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laying your own track
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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 04:45 pm
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Helmut F
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Thank you guys.  Remember I will be building an outdoor layout if you can add color there, all BPRC.

When I order spikes I will be ordering the track gauge.  I already ordered rolling stock rollers from micromark (they are definitely handy!) so can get tools from there.  I will check the link above.

In my case I am trying to save cash - as much as possible.  This may or may not be the way to go to save cash.  Right now I have to research all the dreaded propositions here in California to decide how to vote for each one of them, so my model RR activities are taking a back seat for a few days.

The best economic deal I have found is O27 track which I can rework with ties to look much better.  I have been able to purchase it for about $0.75/ft. so far.  I will add 8 or so ties (Western Red Cedar) per 8.75" of track for $1.50/ft or so for ties (I might have a better deal for these, but white pine).  Total for this track is $2.25/ft. plus my labor.

The next best deal is buying aluminum rail which is really too high for scale (that does not bother me too awful much) and laying my own track that way, but that option is only marginally cheaper than just outright buying pre-made flex track ($3.40/ft. at micro engineering).

The downside to O27 is finding larger than 27" diameter curves; they actually seem to be somewhat rare.  *Maybe* I should consider mixing in some O31 stuff as well as the larger curve radius there seems more available (31" and 42" and the occasional 72").  If I am reworking them both I think the different will be far less noticable when/where I connect them.  But I will be stuck with pre-determined curve sizes, period.



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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 09:38 pm
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Cor V
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i have my doubt about aluminium rails, specialy if you are going to use it outside
it can give a lot of trouble deu to bad resistance and oxide

Cor



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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 09:45 pm
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Rod Hutchinson
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oztrainz wrote:
Hi Rod,
My suggestion was meant to be sufficient to get some track down with sufficient spikes that will hold gauge - Then you come back and fill in the gaps.


For those who wish to see Corrimal Collery Incline, join us the Australian Narrow Gauge Convention.
http://www.austnarrowgaugeconvention.com

Oh and John, I'll bring my nail gun haha.



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Rod Hutchinson
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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 11:03 pm
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Helmut
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@Cor
When going BPRC, even plastic rails will do.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2016 04:24 pm
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Reg H
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My $.02.

Like Woodie I have been hand laying track since I was a teenager and I am now an old fart.

If the reason you are hand laying is to save money you will get frustrated. It is a time consuming process.

But I find it very therapeutic (sp?). My model building is mostly about the journey. Yeah, I like to arrive at a finished product (kind of a rare occurrence), but if I can't enjoy the building process, what's the point?

It is always a learning experience. You would think after 54 years of laying track I would know it all. I don't. I learn new things and/or different about it all the time.

My track, for my On30 layout, is Code 83 on cedar ties cut on my table saw. I started laying track in 2009 and essentially finished last year about this time.

Many years ago I started a standard gauge O scale layout. It got terminated due to a divorce. I was laying that layout in Code 125 with sidings in Code 100. Seemed about right to me.

I like to encourage folks to hand lay track, but as a process.

Reg



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 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2016 04:37 pm
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Helmut F
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Thx Reg.  I think part of my enthusiasm is the journey.  What am I going to interact with you guys (and others) about when my layout is 'finished'?  (as if that would ever happen)  I have learned so unbelievably much about so many things in just a few months, and have only scratched the surface.  While my goal is to be able to have some relaxing time periods operating my railroad following some random orders spit at me by the computer, I have a very long way to go to get there with the methodology I have envisioned and want do some iterative operations that are not in the ultimate guise along the way to keep the ball rolling and ensure I am on the right track.  So I want to get something going now so I can get a feel for things that may help me tweak for my ultimate goal; that is probably why some of my lines of thought and questions and mini-projects seem disconnected and out of order and chaotic.  :)

My ties came in last night - exactly what they are supposed to be.  I really like the color and color variation of the Western Red Cedar, but that wood will definitely cost me more.  White pine is definitely much cheaper.

I tested with a nail and I will be able to push the spikes into these.

