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Code 83 track laying

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  • Member since
    December, 2008
  • 7 posts
Code 83 track laying
Posted by chomper on Monday, November 09, 2009 9:26 PM
I am working on my first layout and have reached the first steps in laying cork and track down. Should I connect all my track and lay it out on my table according to my track plan, mark the center lines and proceed with laying cork? If I connect all my track how do I move the track off the table to put the cork down? The rail joiners seem tight and I do not want to force a disconnect or try to store all that track somewhere. Any hints from an experienced track installer?
  • Member since
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  • From: Southwest US
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Posted by tomikawaTT on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 1:25 AM

What kind of track are you using?

My usual procedure is to secure an adequate subgrade (thin plywood) and a layer of extruded foam through the area where tracklaying is scheduled.  Then I lay down sheets of cardstock (comes in 20" by 26" sheets) and locate such key items as curve centers (curves are marked by swinging a trammel - sort of like an oversize compass) and turnouts.  The track plan is worked out with flex, and the tie lines are marked on the card stock.  Not many rail joiners used at this stage, since the object is to get the card stock marked.

Once I've located all the track components, I cut out the templates, clear away the debris, re-lay the card stock (not the track) and determine where and what shapes of ballast former are needed.  I use thin extruded foam, cut to appropriate shape and contour with a utility knife.  (In the Dessicated Desert, cork is a non-starter.  It dries up and crumbles, while the extruded foam is unaffected by high temperature and very low humidity.)  The ballast formers are placed under the templates as they are carved, positioned with brads (toothpicks would probably do as well) then secured with latex caulk and weighted down with a choice collection of old phone books.

After the ballast formers are all in place, I caulk the cardstock templates to them and replace the phone books.  The final step is to lay the track, which is finally trimmed to size, rail joiners installed, specialwork taken care of and everything secured to the cardstock templates with one final layer of latex caulk.  The cardstock, which has been precisely marked, allows the flex to be positioned exactly: smooth curves, proper easements, no kinks.  An hour or so under the phone books sees the caulk set up, and the track is ready for temporary electricals (alligator-clip test leads) and the designated derailment check train.  Any problems found by the latter are fixed THEN, not set aside for later.

I usually lay a few meters of track at a time, then go back and proof check everything.  I'm obsesso about getting it right - but once I do, derailments just don't happen.

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: Martinez, CA
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Posted by markpierce on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 1:49 AM

Tracklaying isn't dependent upon the code (height) of the rail until it gets very low.  Like, for instance, code 40 usually requires gluing or soldering the rail to the ties since there isn't clearance for spike heads when using NMRA (the standard) wheel guidelines (toy-like pizza-cutter wheels are a different matter.)

Mark

  • Member since
    June, 2003
  • From: Culpeper, Va
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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 3:10 AM

 I draw the track plan, center track lines, directly on the plywood using a straight edge for tangents, a trammel for curves, and templates for easements.  The cork splits in half and I glue each half to the sides of the line.  I then lay the track on top centering it on the top.  I use flex track and turnouts from Shinohara, but the technique is the same for other makes.

Enjoy

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
  • Member since
    November, 2002
  • From: Colorado
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Posted by fwright on Wednesday, November 11, 2009 3:08 PM

markpierce

Tracklaying isn't dependent upon the code (height) of the rail until it gets very low.  Like, for instance, code 40 usually requires gluing or soldering the rail to the ties since there isn't clearance for spike heads when using NMRA (the standard) wheel guidelines (toy-like pizza-cutter wheels are a different matter.)

Mark

Mark

Only true if you pay no attention to the spikes you are using.

When code 40 rail first came out, Kurtz-Kraft (eventually became Micro-Engineering) made a flex track with the code 40 rail that took RP25 flanges just fine.  If hand laying, ME "micro spikes", Proto87 Stores spikes, or hand-made spikes a la Stephen Hatch will all provide sufficient clearance with code 40 rail and RP25 flanges (or the corresponding N low profile flanges).

Spiking very small rail sizes (code 40 in particular) does require a little more care to avoid kinking the rail, and the spikes do need to be snugged reasonably close to the rail base to avoid hitting the flanges.  Gluing the rail is probably easier, although I have never tried it myself.

The big difference between laying code 40 flex and code 100 flex is the need for the roadbed to be smooth and flat.  With code 100 track, the track can span roadbed irregularities better than rail less than 1/2 the size - not great, but better.  I prefer to make sure the roadbed (or at least tie tops on handlaid track) is flat and smooth regardless of rail size - others may choose differently.

just my experiences

Fred W

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: Martinez, CA
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Posted by markpierce on Wednesday, November 11, 2009 3:19 PM

 

 

Dave, thanks for updating me.  I haven't worked with code 40 rail since the 1960s, the exception being of fastening short rail sections approaching/within speeder sheds.

Edit -- Oh my, and then there was the early 1990s when I used code 40 rail spurs coming off of code 55 turnouts on a dual-gauge layout, as exemplified in the two spurs on the right:

 

Codes 70, 55 and 40 were used on the module, as shown above. 

Mark

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