Tracks - glue or pin?????

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by bobrien, Apr 5, 2002.

  1. bobrien

    bobrien Member

    New question... I understand the benefits of pinning track directly to baseboard, but what about where the track is elevated?
    Isn't it easier to glue the track directly in situatiosn where the track is raised and not necessarily attached to an easily 'pinable' surface?
    I know this question probably comes into the category of "just use your noodle" but I would be interested on any and all opinions on track fixing.
    Do it once, do it right I say.
  2. RI541

    RI541 Member


    The way I do it is if the track is just on roadbed and sitting on plywood I will pin it with trrack nails to hold it in place until I ballast the track. I then pull the track nails out.

    If there is no plywood such as an incline or a ridge I use T pins like the ones sold by Woodland Senics for their terrain systems, but I bought my T pins from a sewing store they were much cheaper.

    I pin the track on the out side of the rails with the T part across the ties.I put the " leg " part at an angle under the track to hold it in place. Then ballast as soon as possible.

    I have used glue a couple times which works well but if you want to remove it then you've got to scape it off, If you do glue it I recommend Liguid Nails Paneling glue it has a quicker tack time.Then only a small bead on curves,on striaght runs I only put a small dab every 6 inches or so.

  3. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Ah, the chicken or the egg question:D

    I have used only glue to put my track in place. All track is mounted on cork roadbed. I used map tacks to hold the track in place while the glue dried. The cork is either glued to the blue insulation board or to the Woodland Scenics risers that I use. The picture isn't the best, but gives you a sense of what I have been doing.

    The ONLY challenge I have had with using the glue is when I needed to take up a turnout it came up fine, but I had a hard glue residue to deal with. I finally just dampened it well and let it sit for awhile and them wiped it off! So really no problems.

    One caution if you use map tacks to hold the roadbed or track in place while letting the glue set... use lots of them, particularly on curves.


    Attached Files:

  4. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    A thin bead of hot glue is easy to put down and easy to adjust (with a hair dryer on hot) one drawbak is very little set time. It comes off easily with a hair dryer and scraper when you need to move track. caution #2, too much will pop up between the rails and need to be trimmed down.

    No color, easy to apply, easy to modify, easy to remove, short set time. I like it.
  5. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Bruce,
    Depends on what surface you are going to lay your track onto. If it's a sort of Sound board with Plywood underneath, then PIN it either side of the rail, not in the middle. If you are using cork on something or other, then Glue it. Use a hot glue gun.

  6. bobrien

    bobrien Member

    Thanks again guys for all the tips etc. I kinda figured there would be the need for both but getting the details always helps.

    I was worried a bit about just using ballast but realise that with the overglueing of ballast it will hold everything in place and allow for much easier track removal once I need to repair all my mistakes I know I shall make.
    I do see a problem with bridges etc but will address that problem when I come to it.
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Just a caution: don't glue your switches down too permanently. I'm working with one layout where the switches are stuck down solidly and we have problems when they come apart and we can't replace them.

    If you use a really solid glue like liquid nails, just do the tracks leading up to the switches and let the switches float or use the ballast to hold them down. DON'T GET BALLAST IN THE POINTS.

    Every time I get my railroad ballasted, I have to rip it up to move house.
  8. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    This is repititious but just to support what others have already said. I glue cork roadbed in place onto the subroadbed with white glue and use large pins to hold it in place. Once the glue has cured, I remove the pins and sand the cork smooth. Next I use spikes to hold the track in place and then ballast the track, spray it with water that has a drop or two of detergent in it, and soak the ballast with a mixture of white glue and water. When this dries and hardens I remove the spikes. This works for me and it is even removable as I experienced when I scrapped my previous layout. My new layout is virtually all recycled from the cork roadbed to track and switches .
  9. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I'm going to add to the repetition here...
    Always make sure you're happy with the track arrangement before you's much easier to remove, & rearrange track that way, if you need to.
    Also, if you use track pins, you'll need a nail-set, or some type of spike driver...& don't drive the spikes in too deep, because this can bend the rails out of gauge.
  10. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    This make seem like a dumb question to the experts, but when do you ballast, before or after completing the scenery in a particular area?

