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flextrack and curves

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  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 302,230 posts
flextrack and curves
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, October 27, 2001 7:53 PM
HELP! I am trying to build my first "real" layout with flex track and am having a tough time in laying the curves to the proper radius and connecting the flex track on a curve. Any and and all help is greatly appreciated.
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, October 27, 2001 8:20 PM
Pete,

First, I recommend that you use roadbed under your track. If you have the roadbed on the correct alignment, then the track is a piece of cake. The roadbed will help your track look great. I use cork roadbed but others are fine.

Second, you will need a rail cutting tool to trim the inside rail on curves. When you bend the flex track, the inside rail will be shorter than the outside rail. A good tool like the one made by Xuron will cut the rail flush. It is important to get a good cut on the rail end.

Third, you should consider learning about wiring your layout for multi-train operation. The two dominant methods used for DC track (as in an HO train) are 'two rail wiring' and DCC. DCC has its advantages, but is the more expensive alternative. I use two rail wiring.

Finally, I layout curves using a combination of the 'distance-offset' method and a compass made from a yardstick. To make a compass, just drill a few holes into your yardstick at the correct curve radius. Then swing the yardstick around the arc and mark the centerline.

One thing I have learned is that you need to locate certain critical track elements first, like yard ladder tracks and the curves in the extreme corners of your layout.

If you have alot of space available, use broader curves. It will make the trains look better and contribute to better operation as well.

Good Luck - Ed
  • Member since
    January, 2001
  • From: Niue
  • 735 posts
Posted by thirdrail1 on Saturday, October 27, 2001 9:29 PM
Most people leave the last six to eight inches of flex track unspiked when laying. Trim the inside rail to length, add rail joiners, and solder the rail joints with the next piece of flextrack before you start curving it. This should assist in getting a uniform radius throughout the curve as you spike down the next section of flextrack.
"The public be ***ed, it's the Pennsylvania Railroad I'm competing with." - W.K.Vanderbilt
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 29, 2001 1:31 PM
There is also a guage that you can use to achieve specific radii - like 24 or 30 for example - It's a small piece of metal? that comes curved to a specific radius. Place the gauge on top of the flex track - bend the track until the guage drops between the rails and move on. Don't know the exact name of the tool or a manufacturer of it but your hobby shop should be able to point you in the right direction.

Also - don't be cheap - buy your self a pair of rail nippers/cutters much better and precise than saws which are good for plastic.
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 29, 2001 4:14 PM
All of the above comments contain good advice. You can also check out an article we have on the site here on laying flex track on the curve. You can find it by clicking on Model Trains above, then when the new page opens up, clicking on Maintenance from your choices along the left. You'll find several articles on laying track that should be helpful. You can also paste in the address below to get there directly.

www.trains.com/Content/Dynamic/Articles/000/000/000/109pkaus.asp

Good luck,

Tom Chmielewski
associate editor, MR

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 29, 2001 10:14 PM
In addition to the other advise given I like to offset the joints in the rails on the curve. If you check the flextrack you will find that one rail slides easily in the tie strip. I slide that rail to match the offset between the rails in the track already put down. With the joints not opposite each other it is easier to maintain the smooth curve and not have a kink. Be sure to carve out the ties under joint so that there is not a vertical jump at the joint.

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