hand layed tracks

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by 13Mtrainer, Apr 30, 2005.

  1. 13Mtrainer

    13Mtrainer Member


    i am looking to building a small branch of loggin in my layout. i have seen many pictures and thought that it look like a neat idea to try. in some of these pictures i have seen wooden ties and rustic rails. i thought to my self this is how i want my track to look like, but i have no clue on how to do this. also is the track layed by hand or could i buy it like that. thank you in advance.

  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Track with wooden ties is usually hand laid. Peco makes "crazy track" in HO and, I think, N gauge (16.5mm, 9mm) for O and HO narrow gauge, but they might suit a logging layout. The appearance is not like wood, but might be close enough.
  3. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

  4. CalFlash

    CalFlash Member

    IMO the looks of handlaid track does not justify the work. I happen to think tie plates and proper spikes are more important that a little difference in the look of the ties. Of course, it depends on what scale you work in, but for HO, I don't think you can beat Central Valley tie strips. They have grain detail so a little painting and washes can produce very convincing wood like looks.
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Does Central Valley still make the tie strips? I thought it was an item that didn't sell very well and the company had dropped it.
  6. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    CalFlash, I dig the challenge of the hand laid track. Great satisfaction. Interesting point about the tie plates, I will have to give that some thought.

    TrainClown ;)
  7. farmer ron

    farmer ron Member

    13mt. if you do not wish to try handlay your track, a little trick that i saw a fellow modeler do is take a length of flex track, cut out most of all the little tabs, on the bottom, that connect the ties. He uses a dremel tool but with time and patients a razor saw could do, remember, SAFTY FIRST- ALWAYS WEAR EYE PROTECTION. This also goes for hand laying track by the way.. Turn your track over, put it in the area where you want it then move the ties apart, as well as angled, when you get to a point that you like it, spike it down, and weather the ties and rails. This makes great tracks for little used spur track as well as logging lines. For a logging area I would go the lightest rail that you could get, you did not mention which scale you are modeling in: HO- code 70, O-code 83.. Ron..
  8. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I was searching for a link to a site I remeber seeing in the past, but haven't found it yet. Someone has a site that shows handlaid track fro a logging operation, he used something like actual twigs, sanded flat top and bottom only. With light weight rail spiked down (no tie plates were used on these temporary lines) and weathering applied, as well as earth filled in between ties, it looked simply spectacular. I will look thru my favorites at work tomorrow, perhaps I have it there.

    Farmer Ron is right, I just use a chisel blade in an Exacto knife handle to break the plastic web connecting the ties on the better quality flex tracks in order to space them wider and randomly. The "better quality" flex tracks are the ones that don't flex worth a damn! They are better than Atlas in that the tie plate and spike detail is finer. They are also much more difficult to work with!

    Cal Flash is also right about handlaid (talking more main and branchline track than logging track here) not looking as good as rail laid using CV tie strips. I laid a few CV turnouts using their curvable tie strips a while back and have ordered some to replace my "temporary" Atlas code 100 which was laid on my mainlines 7 years ago with the idea being it would be replaced after I finished laying all other trackage. Over that time, I've handlaid some sections, used the Micro Engineering and another brand flex track whose name escapes me at the moment. I like handlaying but have to admit it doesn't look as good as the newer (ok, its been many years!) flex tracks and the CV product. I hate working with the "good" flextrack and think CV tie strips are going to be the way to go. For use on your logging line, they do make a "branchline" version of their tie strips. The ties are spaced wider apart, don't know if they are also a bit random.

  9. 13Mtrainer

    13Mtrainer Member

    sorry i have not replyed for so time now but i was very busey with some other stuff. thank you all very much for replying. i love all of those sites everybody gave me. i think i am going to try the flex track idea were you cut the ties. i also have an idea to add to the flex track idea, if i were to hand weather each ties and then put them back on to make it more realistic. i know that will take time but i am fully comitted to doing that if i start it. also i will try that idea with the twigs i think that would look the coolest. but i want to stick to a begginer type of loggin line to start. i dont want to go in over my head. One more thing i am modeling in HO sorry for not putting that in there.

  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You don't have to remove the ties and weather them individually. You can remove the ties you don't want, then weather the ties with the rails still on. When the ties are like you want it, just clean up the top of the rails. If the sides of the rail are wrong, paint rust on the rails to suit, clean the top and inside of the rail.
  11. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    the idea of hand laid track is the accomplishment of doing it , my layouts have all had hand laid track and hand made switches just cause i like doing it .
  12. CalFlash

    CalFlash Member

    Yes - they brought them back on the market a few years ago along with switch kits. When they originally came out (early 90s ?) they only commercially offered the tie strips - nothing for turnouts which I think limited the sales. They sold the tie blocks but direct only and it wasn't well known. My friend built his whole layout using the CV components. Now, there is even a 3rd party (Detail West) who makes highly detailed cast frogs to go with the CV turnouts.
  13. CalFlash

    CalFlash Member

    The ties are only joined under 1 rail so I think you can force a little angle here and there or even cut them apart for uneven spacing (but keeping alignment thru the tie plates will become an issue). Also, some people have used a pair of sprue cutters to trim the tie ends occasionally for a little more random effect. Even with that work, at least it has the tie plates which IMO are essential.
  14. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    if you are going to modify flextrack - one MAJOR improvement is individually painting the ties different colors of brown and gray. it takes some time, but it is worth it, IMO.

  15. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    I just recently saw an article on hand laying O scale track, wow! Tie plates, two spikes /rail/tie, Good looking track!
    I hand laid code 70 rail on hand cut ties, on an 8' X 10' HO,modular layout..........I think I'll use flextrack from now on. The track turned out well, but I really didn't enjoy the process. I would still consider handlaying turnouts, that way I can get exactly what I want, instead of having to "make do" with what's available.
  16. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    One of the older members of the Platelayers was asked (years ago) if he handlaid track. "Life's too short" he said.
    He died this year, in his 90s, we think.
  17. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    Many logging lines --- and most pre-1890 roads --- did not use tie plates. So, in representing such roads, hand-laid track in fact looks more prototypical than flex track. Also, even if you cut the webs between flex track ties and spread and angle them a bit, the ties are still too uniform in length and shape to look entirely realistic.

    Bill S
  18. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    Bill that is right on heres a pic of a logging road that i posted a while back
  19. KCS

    KCS Member

    Peco is coming out with this new code 83 track that is high is detail. Like correct tie size, spacing, plate's, and even 4 spike's per tie that are scale ratherthan the big nasty bulky looking one's that only fit 2(one on either side/atlas code 100) How ever because they don't have much to offer on the market in that track yet I'm thinking about going with CV and Details West for a better more detailed track because high detail is a must for me. Does anyone know the web site addy's to these two site's so I can look around. Also do the CV product's come with tie's or do I have to purchase them sep.?
  20. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Depends on what kind of track (era) you are modeling whether hand-laid or commercial flex looks better. Proto87 suppliers offer some scale-size spikes, and various articles and forums give advice on getting the rough-cut tie appearance. The Proto87 also has the scale tie plates and some partially built up kits for their track if you want a more modern look.

    I prefer handlaid because it maximizes my fun in a limited amount of space, and my turnouts flow with my track - built on-site to fit the situation at hand. I have rarely seen commercial turnouts fitted into the flex track as well - can usually tell where the joint between the 2 is. I can usually build a successful turnout in a less than 2 hour session in an evening.

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