    I am beginning to see that what will havppen for me that rather than say complete all the scenery in one looooong operation I will do it a little at a time. I think I see where I can do it in 4 or 5 sections. In that case how do you sequence the ballasting?

  11. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Not sure there's a right or wrong approach here, I ballast first because I handlay and actually ballast before I lay the rail. However, if you scenic at least a couple of inches on both sides of the right of way and then ballast, the ballast will repose on top of the dirt/grass as in real life. Of course, if you ballast first then apply dirt/grass, you could always go back and touch up with small amounts of ballast. How's that for a non answer? Are you wired for DCC yet?

  12. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member


    I have one leg done and am progressing along the other. I just don't have big chunks of time to work on it right now. I'll get it done soon.

    There were a few ^%$*&#@#$%$% heard coming from my basement day before yesterday as I was trying to install a decoder in my 2-8-0 and broke a wire off the new harness I had just received from Loy's. You were really right about limited space in that tender. The problem is trying to wedgeit in without covering the hole for the screw to reattach the top of the tender. I have one more harness and will order a couple of more next week.

    In taking apart the tender, for reasons I still don't understand, I unscrewed the screw that holds the coupler in place. I am having a h___ of a time trying to get it reattached:mad: :mad: My hands are just too big and I can't hold everything still while I try to hold the coupler in place, lay the plate and screw on top, align it all and them pick up the screw driver and finish the process. I think what I am coming to realize is that I need to give some seriopus thought to some additional tools to support this habit:rolleyes:


    Oh, and thanks for the guidance on ballasting. Like so much of this I'm sure I will develop a process through trial and error.
  13. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Bob, The coupler will be easier to remount if you remove the truck first. Also get a screwdriver with magnetic tip. With tender upside down on bench, put coupler in place and put cover over it, screw should be on screwdriver already, just pick it up and install.

    Which wire on your harness broke and which end? Keep in mind black and red are for track power, orange and grey are motor leads. These are the wires you absolutely need. White and yellow are headlights, I think white is forward and yellow reverse, and blue is the common for both lights. You will not be using the others. So, depending on which wire, perhaps you do not need it. If any wire comes off the end with the 8 pin plug, you can resolder it easily.

    While I shouldn't say it's impossible (someone will say they did it) to put the Dogitrax decoder in that tender, is is difficult. I gave up on that pretty quickly and used a NCE D104. It came with a plug. Or. if you are willing to spend the money, there is aplug and play sound decoder with speaker available for about $125, I think.

    Question: Did you use insulated rail joiners when you laid your track? If not you should be able to run with just one set of drops wired, at least till your joiners no longer provide good connections. You would of course still need to wire the reverse loops. If you did use the insulated joiners, oh well. They really weren't needed with Atlas turnouts.

  14. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Hi Gary;

    Unfortunately it was the red wire:( It is on the end where it might be soldered). I think what I will do it take it to a good friend of mine from my Rotary Club who is a jeweler and see what he can do with it. He has helped me a couple of times and I had even thought about taking the tender to him.

    I will try what you say on getting the tender back together. I may just put it aside for now and see of Loys has the NCE decoder. If so I'll order it and I won't have to take it apart again:D

    I have already installed the insulated joiners, but no problem, I just finished up dropping another terminal joiner for the long spur down the left side of the layout and will now start hooking up everything on that side.

    I hope Medicare covers all the dents in my head acquired under the benchwork while getting the wiring hooked up :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

  15. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    One of the British mags reviewed a new Bachman loco and said that while it was very nice that it came with the DCC socket installed, they might think the next time about leaving some space for the decoder.

    I'm staying with DC until they come out with a chip for my Stevenson's Rocket for under $20.00.:D
  16. RI541

    RI541 Member


    Whats a plate layer, are you talking about fish plates?

  17. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah


    Platelayer is a British term for a track worker (Gandy Dancer in US).

    I'm in a British modelling group called the Platelayers, and I think it was chosen because likely members would know what it meant.

    There's a bit fuller explanation on our website
  18. RI541

    RI541 Member


    Well I think I was almost right but not quite. The rail is spiked through the fish plate inti the rail. So I guess that you'd have to be either a plate layer or a gandy dancer to work with this.:) :D


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