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tunnels, flex or rerailer inside tunnel?

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  • Member since
    August 2022
  • From: New England (Cape Cod)
  • 128 posts
tunnels, flex or rerailer inside tunnel?
Posted by DonRicardo on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 11:27 AM

What do you think is best for track laid inside a tunnel, flex track or rerailer, or both?

 

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 21,267 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 12:26 PM

How long is the tunnel?  Is it straight or curved?  Do you have access to the interior in case of problems?

My philosophy is to get track work that's as close to foolproof as you can.  Still, my tunnels can all be reached through removable lift-off sections.  I don't use rerailer tracks.  For me, the best situation for inside a tunnel is a single stretch of flex track, as straight as possible, because that eliminates any track joints that might cause derailments.

Be aware, though, that many derailments have their root causes some distance from the point where you notice the derailment.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
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Posted by BATMAN on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 1:38 PM

I want my tunnels to look as real on the inside as the rest of the layout so it is ballasted flex for me. A ride-along with a video camera exposes an unfinished tunnel interior. Not on my layout.Laugh

 

I have one tunnel I am working on that will be too long to fish out derailed cars by hand, but derailments on my layout only happen when some idiot forgets to throw a turnout. Whistling There are no turnouts in my tunnels.

 

Brent

"All of the world's problems are the result of the difference between how we think and how the world works."

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 5:44 PM

Yes, I did finish my subway tunnel walls and stations for video viewing.  It was really only a short loop track with a passing track, but there were 7 turnouts down there, after adding acces tracks to the surface and a couple of storage sidings.  Fortunately,  the subway cars are all heavy and rock solid.  They never derailed.  I lost a trolley wheel once because it fell off, and finding the missing wheel was a long, drawn out process.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    August 2022
  • From: New England (Cape Cod)
  • 128 posts
Posted by DonRicardo on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 5:55 PM

The tunnel section (n scale) is 15 inches long, and has a 17inch radius curve. I have the cork road bed down but no track yet.  There will be an opening in the fascia, just in case, and no turnouts. Also the section of flex track entering and leaving the tunnel has about 9 inches of straight track, the curve being inside the tunnel.

My engines (GP-40s) are all four wheel trucks, and the longest cars are Atlas 60' passenger cars with four wheel trucks.

The lay out is 40"x88" open grid.

There is a flex track joint inside the tunnel that has been soldered on the bench so hopefully no kinks.

 

 

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Southern California
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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Thursday, March 2, 2023 11:32 AM

DonRicardo

What do you think is best for track laid inside a tunnel, flex track or rerailer, or both?

 

 

I'd go with both. I like having a rerailer near both ends and flex track in between. Of course what works best depends on the length of the tunnel and if it is straight or has curves or turnouts. A very short tunnel without any curves or turnouts shouldn't require a rerailer.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
  • Member since
    October 2022
  • From: Newmarket, ON
  • 7 posts
Posted by DerryMaine on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 1:13 PM

I used flex track but put a rerailer near the beginning of the tunnel on a straight part, before the flex track curves. I figured it couldn't hurt.

  • Member since
    February 2008
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Posted by kasskaboose on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 4:05 PM

Pls put me down for flex track in a tunnel. 

  • Member since
    May 2010
  • From: SE. WI.
  • 8,249 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, March 9, 2023 8:22 AM

I used flex, figuring the less tracks joints, the better, plus I soldered and added jumpers to the sections, along with the usual feeders.

I never though about adding a rerailer.

All of the scenery above my hidden track areas is made to come up, for access. 

So, since 2011, I had to do that twice.

Mike.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Southeast Texas
  • 5,421 posts
Posted by mobilman44 on Saturday, March 18, 2023 5:37 AM

I had an HO two level 11x15 layout from the mid '90s thru 2008, and it had a few long tunnels - that proved to be a problem (because I installed a hidden #6 turnout inside).  As a result, this layout's replacement had zero tunnel work.

My advice to the OP is to use flex track, avoid sharp curves, don't use any hidden turnouts, and install a rerailer(s) where feasible.

Also, if you can, provide access via underneath or behind it if possible. 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, formerly modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 13,375 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, March 19, 2023 11:24 PM

I have a fairly short tunnel (about 5') on a curve and a grade.

Here's couple views of the down-grade to the tunnel...

...and a view of the lower portal...

Here's a view taken by creeping under the layout, then partially standing (the inside height is fairly limited)....

...there's a piece of black cardstock, just inside of each portal, curved and then stapled to the 3/4" plywood roadbed.

I've run all sorts of trains through this tunnel, including a 44 car train of open hoppers loaded with Black-Beauty sandblasting material (22lbs. worth), and have never had an in-tunnel derailment in the 35 years since the layout was built.

The in-tunnel view is a little difficult to discern, but if you look closely, you'll notice that both sides of the track have a 2" high strip of 1/8" Masonite, glued & screwed to the 3/4" plywood roadbed, which, if there were a derailment, none of the cars would be falling to the basement floor.

Wayne

  • Member since
    June 2007
  • 8,847 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, March 24, 2023 6:54 AM

Why flex vs. sectional track?  I use nothing but flex track and commercial turnouts on my layout.  The only sectional track I have used are only re-railers, which I have added in staging to hopefully keep trains on the rails as they enter and leave staging.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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