Flexible tracks

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  • Member since
    June 2020
  • 8 posts
Flexible tracks
Posted by Giuseppe1963 on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 11:54 AM

Hi Everyone, I hope to find you guys healthy and safe in these crazy times ! In spite of all, my plan to turn a good portion of my rather large backyard ( "large" at least for South Florida  standards...) is proceeding forward . I am now educating myself  by gathering as much info as possible on how to prepare the ground, choose the right type of track and  lay it down. After some thinking I decided to go with the brass type . I am finding tons of available tracks on ebay , mostly from Aristocraft. I am considering , though, to buy flexyble tracks and , of course, a rail bender ( a costly but necessary investment !). What do you guys think of Mineline rather than Aristocraft ? Any tangible difference other than the price  ? Also, is it better to use joiners or clamps ? What about soldering and using jumpers for electrical connectivity ? What kind of soldering gun should I buy ( I have none ) . Last question for y'all : which ones are the best brands to consider for switches/turnouts ? So many questions ! Thanks in advance  for your help

  • Member since
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 8:36 PM
Giuseppe, I'll take "joiners vs. clamps" for $500! Clamps cost money, but they are better in the long run. Dirt and gunk gets in the joiners, they get twisted ever-so-slightly and lose contact, whatever. Our answer to the cost of investment was to simply run trains until a particular area needed too much attention, then we added clamps to fix that stretch of track. We call it "strategic railclamping!" We also found it was roughly a "break even" cost-wise in terms of clamps vs. longer lengths of track, so, where we could, we replace 12" with 48" sectional track. Removing joints removes failure points! Eric
  • Member since
    February 2007
  • From: Arizona (high country 7k ft) USA
  • 650 posts
Posted by Rex in Pinetop on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 10:20 PM

Your question on soldering:  Back when I was using track power on a previous layout I went with soldering solid cooper wire to the outside of the track flange.  I used a torch after removing the plastic ties.  None of the electric soldering irons had enough power.  I used a paste flux after wire brushing the rail flange.  Once the wire was in place I replaced the ties, and then used a solder gun to put the twisted wires together.  This system allowed the use of joiners instead of expensive clamps.  Unfortunately the joints would still come apart after several years requiring clamps anway.  Also a further drawback to jumpers is grinding them out when you decide to change your layout.  Bottom line my recommendation is to go with a mix of clamps and joiners to keep the rails together and then go with battery power so no worries about electrical connnectivity.

  • Member since
    February 2007
  • From: Arizona (high country 7k ft) USA
  • 650 posts
Posted by Rex in Pinetop on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 10:32 PM

Your request for recommendations on switches/turnouts:  I have 19 of them on my current layout.  A few were leftover LGBs from a previous smaller layout.  The majority are handmade from plans in Garden Railways magazine.  The first handmade ones used cedar which lasted about three years.  The wood is still good but the spikes kept pulling out.  I've since moved to cyprus.  Those have been solid for going on seven seasons now.  LGB switches are good however you do have to keep up maintenance on the electrical operators else they give up to corrosion.  I've since done away with electrics and moved to air powered operators for much better reliability. 

  • Member since
    June 2020
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Posted by Giuseppe1963 on Sunday, August 16, 2020 5:55 PM

HI Rex, thanks again for your contribubtion !  Your final words abut going with batteries is what the local train model store owner in MIami also suggested me to do : he was VERY adamant that in South Florida there is basically no other options due to the unforgiving climate ! So, problem solved about connectivity issues, track choice, etc. NOw that I drastically narrowed my options as far as power supply, I need to find the RIGHT locos to be easily converted into battery operation and the most dependable /reliable RC equipment ( transmitter , receiver, battery pack) .

  • Member since
    June 2020
  • 8 posts
Posted by Giuseppe1963 on Sunday, August 16, 2020 6:00 PM

Once again, due to the tropical climate we have to deal with down here I guess I will bypass electrically operated turnouts and follow your advise ; or even go manual for the time being !

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