Joining movable rails

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by ezdays, May 29, 2005.

  1. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I am joining my existing layout, which is hinged and can swing open, to a fixed base addition. I know some of you have layouts that include a swing "bridge" to allow you easy access to inside a wrap-around layout and I'm wondering what method you might use to couple the movable track to the fixed track so that they are aligned and don't cause problems when running trains over them. Or do you rely strictly on getting them just close enough and hope they stay in alignment each time you open and close the bridge?

    This sketch kinda gives you and idea of what I had in mind. The movable section is attached to the fixed section except that the top swings open. I'm using the 1/4" spacer to stiffen the movable end and to hide the gap between the movable and fixed ends.

    This is N scale, and I have three tracks that are going to bridge between these sections. The second sketch is an overall view of my old and new layout plans. Any help as to what others have done, or any thoughts at all as to how to approach this will be appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Don,
    My amateur suggestion would be to provide a positive stop to
    locate the hinged section vertically and a couple of dowel pins
    to keep it fixed horizontally.
    Kinda like this:

    Attached Files:

  3. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    Your BIG problem is going to be compression of the foam over a period - I'd go for a WOOD bridge with a positive stop on the fixed side. To locate it have a length of wood under the bridge so that seen "end on" it looks like a capital T that(just) fits between two lengths on the fixed side that form a flat-bottomed capital U( again seen end on). That should prevent horizontal and vertical alighnment problems. You could use small brass door bolts to prevent any movement and also act as electrical connections. Fit a microswitch to the underside so that it kills the all track to the layout "DEAD" if the bridge is lifted - people say just kill the track for x-distance each side of the bridge - but sods law says that one day you will run a train that is longer, and "gravity staging" becomes expensive - better safe than sorry!
    Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Worrking with 16.5mm track, I glued the track on the removable section (foam base)and soldered the fixed track to brass screws driven into the homasote with rail joiners in position. I cut back the tie spikes on the removable section far enough that I can slide them out of the way.
    Not sure what to do with a total foam base.
  5. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    OK, I liked the idea of a more secure base for the bridge. There is already a positive stop where the rotatable section rests on the bench. I've added a little more detail to my sketch, but basically the two benches are screwed together. I've removed the foam on each end and replaced that with solid wood screwed to the benchwork. I've also increased the bridge to 1/2" plywood. I added two dowel pins to align the bridge. Since I will be accessing the underside only occasionally, I might just try to add movable rail joiners to insure further that my rails are aligned. I'll do that only if they are needed since I can see where they could cause problems in the long run.

    Thanks for your comments.:)

    Attached Files:

  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    It is possible to slide the rail joiners under the track if the first tie is not attached to the rails. You can use a small straight screwdriver to push them out of the way, and to slide them into position when you want them joined. This is what we do with the joiners for the modules at HOTrak.

    EDIT - I may have missed the point on this, but if the hinged section opens only occasionally for access to wiring and storage: 1) Why not access wiring from underneath, and 2) Why not store stuff somewhere else?

  7. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    Call it evolution. When I first built my original layout I was recovering from knee surgery and so I designed my bench with a hinged top and on wheels so I could access the wiring standing up and move it around since it was in my garage/workshop area. I built in some drawers and a slide-out for my controllers. When we moved the cabinet got trashed, but I basically rebuilt it with the same concept in mind. Now I have a whole room inside the house so I'm making it semi-permanent. I'm attaching photo, so you can see what I'm talking about. The slideout will eventually have a control panel and two cabs.

    I'm also attaching a photo of the way the bridge turned out. I was thinking the same thing, using sliding joiners, I think I have a small section that has the rails cut away far enought to allow that. The only negative I see is forgetting to move the joiners out of the way before I swing it open.:eek:

    Attached Files:

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