New Layout Questions-Advice, Please.

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by dank, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. dank

    dank New Member

    Hello, all. I am ready to immerse myself in my first model railroad since the '70's. I have been reading quite a bit about DCC, so I have purchased an NCE Powerhouse Pro and an additional throttle. I will go with the Atlas Code 83 Flex Track and Peco small radius turnouts. All but one of the turnouts will be manually operated. The rail will sit atop cork roadbed. The layout will have two mainline loops, a reverse loop and two sidings with bumpers. There will be two places on the layout where crossovers will be used. With all of that being said:

    1. Do I need to use plastic rail joiners at any point in the layout? What are these plastic rail joiners for? Specifically, where are they placed? On which rail are they inserted?

    2.I will need an auto reverser for the reverse loop, correct?

    3.How many feeders are required around the layout? Is there a formula, i.e., every four feet, or do they go before and after each turnout, crossover, etc.?

    4. The entire railroad will sit on top of 3/4" plywood. I have read a number of posts on the forums where people are actually covering the entire table with a sheet of foam, or they are using MDF instead of Plywood. Why? Can cork roadbed be nailed through the foam to the table, or is it better to glue the roadbed to the foam?
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Foam will not take spikes or nails if you use foam, you need to glue the cork down. You will also need to glue the track to the cork since neither cork nor foam will hold nails.
  3. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Your electrical questions are more easily answered if you can post your trackplan. Which peco turnouts you use will affect where you need insulated joiners. If you can use the insulfrog turnouts you won't need to be concerned with the insulated joiners. This at the expense of an unpowered frog, often not a problem, it depends on what locos you'll be running. I have a feeling you've already read about this but just didn't think to post which turnouts you'll be using.

    The crossovers you mention require no insulated joines if you are using the insulfrog turnouts and the two tracks involved have their respective rails wired to the same polarity.

    Yes, the reverse loop needs insulated joiners on both rails at both ends. The reason I'd like to see the trackplan is to see how the crossovers relate to the reverse loop.

    Regarding feeders, everyone has their own opinion. I like to feed every piece of rail. However, I've also used just one set of feeds for about 30' of track with no problems, so if you don't mind adding them later, you can skimp at first. There are options on how you add them too. I like to solder them to the bottom of the rail so they are invisable. Of course, to do this you need to do it prior to laying. I solder the feeds on the underside of the rail, then mark where the feed is on the roadbed and drill a hole fro the feed to go thru. After laying, you can add feeds to the sides of the railfairly easily.

  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Your reverse loop will need insulated joiners. It also needs to be fed through a reverse loop module.
    If you use electrofrog turnouts you need an insulated rail joiner or gap in each rail beyond the frog, although a series of turnouts can be combined. The end of a siding counts as a gap.
    With insulfrog turnouts you may want to put in insulated rail joiners to make sections for troubleshooting.
    You can't really nail through the foam. Glue the roadbed down, the pin or glue the track to the roadbed. If you pin it down, you can later glue ballast on and remove the pins.

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