I use rail joiners, but after I solder and nail the tracks and even use nail to keep them in place not through the holes I get my Xuron cutting tool and mach the rail joiners into the rail horizontally. They still work and aren't as big anymore. sometimes I even cut vertically, except where the join was. Then I can put the ties bach the way there were, actually on the rail and then I paint the ties with gray/silver paint and paint the rails brown. Then It looks like welded rail. Then I send up a KATO NS dash 9, dash 8-40-B, SD-60M and SD-50 with about 30 intermodal well cars, turn on the signals and it sure looks like a mainline!