Where Do You Start?????

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by waredbear, May 10, 2007.

  1. waredbear

    waredbear Member

    Okay...I have a plan...where do I start laying out from? Do I start in the center and work out? Do I start at one corner and work out from there? Do I start in the yard? WHERE???? I will print out the layout from XTrkCad at 1:1 and use that for the general track location but do you start at a turnout? a curve? a bridge? where where oh where do I start?

  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If you are using flex track, start by laying out your turnouts at the critical spots, and then cut the flex track to fit.

    If you have printed out your plan 1:1, then lay it on the benchwork for a precise guide.

  3. waredbear

    waredbear Member

    Track Laying Virgin

    This is my first time at laying track. So I nail down all of the switches first. I would then solder the flex track together to fit to the next switch. Cut it to fit and move on. The curves are tricky since the rails move. I will need to cut the binders as needed and even up the track at the end of the curve. Right? Do I solder all of the connections as I go or do I lay it all out first, tack it down, check everything out and then come back and solder the switches? I think this would be a GREAT place for somebody with experience to jump in and guide me through the process...:confused:

  4. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Not sure what scale you are using, but take care with putting in those track nails. Bang to hard and the nail can push on the tie (or break it) and put your track out of gauge, especially in N-scale.

    I'm gonna go back to use something like liquid nails again on the upcoming layout to glue down flex track.
  5. waredbear

    waredbear Member

    I'm doing a coffee table first with HO and N. You can find the thread in the HO section. I'm also working on a large 5'x10' N layout. That progress is in this section. My question is geared more toward my large N layout since there are so many switches and track involved. It is almost overpowering as to where to begin. I just finished figuring out my layout heights for the ground. Now I need to figure out my elevations at different places so I can decide how I'm going to transition from section to section and place scenery between the tracks.

  6. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    Many people let the switched float, since they are the most likely thing to need replacing. I think I lean towards fastening, but gently. I'd recommend latex caulk over nails.

    I'd start by placing a switch in a place that seems to be pretty important to get right, then placing the next one that would be connected. Connect the flextrack to the first switch, and lay it to the second, just holding in place, or tacking down lightly. Mark and cut. Then caulk it down, connected to the first switch. You can pin it down while it dries. Lay the next switch, rinse, and repeat. Keep using your diagram to check critical locations, where it isn't so critical, make it look good as you go.

  7. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    I have always been told to lay the yard first, since that is the most track to lay at one time, and the most critical area. Then work out from there.
    After the yard lay your track up to your first turnout, cut the track to fit, put in the turnout, and continue.
    To curve your flex track, soldier two pieces together when straight, making sure the rails that move are connected. When you curve the track, you will probably need to cut out two to three ties to allow the rail joiner to move. If you lay curves and then soldier, the rails will try to stay straight and cause a kink at the joint.

  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I say major switch and crossing work first, then curves, then the straight bits.
    I wouldn't let a soldered rail joint slide in the ties but let the other end stick out and then cut it off. There shouldn't be many curves that take more than 2 yards of flex track (if there are, the ends are going to be close to straight anyways). After you get the curves about right, cut straight sections to fill in between.
    I did one layout where I let one rail slide around. Cutting space for a rail joiner a half inch into the next section was a chore and it looked ugly.
  9. Sierra9093

    Sierra9093 New Member

    Hi everybody I am new to this forum. So hi! I just wanted to say that I started with my town and built from there track to run around the perimeter of my basement.
  10. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I didn't see anything about roadbed in your original post. Are you planning to use it or will the track be mounted on the base?
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You asked about whether you should solder all of your rail joints or not. There are 2 considerations. Is there a possibility of large temperature swings in the layout room? If there are, you will need to leave some sections of rail loose in joiners with a small air gap between the ends of the rails for expansion/contraction.

    The second consideration is switches. I would not solder any rails to a turnout. The turnout may last forever and never need to be replaced, but if you solder rails to a turnout, expect it to fail and need replacing within a week (aka-Murphy's law). This has nothing to do with solder messing up a turnout necessarily, just the way things work, breakdowns seem to be in direct proportion to the difficulty of making a repair.
  12. Sierra9093

    Sierra9093 New Member

    Krause, Sorry for the delay. For a roadbed I used the standard cork. For underlayment, I used particle board, trying to do it on the cheap. I works OK for straight ways and non complicated spots, but seems to be problematic in the more complex areas of my layout. Hope this helps.

Share This Page