Tips for smoothing sectional track..

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by JasonRP, Nov 4, 2005.

  1. JasonRP

    JasonRP New Member

    Hi All,

    I know I know, I should be using flex-track, right?

    Well, for right now, while I am still a total newbie, I am experimenting with the kind of features I want (and that I can squeeze in)to my small layout design, I have been using sectional track.

    So far, I've just put EZ track together on my carpet (it keeps the rails away/seperated from the carpet, so I don't think I'm picking up anything into the guts of my rolling stock, etc.) Hey, "it lifts AND seperates!!" HAHAHA

    Anyway, it is a little bit of a bumpy road (at the joints).. What is the best way to get a very smooth track when using sectional track pieces?

    1) Is the answer that I need to upgrade to the Kato Uni-track to get smooth rails?
    2) Is the answer that I need to just mount my EZ track to plywood or some other suitable base?
    3) Is the answer that I need to do #2 (with any kind of sectional track I buy), and then once it is together sand it with a sanding block to smooth over all the joints? Or is the sanding a huge mistake?

    Thanks for any ideas you have!
  2. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    #2. Sectional track should be mounted on some sort of base. This will stop the track from flexing at the joints, usually when the loco runs over them. And when run on a soft surface such as a rug. Bare, hardwood floors are good if its a tempoary thing.
    Un-Trak was designed for those people that want to run tempoary layouts(Ones running around the Xmas tree)on rugs.
    Mounting sectional track on plywood should prevent you from having to sand the joints. Which, unless the joints have been soldered, is a bad thing.
  3. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi Jason! :)

    ...and the answer is...BINGO!! ;)

    You will never get a smooth ride on the carpet...I know...I just wanna get those trains RUNNING!
    Believe me...things will be sooo much better once you've mounted your track on a nice solid base!
    You'll thank yourself, & so will all the people who are having to step over your train set in the living room! ;)

    As far as the sectional track goes, I would ALWAYS prefer flex-track...But I know a lot of newbies want to stick with the sectional, because it's easier to start with, & you usually have some available that came with the set...
    It can be made to work just fine...Just make sure the joiners are connected properly, & you have a good solid gaps...Run your finger over the joints as you lay the track...make sure they're nice & smooth...if you feel any burrs or sharp spots, a small file will make short work of these.
    I wouldn't recommend sanding the rails...this may cause them to be pitted, & collect more dirt...get yourself an abrasive track cleaner, sometimes called a "Brite-Boy" or some similar brand. These are good for keeping your tracks clean, & maintaining good electrical contact.

    Hope this helps!

    Good luck Jason!
    Keep us posted on your progress! :wave:
  4. JasonRP

    JasonRP New Member

    OK, so I now know I'll have to mount this track on a hard surface. UNItrack looks neat, but is kinda pricey (compared to the EZ track- especially the turnouts! WOW! 10 bucks -vs- 25!). I know this will be a loaded question, but has anyone used both, and if so, is there any clear advantage to using UNI track?

    Part two- Whatever kinda sectional track I end up using (and so far I like using the attached roadbed style, as this seems to be a lot easier to work with, a lot less fragile), can I still use a roadbed material underneith?? For example, is it desireable to use a butylated rubber roadbed under EZ-track or UNI track? I figure this would serve as some sound damping, and also hold the track sections to the plywood base without having to use nails or glue, etc.

    I guess it is important that I should mention that the style of layout I am looking to build is primarily a freestyle oval loop, with operation features built in. Once I satisfy those objectives, I'll build in *some* prototypical features, and probably match the era too, but mostly I want an operating route with the ability for loop running..
  5. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Ancient Chinese proverb say, "Using roadbed with EZTrack like having television on honnymoon...completely unnecessary." ;) :D

    I think the advantage to EZTrack is that the roadbed is built-in...This frees you up to arrange your track in different ways, without having to glue down cork, or AMI, or whatever...

    I've never used the EZTrack, but aren't there little holes in it, so it can be tacked down to a base?
  6. JasonRP

    JasonRP New Member

    Hahaha! I like the proverb! :)

    Well, granted, it does have the built-in roadbed.. But, would it be loud if mounted on plywood with no added rubber or cork between?

    There are no holes in it for easy mounting to the base, but I'm sure that it could be glued, or drilled and then screwed for a more permanent solution.. I'm anxious to try this butyrate stuff- to see if it will quite down things, and also to see if it will provide any stickyness!
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Problem with the mounted tracks is that their ends are all different and incompatible. But they should all join up with themselves quite solidly. I keep my loop of EZ track for test runs. If your rug is on a flat floor and has a short pile, it shouldn't be rough at the joints. Did you get all the metal rail joiners on the rails properly? You'll still pick up a bit of fluff from the carpet.

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