Need help levelling track

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by spitfire, Apr 3, 2004.

  1. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Hi folks

    Although I thought my roadbed was level, it wasn't exactly so now I have a slight problem. Where 2 pieces of track join there is a noticable bump.

    What's the best way to get the rails to line up? Sanding? Filing? And what do you do to clean up afterwards?

    Thanks in advance
    :) Val
  2. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    Val as soon as the boys get done here will send them your way:D
  3. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Nice one Jim:D :D :D

    Val , Where is the "bump" table, road bed, send a pic:D
  4. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Val, What kind of roadbed are you using? Cork, Homasote, or wood or whatever?

    Are you sure the problem is in the roadbed and not in the benchwork? Often basement floors are not level and that whole section could be a little off....not enough to notice until you put the roadbed down.

    Post us a picture of the problem please.
  5. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Vic, the roadbed is homasote. I think there may have been some glue underneath from a previous attempt to attach foam, which I subsequently pulled off.

    Here's the problem area.

    Attached Files:

  6. George D

    George D Member

    Just a wild guess - if you slipped ties under the track at the joint, you can have a bump if the ties aren't filed down to allow for the thickness of the rail joiners.

  7. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    on the serious side Val is the track the same make as the turnout if not that may be your problem if the bump is not very high a few licks with a file will do;)
  8. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    I would do as Jim said, a few passes with the dremal disc will solve that hic cup:D
  9. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Jim, the track and turnouts are not the same. File sounds good. Thanks! Chris I still don't have a dremel. :cry:

  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Val,Before yopu file anything look and make sure the rail is seated on the tie..It hard to tell from the picture but it looks like the rail is not seated on the ties
  11. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Val, I would do it in three steps.

    1. Make sure all rails are firmly in place, no leteral play.

    2. Apply a small drop of solder to the outside and top of the rails.

    3. Carefully file the rails flat and smooth.

    Hope this helps.
  12. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Look to the right of the red circle Val.
    You are right Larry!! if it`s to late to pull the rails back to thread it properly into the tie ,you could improvise by cuting the plastic holders with a modeling knife.
  13. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hope This Helps

    Hmmm Val, It could be something under the roadbed and thats a shame 'cause it alreadys seniced. If you think thats where it is then the only thing to do is pull it up and see. The only other thing that I can see is maybe there is something under the ties right there at that joint. If you have got a thin blade putty knife try running it under the ties and see if anything is there.

    My next thought is that the roadbed (homasote) is not the same thickness as the ajoining peice. Homasote is a "nominal" thickness and can vary from batch to batch as it is manufactured. If this is the case then just some sanding will bring it back into the proper thickness.

    My next thing is the railjoiners could be deformed. Place some flat like a file across the joint and push down firmly and see if the joint doesn't even up. If it does drill a small hole in the center of the end tie of each piece of track. Then while holding down on the joint put a track nail or a spike into the hole and push it down to hold the joint in place.

    As for cleaning up, the shop vac will do the job but you'll have to do some touch up on the ballast and the ground cover.

    This is one of those problems that rears its ugly head from time to time:eek: :D I don't reccomend filing down the rails to cure the problem. That just makes a dip in the rails. I'd rather do it the hard way and find the cause of the problem:eek: :D
  14. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Val, After reading Larry's post (his went up the same time as mine) I think he is right too. Either the rail is not seated in the tie or the railjoiner is sitting on top of that little "nubbin" on the top of the tie that holds the rail in place.

    I use turnouts and flex track both with plastic ties. I cut off the first tie on each piece of track where the joint will be and then join the track. After the track is down I take the two ties that I cut off, cut those "nubbins" off and slide them under the rails back in place. The glue in the ballast will hold them in place.
  15. Climax1880

    Climax1880 Member

    leveling track

    Looking at the picture, I think that Larry and Vic are right. With my old eyes, it looks as though the right side of the rail joiner is sitting on TOP of that cast on nubbin. I think that if you carefully shave that off, ON BOTH RAILS the problem will be solved. Just my $.02 worth.
  16. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If you have a mocrometer or vernier calipers, check both rail heights. If they are different, you need to make a compromise joiner.
    If they are the same, you need to sink the plain track deeper into the ties.
    I see 2 problems. The rails are sitting on top of the fasteners for 2 ties. You need to cut off the fasteners under the rail joiner and cut a small recess into the tie. I usually do this on the workbench where I can attack the track from the end. If you can remove the track, it will be easier. If not, you need one of those square-ended X-acto blades, and dig in from both sides. The next tie can be treated similarly, or if you can remove the track slide the rails out and slide them in again into the fasteners.
  17. neilmunck

    neilmunck Member

    If you want some cheap and dirty russian engineering input you could try putting a small block of hardwood on the top of the rails that are too high and hammering (eek!) them. This will deform the fish plate and force the taller rail down until the heads are at the same height.

    I am saying this because when i look at the picture it looks as if the rails are different sizes. I don't think the sleepers are the problem.

    If there is a step at the joint then it is different sized rails - if there is a small hill at the joint then it is the sleepers or roadbed.

  18. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Thanks to everyone for all their help and great advice. I knew I could count on you guys!!!

    It seems that Larry and Vic were right, the tie either wasn't seated properly under the rail joiner, or I forgot to file it down earlier in the process.

    Thanks also their suggestions, I was able to get between the track and tie with a hobby knife and shave off enough to get the track even. Yay!

    :D Val
  19. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Val: I was also going to suggest using a soldering iron to melt the rail into the ties. You need heat sinks both sides so you don't melt anything out of the ties.

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