How do you fasten tracks with the option of changing them in the future?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by mikebalcos, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    I'd like to fasten my tracks, but I want to change the layout in the future. Is there a way you could recommend? :)
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Two options:

    1) If you have a suitable subroadbed (benachwork), you can nail the track. This requires plywood subroadbed, or homasote roadbed, or something similar that will hold nails.

    2) Latex caulking. This holds very well, and the track can later be (carefully) pried off by slicing through the caulking with a metal putty knife. Just be sure that if you use this method to lay your track, that you use a MINIMAL amount of caulking - a very thin layer is all that's required. If it oozes up between the ties, you're using too much.

    If you intend to do some scenery, or lay ballast on the track, be sure to use water soluable glue - like white glue. It can be softened where needed by laying a wet cloth over it to, which will loosen the glue so it can be scraped off.

  3. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I think I know what you mean and are asking ... Because I've had several derailments --particularly in one area of my layout -- and because I want to be able to keep adjusting the track if necessary, I did the following:

    Instead of ballasting the track in, I cut and placed a some scenic matting that looks like ballast below the track, covering the cork roadbed. This scenic matting is available from Hornby and I could find out more details if necessary.

    Then, I just ballasted around the very outside edges of the track but not between the rails or inside the ties. Overall, the appearance is quite good and it looks as if the track is ballasted in the "conventional" way. But the advantage is that I'm now able to re-adjust or move the track. If the track changes shape (due to humidity, etc.) and derailments suddenly occur, it's now quite easily to relocate the track without having to remove the ballast between the rails and ties.

    I hope this helps -- and that I'm actually answering your question!

  4. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Mike, I use plywood with cork roadbed on top of that and then my track. I fasten the track and roadbed with wire nails (size 5/8" x 18 gauge) I get at the hardware store. That way if I want to change or rearrange my track I just pull the nails out. But, after I ballast the track I will pull the nails out of the track since it will then be glued down.

  5. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Even more quick and dirty - use twist ties, looped around the ties at the joint, assuming you're using sectional track without prefab roadbed. This holds the pieces together but not down to the surface. IN fact, it can make a wavy, bumpy ride if not done well.

    But this is one advantage touted by makers of sectional track with built-in roadbed (like Bachmann EZtrack), that you can set it up and rearrange it after some time. HOWEVER, I've found the plastic tabs between joints can break off easily when you try to disconnect the pieces, especially if you aren't pulling them apart with even pressure on each side, or are twisting them somehow. SNAP! and it's mostly broken, back to relying on rail joiners to keep the rails together.
  6. rhtastro

    rhtastro Member

    Mike, I've been using Marklin C-track that has the built-in roadbed already as part of the track. DC track of this type can also be found, I believe Bachmann has that. It's easy to lay it out on foam or a board and glue it in place using Scenic glue by Woodland Scenics. It dries in a few hours and really holds the track in place, regardless of temperature changes. I apply a small bead on each side of the track where it contacts the base material and place weights on the track where necessary untill it's dry. You don't need to glue all the track, only the stress points. If you want to move the track later, simply slice the dried bead with a sharp blade. I've done this many times while building displays for HO. I've never had a problem connecting or disconnecting the track. A good quality track can be used in this way over and over. You always seem to find a reason to rearrange the display. It never ends and that's part of the fun. Good luck. Bob
  7. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    Thanks to all the replies. :) I think I will go for the "wire tie" method for now. I still have to save up for some cork roadbed. When I get the roadbed, I'll probably nail them down, but not all the way. I tried nailing the tracks down before, and it proved difficult to pull out the nails afterward. My base is thick plywood.
  8. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    If you can find it in the Philippines, homasote (or an equivalent pressed paper underlayment) makes a great base into which spikes and nails can be pushed and then removed with more ease than from plywood. Prying nails from a wood base can be very damaging to track. Cork is not as good since the springiness and holey nature tend to shift track unless the nail is narrow and deep enough.

    I remember some articles in past modeling mags about 'spiking' flextrack to homasote. Even the articles mentioned that this wasn't permanant (unlike spiking rail to glued down ties in the hand-layed method) but the balast, once glued, would really hold the track in place.

    There's also been much talk lately about gluing down track using construction adhesive. But I see the major disadvantage here being just what you're looking for - a track that can be removed easily later on. So please post pics when you get something down.

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