Question about flex track

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by conor, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. conor

    conor New Member

    Ok this is definately going to seem like a stupid question to all of you but im new to this so im going to ask it anyway.

    Waht form does flex track come in. Does it come with the two rails parallel to each other and attached to sleepers or does it just come as two seperate pieces of rail that have to spaced perfectly parallel to each other. I know that sounds confusing so ill draw it

    does it come like this

    | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | ==== Sleepers

    or this

  2. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Flex track is two rails mounted on ties (sleepers), 36" long (HO) 30"(N), which can be formed into curves of any radius (including "S" curves), or layed straight, as desired.
  3. conor

    conor New Member

    excellent, thanks for the reply. 1 more question though, say i make a curve with flex track would the tworails not come closer to each other?

    sorry i should also have added this question:
    If i had a straight piedce of flex track and i want to put in a turnout. Can you cut the flex track to the size you want it. And also is this the kind of stuff that i want?
  4. 3phase

    3phase Member

    The best thing with flex track is you can do anything you want with it. I suggest getting the right tools to cut it with, there is a specail saw and holding tool to handle it with. You however have to have extreme pationts with it. I also suggest soldering the ends in a bend befor nailing the track down, it makes for a smoother bend. Please take a look at my layout, done entirely in flex track. I hope i have helped.
  5. conor

    conor New Member

    thanks 3phase, and there is no problem with the spacing on the corners?
  6. neilmunck

    neilmunck Member

    When you curve a piece of flexitrack (as we call it over here!) the rail on the inside of the curve protrudes from the end of the section of track because it is going round a curve with a smaller radius so the 36" length of rail gives a longer arc.

    Net result being;

    ----------- rail on outside of curve
    l l l l l l l l l sleepers/ties
    ---------------- rail on inside of curve

    so you lay the track down and put a mark on the rail head where it should be trimmed off to make the ends of the two rails parrallel.

    Then you take the flexitrack track in one hand and cut the protruding rail off just beyond the mark with a pair of wire cutters and file the end of the rail square (my method).

    other people use a hacksaw or a razor saw then a file however that seems labour intensive to me. other people (different from the first lot of other people :D :D ) use special track cutting pliers that leave the end of the rail virtually perfect so next to no filing is needed however the special cutters are quite expensive.

    the main thing is to make sure you don't leave any burrs on the head of the rail where it might derail a train or on the foot of the rail where it will stop you from being able to get the railjoiners on.

    good luck

    ps. the great thing about flexitrack is you can cut it to any length you need - unlike set track. This is why everyone ends up using it if they don't use it on their first layout.
  7. conor

    conor New Member

    and the track come attached to the ties, yes? and if i want to add in a turnout i just cut the flexitrack, solder the joint to the turnout and it should work?
  8. neilmunck

    neilmunck Member

    Yes. Yes and yes

    you don't have to solder the rail together straight away. Railjoiners work fine until you ballast the track and glue gets in them. I waited until I had all the track on my layout in place and working before i soldered it. This gave me a chance to check it all worked and meant i could do all the soldering at once.
  9. conor

    conor New Member

    ok, im soory but could you elloborate on this bit, its the first ive heard of it. im sorry if these questions are getting stupider.
  10. conor

    conor New Member

  11. 3phase

    3phase Member

    I got a short video clip of me bending the crap out of a section of track to help you better understand exactly what this stuff looks like and how it works. One rail is stationarry and the other moves. As a rule of thumb i try to keep the moving rail to the inside of the radius. This makes for easier cutting and less waste. I dont recomend doing the same as i did in the video to a new piece of track. It dont realy hurt it but you could break it if you bend it to far. A fair price for N scale is around $2.75 a section 30". I found a hobby shop selling old stock at $1.50 a section and i bought as much as i could afford at the time. I suggest you keep an eye out for deals the same as that.

    The price is a bit more for HO scale and HO scale dont bend as much as my N scale stuff does.
  12. conor

    conor New Member

    thanks 3phase that was a great help. So basically you have to bend it and tack it down straight away. I see, thanks eveyone. And any opinions on the turnouts. I'm planning about 12 or so of them, i sould really get remote switches shouln't I?
  13. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    If you are careful flex trax can be flexed rather tight and still stay in gauge. With a little engineering flex track can get pretty tight Here's some Atlas HO code 100 flex that I formed into 5 1/2 inch radius curves. This oval fits on a 1 foot by 2 foot board and small locos will run on it. Fred


  14. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Indeed, flex track can generally bend as tight as you want it to, as long as you're careful. Getting your engines and rolling stock to run on it is another matter! Curves that tight are generally limited to trolley layouts--couplers tend to stop cooperating below 10-12" in HO, and object strenuously to those under 15".

    Regarding turnouts: I'm assuming you're in the UK, in which case the turnouts to look for are Peco brand. They look nice, have a built-in spring so they "snap" in one position or another without an external switch machine, and they're relatively cheap.

    You don't have to have automatic turnouts as long as they are all relatively easy to reach--personally, I prefer manually operating my turnouts as an "operation" strategy--since I function as the entire train crew, when a turnout must be thrown I stop the train before the switch and take off my "engineer" hat, put on my "brakeman" hat and walk over to the turnout, throw it, then move the train through the turnout, stop again, and return the turnout to its previous state if needed.

    Do you have a track plan in mind? Having a clear idea of what you want to nail to your bit of plywood is essential.
  15. conor

    conor New Member

    my track layout is in the logging forum under my thread Starting A Logging Railway. Im in ireland by the ay but my supplies are coming from an american based internet site.

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