improved butt joint of track across modules.

Discussion in 'Modular Layout Forum' started by Bill Nelson, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Active Member

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    For many years the only layout I had was a sectional switching layout. Ten years ago my club was playing with modules and I had one, and when our club built a permanent layout we had two lift out sections to allow needed access to the breaker box.


    One thing I noticed that was common to all these was damage to the rails at the but joints due to assembly , dis-assembly , storage and transportation of the modules or lift outs. When planning the sawmill section on our club layout I staked out the worst section of track on the club layout, and planned on making it the most reliable section of track. this included the lift outs, where repairs were needed almost every time the lift outs were installed, and since their default position was removed this was a problem.


    The solution I came up with was to re route the track on either side of the lift outs (which were on curves), so that I could increase the radius of the curves. then at the joints I planned in short sections of straight track. At those locations I cut up some Atlas rerailer track. This has several advantages. one is anything off the track has a chance of being re rerailed as it crosses the gab; but more importantly, the rails at the joint are supported in a block of plastic that is a lot stronger than the flextrack on either side of it. also the rails are solidly affixed to the block of plastic, so the rails cant creep toward the gap due to changes in humidity and temperature. Also the rail on the module or liftout is protected while being moved due to un intentional contact with immovable objects.


    since I made these changes the lift out sections have been rock solid reliable without needing adjustment and or repair each time thy are installed.


    Bill Nelson

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  2. JamesG

    JamesG New Member

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    Now that is really clever. What did you use to cut it?
  3. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Active Member

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    I cut it with a new razor saw.


    Bill Nelson
  4. boonville

    boonville New Member

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    I'm working on making a hinged module to allow access between 2 large sections of permanent layout. You've solved my problem on making butt joints. Thanks!
  5. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Active Member

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    I'm glad you found that useful.


    working with hand layed track I had put big brass nails near the ends, and soldered the rail to the nail for extra stability.

    with a hinged drop out, I have used a little brass deadbolt, like what we used on screen doors back in the dark ages. I had a 2x4 built into the benchwork on the non hinged side, and drilled a hole in the two by four to accept the bolt.


    I also had a contact switch built in that went open when the hinged drop out was lowered. that cut the power to isolated sections of the common rail that were two feet long on either side of the drop out; so when it was lowered, power was cut to the nearby tracks.


    Bill Nelson
  6. ChadYelland

    ChadYelland Member

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    I like the idea of the re-railer, what if you turned the sections end for end so the re-rail ends were together? but if it works that way that is good too.
  7. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Active Member

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    Chad, the biggest problem I had was the rails getting bumped around as the joint is assembled or disassembled . eventually the ties would be damaged and the gauge would get off, with predictable results.


    The biggest draw to this method is the rails are more protected in the solid chunk of plastic; that is stouter than the ties alone. the plastic supports the rails, less damage. it is also easier to visuallize if the tracks are not completely straight at the joint; so the rerailer is just gravy.


    Bill