Time to lay track. Sequencing

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by HoosierDaddy, Jun 27, 2005.

  1. HoosierDaddy

    HoosierDaddy Member

    I've started on my first "real" layout, and I'm ready to embark on some tracklaying very soon. My benchwork is open grid, with 1/2" plywood (well 15/32" if you're being precise:D ) with 1 1/2" extruded foam as subroadbed. Roadbed is cork and track is Atlas code 100. About 1/3 of the benchwork is complete, up to and including the foam subroadbed.

    I've already pinned down some cork roadbed to get a picture of how things fit, and as I thought of taking the next step, and putting down track, I became a little hesitant. You see, I haven't screwed anything up yet...

    As I make the transition from layout planning, to layout construction, I'm trying to make use of a lot of info I've gathered from searching and reading here and other forums. There's a lot of value to learning from ones mistakes, but even better if you're not the one who made them.:) So, as I begin the actual construction phase, I'm looking for advice on the sequence you followed in constructing your layouts. When did you run wiring, when did you paint the subroad. Did you ballast then weather or weather then ballast? Should I solder feeder wires to the rail, or try to solder the track, rail joiners and feeder wires all together in one operation. Here is an outline of how I think I'll proceed. Critique away...I can take it.:thumb:

    1. Lay cork roadbed, (latex caulk for adhesive)
    2. Paint foam (currently a lovely shade of pink) a slightly more earth-tone color.
    3. Lay track using latex caulk as adhesive, and soldering all connections on curves
    4. Run wiring busses
    5. solder feeder drops to track and connect to busses
    6. ballast
    7. weather rail and ties

  2. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    Sounds like you're on the right track. A couple of suggestions for consideration, based on my research.

    I laid all of my track first, just pinning it to the cork to get it right where I wanted it. Rather than soldering the feeders to the outside of the track where they would show, I first soldered the feeders to the bottom of a rail joiner. I drilled holes down through the bench work for the feeders. They don't show at all. I then soldered the almost all the rail joiners, leaving a few unsoldered for expansion/contraction. I glued the track down by lifting short sections about 1" from the cork (leaving T pins in place) and spreading a small dab of latex caulk with a putty knife about every 4"-6"and then pushed the track back down, again pinning it to hold it. I ran home runs rather than a buss wire, it depends on your layout size/shape. Consider putting your power supply in the middle of your buss wire, rather than at one end to minimize the voltage drop.

    I've started painting and weathering the track but plan on a lengthy amount of train runnin' before ballasting just in case I gotta rip something up.

    Let us know how it turns out.

  3. HoosierDaddy

    HoosierDaddy Member

    If you solder feeder wires to the rail joiners first, and then, apply heat a second time when you solder the track together, any problem with the feeders coming loose? It obviously can be done, since you were able to do it, but what about someone less experienced at soldering, such as myself. This is what concerned me about doing it this way.

  4. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

    Hello Hoosier,
    Iam in agreement with Doc. I have soldered several rail joiners to seperate Home runs as Doc had stated and ran the wires through a hole drilled the space between the rails. I placed the wired rail joiners approximately every 3 feet. Every so often I inserted insulated rail joiners. This procedure would allow you to isolate your layout with a series of switches. I do this because to me, the more bells and whistles the better. I like to over engineer - LOL. I also solder the rail joints, with the exception of the insulated joints. I utilized the "COLDHEAT" soldering iron for this application. It produces a controlled heating area, as not to damage your layout. Hope this works for you. :thumb:
  5. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    I didn't have any problem with the feeder coming loose from the rail joiner when I soldered it to the track. I first tinned both the feeder wire and rail joiner bottom and soldered the feeder wire perpindicular to the rail joiner, using a liquid soldering flux. Join the rails with the feeder wire pointed inside the dracks, bent down at a right angle and inserted through a hole in the roadbed. Apply flux to the joiner and solder the rails. Push down slightly so you keep the joiner pushed against the feeder wire. Even if it does come loose when it get hot while soldering the track, it'll re-attach when it cools down. I also used metal clips on either side as heat sinks to avoid melting the tracks. I posted a pic in another thread that shows what I'm talking about.
    If you look closely in this pic you can see the feeders sticking through the roadbed.

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