Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

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Richard.Ough

Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Richard.Ough » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:03 pm

My continued procrastination with my proposed P$ layout is at an end.

The track plan has been finalised: I know the signalling diagram is correct for the trackplan, and I have plenty of track making components. I have all the materiel needed to build the baseboards and fix them securely together and by using the patternmakers dowels should have base boards that line up correctly and consistently. It will be portable as there is not enough space in the house to erect it permanently.

However, I am now pondering how to secure the rails either side of the baseboard gaps.

In the past, I've used copper clad sleepers soldered to the rails.

I've used woodscrews driven into the baseboard edge and the rails soldered thereon, and in the larger scales, I've just had frree floating ends with loose fishplates to take up any micro movement in the rail ends.

All these systems have been successful, but in the realms of prototype fidelity, sleeper spacing etc, is there a magic method that we P4 modellers use to ensure correct alignment?

I'm very taken with using closed cell foam as a track underlay, but I do see problems with movement and alignment if I'm not careful.

Or am I just being over cautious (probably another form of sub concious procrastination.)?

Regards

Richard

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Russ Elliott
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Russ Elliott » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:40 pm

I prefer to put panel pins underneath the rail positions at the baseboard ends. The pins are put in before the track is laid, tapped down so their tops are just beneath the rail underside. The pins are tinned, as is the underside of the rail, before the track is laid. After track laying, a bit of solder will secure the rail's lateral and vertical position.

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Rod Cameron
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Rod Cameron » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:05 pm

This is what we (well, Mike) devised for Eridge Mk2. Some fairly hefty PCB strip fixed at board ends, brass bar soldered to the underside of the rail via enlarged holes in the sleepers. Ballast and cosmetic half-chairs can be built up afterwards.

The pictures probably speak for themselves.

080626 012.jpg
080626 012.jpg (81.35 KiB) Viewed 12370 times


090611 eridge 003.jpg
090611 eridge 003.jpg (104.17 KiB) Viewed 12370 times
Rod

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Jol Wilkinson
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:20 pm

For the extension to London Road I've used pcb sleepers at the baseboard ends with the rail held in C&L brass chairs. These are soldered to the pcb sleepers but can be adjusted or shimmed to get correct alignment. The pcb sleepers are glued onto wooden strips that is in turn fixed to the basboard surface to match the top of the underlay.

The original baseboards had the rail ends soldered to small pins, but some of these these have suffered over the years and became loose, so needin repalcement.

Jol

Richard.Ough

Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Richard.Ough » Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:59 pm

Thank you all very much for the replies.

I now have no excuses left on why I cannot start to build the railway.

Regards

Richard

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Martin Wynne
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Martin Wynne » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:46 pm

On Adavoyle Junction we laid track normally across the board joints, and then drilled some small holes through the cork underlay between and around the last two sleepers on each side of the joint. Liquid 2-part polyester resin was then carefully brushed around the two sleepers. This soaked into and through the cork underlay and into the exposed edges of the plywood sleepers, and when set secured the ends of the track very firmly to the baseboard. (The track was all riveted plywood, so the rails were firmly soldered to those two sleepers.) When set hard the rails were cut through with a razor saw. When ballasted normally, the result was almost invisible. Polyester resin is available from car body shops for use with glassfibre repairs.

This picture shows such a board joint after several years on the exhibition circuit. The board joint runs level with the top of the platform ramp, and the rail end can just be seen in the middle track:

Image

regards,

Martin.
40+ years developing Templot. And counting ...

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Jonathan Wells
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Jonathan Wells » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:55 pm

^^^
I would not have known about that baseboard join if you hadn't told us about it!

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Martin Wynne
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Martin Wynne » Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:05 pm

An alternative means of disguising a board joint is to ballast up to the rail tops with static grass:


40+ years developing Templot. And counting ...

