How to Join track Sections?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by jkinosh, Jan 6, 2006.


How Do you Join your Tarack sections

Poll closed Jan 26, 2006.
  1. Solder Track section together using Rail Joiners

    0 vote(s)
  2. Rail Joiners only, and Nail track in place

    0 vote(s)
  3. Other ( Please Explain)

    0 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. jkinosh

    jkinosh Member

    I am working on my first basic layout (Just the oval of track that came with my set, and was wondering, when techni everyone uses to join their track, Do you solder your track together, then glue to Roadbed, or jus tuse the rail joiners and nail the track down?

    On this one I used the Rail Joiners and Soldered the sections of track together, making larger sections of track, I may still go back and solder the rest of the sections together, and make the entire layout have more of a solid feeling to the rails. Where I doldered the track, I then used some fine grit, Jewlers files and shaped the solder to give a smooth edge, and smooth tops on the tracks. After this I used the Lowtemp gluegun to glue the track to the Cord Roadbed that I used. I'll post a picture if I get time tonite.

    I think I'll make this a poll.

    Jacob :wave:
  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Hand lay track with no rail joiners. Made cut outs and installed under tie uncoupling magnets in roadbed first. Glued ties to Homasote which is glued to plywood cookie cutter subroadbed - used diluted white glue. Ballasted and painted rail prior to laying, also soldered magnet wire feeder (26 gauge) to bottom of rail. Sanded tops of ties level just before adding rail. Ties did not need restaining because they were redwood - left natural.

    On joints on curves, I curved rail right to end with pliers, then spiked into place. Carefully checked and re-checked alignment, adjusted spikes as necessary, then final strokes with file for smooth joint. Time consuming to get curved joints just right on 18 inch radius curves in HO. Requires feeders for every piece of rail. Flawless operation, and looks great.

    Changes to techniques I will try next time around:

    1) Use rare earth magnets into drilled holes between ties for uncoupling.
    2) Use matte medium insead of white glue for possibly better sound reduction and hopefully easier to undo.
    3) Since am unable to locate more redwood ties, will have to restain ties after sanding. Not sure whether I'll be able to control the stain enough to avoid coloring ballast, too.
    4) Will use rail bender for curved track to prebend rail. Cut off ends of rail that bender cannot reach.
    5) Try butt soldering rail joints on curves. Not sure soldered butt joint will be strong enough to run soldered rail joint through rail bender.
    6) Still no non-prototypical rail joiners! :)

    It's my way - or the highway - when you are
  3. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Fred, Re: staining ties.

    If you are hand laying, why could you not stain the ties before laying them?
  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    On the last layout, I used redwood ties - used to be made by Timberline. I have not located a new source for redwood ties. Prtotype redwood ties were not preserved, and left natural in that era in California/Oregon. They are fairly rot-resistant naturally, but they are also a soft wood which would not stand up to later era heavy railroading. They don't need staining.

    Without redwood ties, I will be staining my ties before I glue them down.

    But when I hand lay track, I always sand the tops of the ties after ballasting but before laying rail. I use a sanding boat - a piece of 1x2 about 7 inches long with the ends rounded with fine grit sandpaper thumb-tacked to the bottom. I sand the ties and ballast until the top of every tie has been sanded. This ensures a smooth surface in the vertical dimension to give me smooth track without any bumps, which is more important with the small rail sizes like Code 55 and 70 (hope to experiment with some Code 40 next time). By sanding, I remove any irregularities in the thickness of the ties, the glue layer, and the roadbed. It also ensures no ballast is left on top of the ties. After sanding the track, I vacuum the dust and excess ballast away. If not using redwood ties, I then restain the tops of the ties because I've sanded the stain color away.

    Hope this helps.
  5. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member


    Now I see, thank you for the explanation Fred.
  6. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    I use joiners in the straight a way and solder the curves
  7. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder


    flex track, soldered railjoiners,spiked to homasote,glued to plywood subroadbed, supported by risers, from open grid benchwork.
  8. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Pretty much what everyone has already said, 'cept I don't nail the track down. I use push pins to hold it in place, then when finished ballasting, I remove the pins. The glued ballast is pretty good for holding the track in place.

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