I still have a few questions.

1. at 1/2" wide and 1/4" high these are certainly NOT scale, correct?  it seems we make compromises for scale ties for hand laid and commercial track?  or do we?  what size should the ties be for both pre 1900 and post 1900 standard gauge track?  6 or 7" wide x ?" high x 8ft. long?

2.  should my spikes go through my ties?  or only most of the way into them?

3. i am guessing there are no spikes made that will work in a nail gun, correct?

4. when laying sectional track outdoors, how do you get it to stay in place?  ballast and white glue, slope stabilizer, etc.?

5. in considering flex track, double that question above.  how does one get flex track to keep shape outdoors on the ground?  i am guessing the same thing applies if buying rails and making my own track that way.i have relatively loose decomposed granite, and in general that sits in top of solid rock or rock that crumbles into DG if you look at it.  any ideas? 

thx.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2016 10:12 pm
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Si.
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" Right now I have to research all the dreaded propositions here in California to decide how to vote for each one of them, so my model RR activities are taking a back seat for a few days."

Hi Helmut

Nice to know the decisive future management directions of California are in good hands. ;)

:moose:

Si.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2016 10:22 pm
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Reg H
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Helmut:

1. Correct. That is larger than scale. About 7"X9"X 96" is the right size.

2. The spikes don't need to go all the way through the ties. The cedar will hold the spikes just fine. If the spikes are long enough to go through you will want a road bed material into which the spikes can penetrate. Plywood will definitely not work. How do I learn these things?

3. You don't want to use a nail gun for spiking. Spiking is a gentle process. I use a small pair of side cutters. Yes, you can install spikes with side cutters without cutting the heads off. The side cutters grip much better than the traditional needle nose pliers.

4. The decomposed granite might work. A friend of mine and I started construction of an outdoor O scale traction line decades and decades ago. It didn't get very far, but we got track laid. We dug a small trench and bedded it with lime stone, laid the track on the lime stone and then ballasted the track with more lime stone. After the first rain that track was solidly in place.

5. On the occasions I have used flex track (all in HO) I have bent it into the shape I want prior to fastening it down. It is a fussy process, and you have to solder rail joints, but it helps prevent laying the track with odd kinks in it. I have used flex track that has nail holes in the center of some of the ties, and some that had provisions for spikes through the tie plate in every other tie. I have also attached flex track with contact cement.

I think you have some real challenges. If it were me I would try laying a short stretch with a preferred method and see how it works. If that method doesn't cut it, try something else.

It's a real bummer to lay a whole railroad using a particular method that ends up not working very well. You can figure out how I know that.

Reg



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 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2016 10:30 pm
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Helmut F
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Si,
While I appreciate your confidence it is an uphill battle as I am sure you can imagine!  But it went much faster than I imagined, just vote against all the things where the CA government refuses to cut spending and balance the budget.

Ah well, back to obsessing about my someday RR!

Reg,
Thx.

1. What *should* scale tie size be?  Or for O scale would they really be too small to work with and we fudge it a bit?

2. Thx, I guess I need to estimate how far the rail will hold the spikes up out of the ties and just go for a length - or I will never get started.

3. I kinda figured a nail gun might be a bit too 'violent'.

4.  OK, i still think I am going to start with sectional track first but wanted to start gathering ideas about flex track.  but yeah there are outdoor glues that can probably help.

5. so i guess the flex track, once shaped, generally holds its shape?  it might need a little help?

Last edited on Tue Nov 1st, 2016 10:37 pm by Helmut F



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 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2016 10:47 pm
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Rod Hutchinson
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Reg H wrote:
Helmut:
3. You don't want to use a nail gun for spiking. Spiking is a gentle process. Reg


Hi Reg, I know John Garaty quite well so my poor attempt at humour won't be lost on him, but you are correct. For newbies out there DO NOT USE A NAIL GUN for spiking.
I have done a small amount using pliers but there is lots of advice on the WEB as to how to insert spikes correctly using speacialised and common tools.



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