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby grovenor-2685 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:07 pm

Try some real grass track.
Keith
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Keith
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Rod Cameron
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Rod Cameron » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:22 pm

grovenor-2685 wrote:Try some real grass track.


You can't fool me Keith - that's the Video125 cab ride from Crowborough to Uckfield :mrgreen:
Rod

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Wizard of the Moor
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Wizard of the Moor » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:30 pm

The OP does not make it clear what kind of layout this is intended to be.

If it is to be an exhibition layout, then the biggest risk of damaging the track at baseboard joints comes by snagging the rail ends when the boards are in transit, particularly when being stood on end or being carried, held vertically, up and down carpeted staircases.

My experience is that when a rail is bent in the vertical plane then it is impossible to get it straight again and running will suffer. Any form of anchoring to the baseboard might minimise the bend, but will also make it more difficult to cure.

After several attempts, I've reverted to simply having short sections of rail (10cm or less) each side of a board joint. When the inveitable damage occurs it is limited to that short section. It is also easy to replace.

My trackwork is plastic chairs glued to ply sleepers, which in turn are stuck to closed cell underlay with Copydex. I haven't yet had a problem with either the foam or the sleepers coming loose. Instead, the rail pulls out of the chairs. It's then a 30 minute job to repair by replacing the rail, chairs and dropper wire.

This strategy is less suitable if you have any pointwork spanning your board joints. It's probably also a good idea to think about how to transport the boards in the first place :P

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Rod Cameron
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Rod Cameron » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:45 pm

Wizard of the Moor wrote:If it is to be an exhibition layout, then the biggest risk of damaging the track at baseboard joints comes by snagging the rail ends when the boards are in transit, particularly when being stood on end or being carried, held vertically, up and down carpeted staircases.



Quite so, hence end protectors are essential for boards in transit.
Rod

Armchair Modeller

Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Armchair Modeller » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:48 am

The OP does not mention whether it is bullhead or FB rail either.........

With flat-bottomed track, an effective solution is to solder a short section of FB rail upside down underneath the running rails from the baseboard edge, then solder this to some double-sided PCB screwed to the baseboard. That way, the whole of the rail right up to the very edge of the baseboard can be fully supported, irrespective of sleeper positions. Dummy sleepers and rail clips are then applied. The lower section of rail is not at all obvious when everything is painted and ballasted. The resulting assembly is very solid indeed.

This trick would be more obvious with bullhead track, but using code 40 rail or similar for the lower rails would probably be reasonably satisfactory, especially if silver soldered. As long as the bottom outside edge of the running rails appears well defined, the eye will be tricked into thinking there is nothing underneath.

craig_whilding

Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby craig_whilding » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:06 pm

On Slattocks we've used Exactoscale brass chairs soldered to PCB sleepers for the last two sleepers either side of the joints. Seems to be ok so far when we take it down for club meetings.

allanferguson
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby allanferguson » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:01 pm

Wizard of the Moor wrote:After several attempts, I've reverted to simply having short sections of rail (10cm or less) each side of a board joint. When the inveitable damage occurs it is limited to that short section. It is also easy to replace. :P


I do like the idea of assuming that damage is inevitable and making it easy to replace, not that one should be any less assiduous in trying to prevent the damage in the first place, preferably by "designing it out" as shown in various posts here. I speak as one who has spent some time trying to straighten out vertical bends in Burntisland's trackwork (Two pairs of BIG pliers can be helpful, though!)

Allan F

essdee
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby essdee » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:09 pm

However the rails are secured, I presume some preventative to damage is also a good idea - something like aluminium L strips with felt glued along the inner faces, which are secured along vulnerable sections of baseboard faces - or indeed the whole face, before transportation? This is in my mind as I contemplate building first portable baseboards for over 30 (er, 40, Steve) years.

Steve

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Wizard of the Moor
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Wizard of the Moor » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:38 pm

Please don't get me wrong - I absolutely agree that prevention is better than cure. However, one might as well plan for an easy cure!

