Track-laying questions

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by billk, Sep 3, 2002.

  1. billk

    billk Active Member

    Question 1: Does anyone have a good technique to avoid kinks in a curve where two pieces of Peco Code 55 flex-track meet?

    I don't think the method of offsetting the joint location of one of the rails from the other will work because it requires sliding the rail through the tie strip, which is difficult (impossible?) with this track due to how the rail is embedded into the tie strip.

    Question 2: If you check the gauge on this kind of track and find either it too wide or too narrow), what's a good way of correcting it?
  2. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    Solder your rail together before you make the curve. This works for me with HO Atlas code 83 flex track.
    To correct gauge, use your soldering iron to heat up the ties (at the tie plates) and hold the rails in gauge, while it cools.
  3. billk

    billk Active Member

    Marty - Won't this stop the rails from sliding in the tie strip?

    I should maybe have described Peco C55 - the rails are actually .080" high, with the bottom .025" embedded into the tie strip.
  4. NYCentral

    NYCentral Member

    I (in HO) layout the first part of the curve until I have about 1' of straight track left then solder the rails with rail joiners together. Then I continue the curve. This does two things:

    1. guarentees that the gap will be correct.
    2. automaticly stagers the joints a small but reasonable distance.
  5. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    Do both rails slide?
    If they do, then you should not have a problem.
    I also use the method that Phil described.
    Both ways work for me.
  6. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    for track to flex, at least one of the rails needs to slide. Ensure the slider is on the inside of the curve and all will be well. This method will secure the sliding rail into the clips of the other piece of track and maintain proper gauge.

    I had a problem with one point on my layout where I was not only on a curve but also transitioning from flat to 1% grade. I ended up moving the joint, someting about the combination would not allow even a soldered and well mounted joint to transition the grade.

    Another option is to insert a spacer or two or ten througout the curve, it is prototypical as most of the curve in the industrial park where I work have spacing rods about every ten feet.
  7. billk

    billk Active Member

    Not to get testy, but I don't think a lot of the "standard" methods will work on Peco C55. I'm not even sure the tracks slide, I've exerted as much force as I dare trying to move the rails in the tie strips, to no avail! When you bend a piece, the outside rail becomes "shorter", but it's magic to me how that happens.

    One thing I noticed is that there are breaks in the portion of the tie strip that is under the rails. I don't have a sample in front of me, but I think they are every 3" or so. The breaks under one rail are staggered from the breaks under the other rail. Is this where the magic is coming from ... who knows?

    I think my best bet right now is to preform the track and trim the rails as square as possible to each other while the track in its final shape. Unless someone has a better way (for Peco C55, remember).

    Hopeless confused but pressing on regardless.
  8. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    Sorry we could not help.
    Maybe Catt will read this post. I think he used Peco code 55 for his layout.
  9. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    billk I use Peco code 55 n-scale, you haven't said what scale you are working with but I am only speaking about the n-scale as I haven't worked with the HO stuff. One rail will slide easier then the other which is why when you bend it the outer rail gets shorter. Both sides do slide but for some reason one always goes easier then the other. You can take needle nose pliers and pull the rail thru the ties, again one side will always go easier than the other. I lay the first piece down pinning it in place with track nails (to be removed later after I have added the glue/ballast mix and it has dried). At this point the inner rail is way to long so I trim it with a dremel tool (you can also use rail nippers) so about 3/4th's of a rail joiner in lenght is sticking out past the ties. Then I take the next piece of track and pull the outer rail thru until I have enough to slide thru the other piece of track right up to where its outer rail is. Before sliding it into place I use the exacto to trim out a few ties only on the outer side (on the track already in place) for the rail joiner. Repeat as needed! :D
  10. Dan Brown

    Dan Brown New Member

    On laying a curve I lay the first piece in place and trim the ends. Before bending the next piece trim the ties back and solder the two. Then finish laying the second piece. The second piece will then push the inner rail away from the joint.If laying from curve out solder the two pieces together and then lay like one piece. Hopoe this answers your question.
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The sliding of the rails is an engineering miracle.
    The way one sticks out farther is grade 6 math.
    I once laid my curves by sliding the extra rail into the next section and installing the rail joiners offset. This was ugly and not worth the trouble.
    Unless you are putting a series of sections around a curve, you might try to clip the rails then straighten them before you solder them.
  12. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hello Bill, seeing as you are having a problem, I will sort it out for you. This is part of a book I wrote on Model Railroading.
    Lets now take the job of laying track a little further for track which has to go around curves. This time,
    it is easier to solder two pieces of track together first before pinning it down. Just lay two yards of track
    down on a flat surface and join the tracks together then solder them ,
    . When the two are ready for use, just pick up the two yards, on yard in each hand and very carefully bend
    the two halves together to form a horseshoe. Now lay the track down at the place you wish to join these
    tracks to, and you will notice that the ends of the tracks have staggered. Don't panic. Lay one end of the
    track onto the end of the ones previously laid, so that the horseshoe tracks overlay the old track. Now with
    a knife, make a cut mark over the longest rail and snip it off and file it up. This end is now ready to join to
    the other two. When all is pinned down, you will notice the once again at the other end, there is a staggered rail end. Once again,
    mark with a knife the long end so it is the same length as the other one, then cut it off and file it. Once
    again, when all is pinned down use your fingers to check for any irregularities, if there are any, file them
    away and try a freight car over it.


  13. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Guys, I use a lot of Shinahora and Model Engineering HOn3 flex track in code 70 and code 55. When bending a curve with this track neither of the rails slide very much. It would be an advantage if it would because this track is really stiff.

    To overcome this problem what I do is take two pieces of track and cut 2 or 3 ties off the ends of each piece. Then I slide on the rail joiners. Next I lay both pieces of track (still straight) on a flat surface, make the joint and solder the two pieces together and then lay the curve onto the road bed and spike it down and slide the ties that I removed back into place under the rails and simply glue them down to the roadbed.

    There will now be a slight mis-match at the end of the 2nd piece but I just trim that back and continue on with the track in the normal fashion. Maybe this would work for other brands of flex track that won't slide.

    Some flex track is loose and slightly out of gauge. You can use some small spikes ( like the ones used for handlaying track) on the inside and outside of the offending rail to correct the gauge.

    TIP: One of the best tools I've ever acquired is an Xuron Track Cutter. They are actually flush cutters and will cut rail just as clean as can be. I highly reccomend them.

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