I would just let my straight sections remain off by up to 6 inches until I came to a turnout. Well, that's what I would do if I had used commercial turnouts.

    If you have any specific questions, let em know.

  7. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    It that true? Only one side of the flextrack is supposed to slide? I just laid some flextrack down and didn't pay any attention.
  8. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    It's been my experiance that flextrack works that way, although it might vary from one manufacturer to another. My experiance is with Atlas and Model Power. Peco is just a little too rich for my blood. :( :(
  9. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Yep, that's how the Atlas flex track works, at least.
  10. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Xavier. tried to answer your message "Why don't you recommend using model power flextracks on corners/curves? It seems to bend evenly okay." but you have all of your email settings blocked.

    I've had problems with the rail tearing lose from the spike details when it is bent unless great care is taken. Haven't had that problem with Atlas. Seems like MP doesn't use a strong enough plastic or something. It works fine for straight stretches. Just my personal opinion.
  11. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    MP flex

    I'm not poor, but I'm not flush with cash either. I bought MP flex NS for $1.29 at Hobbyland, at least 30% less trhan anything else. Works good for me but I'm not real particular about anything either. I have got some Atlas from them at one time and I really couldn't notice any difference. It could just be me.


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