My experience, albeit limited, is that the majority of damage is done during those occasions when moving the boards was not planned. That is, when searching for the track protectors seems just too much trouble.

So, any protection must be:

1. Immediately to hand
B. Instant in operation
iii. Unlikely to impede routine maintenance

Steve's idea of angle sections, combined with strategically placed magnets to hold them tight against the board ends or under/in front of the boards when not in use, could be a real winner.

Why don't we have a 'thumbs up' smiley?

essdee
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby essdee » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:19 am

James,

'Thumbs up smiley' from me, concerning your magnets idea; solves the important matter of keeping the protectors handy and easy to use - excellent! I had only got as far as thinking pegs/sockets, which did not solve the handy storage issue.

Steve

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Will L
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Will L » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:57 pm

Wizard of the Moor wrote:..My experience, albeit limited, is that the majority of damage is done during those occasions when moving the boards was not planned. That is, when searching for the track protectors seems just too much trouble...


I think that will depend a bit on what your layouts main use is. If it is primarily an exhibition layout that is taken apart and put back together on a regular basis, you get into the habit of fitting the end protectors as you go along. So in my experience of 15 years exhibiting one layout was having few if any such problems.

If it is primarily a home layout and it only gets taken apart to allow work on the board concerned, its much harder to acquire good habits. That said I think searching for those end protectors was always worth while.

Will

Terry Bendall
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Terry Bendall » Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:48 pm

Picking this up after a week working away from home and no internet access...

Wizard of the Moor wrote:It's probably also a good idea to think about how to transport the boards in the first place


At the risk of playing tunes on a trumpet, see Scalefour News 177 pages 21-23. The system works and we don't get damaged ends.

Terry Bendall

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Wizard of the Moor
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Wizard of the Moor » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:19 pm

I've no doubt of that, Terry, and a suitable pair of crates for Waterloo Street will be constructed at some point. It's only been on the 'To Do' list for five years or so...

However, the point I am trying to make is that most damage (at least, in my limited experience) happens either before you get the boards into their travel cladding or after you take them out again. In my own situation, the senic boards for the layout are always up in my modelling room, but with only a couple of inches clearance at each end. When it's time to play trains, I have to lift the boards single handed and negotiate furniture, doorways and a staircase before there is room to get them into a protective box. Even without all that, catching a rail end on a jersey sleeve can do some damage.

So Steve's solution seems like a winner to me. Your milage may vary.

Terry Bendall
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby Terry Bendall » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:18 am

Wizard of the Moor wrote:However, the point I am trying to make is that most damage (at least, in my limited experience) happens either before you get the boards into their travel cladding or after you take them out again.


Given the situation that you describe James, then I can appreciate how damage could happen. If separate ends, as I described are used, the putting these on first, would prevent damage, although if you have limited space they might make moving the boards around the house difficult. Perhaps some smaller protective ends to cope with moving around the house would be a good idea, and they can then be swapped for the box ends when you get somewhere where the cover can be fitted.

One of the Brighton Road boards was stored on edge in Barry Lucks house at one stage, and someone walked past and caught the rail ends with their leg, resulting in 8 damaged rail ends and 8 parallel scratches to the offending leg. (Shorts were being worn at the time).

Terry Bendall

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RobM
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby RobM » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:22 am

Wizard of the Moor wrote:Why don't we have a 'thumbs up' smiley?

Just drawn one and added it........... :thumb ...........but don't ask for too many more........much fiddlyer than working in P4!....... ;)
R
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LesGros
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Re: Mind the gap! Or how to secure the track either side?

Postby LesGros » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:27 am

RobM wrote:
Wizard of the Moor wrote:Why don't we have a 'thumbs up' smiley?

Just drawn one and added it........... :thumb ...........but don't ask for too many more........much fiddlyer than working in P4!....... ;)
R


Well done! :thumb
LesG

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never made anything useful


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