Laying the track 

 

Laying track correctly is very important and must not be rushed.

Taking time results in smooth running trains with no derailments.

Never lay track on a surface that is not completly level and solid. 

 

  Lay out the track on the baseboard following the plan you have made and check that it is possible paying attention to curves and clearances. The track can be laid directly on top of the baseboard but many people prefer to raise the track by laying the following materials between the track and the baseboard.

      • Foam strip  (Peco or Hornby)
      • Rubber strip from Tracklay mail order
      • Cork (Gaugemaster)
      • Balsa wood 

All the above are available from any good model shop. The track can be either pined or glued in place. 

Peco flexible track in most gauges comes in 36 inch lengths and although sold in single lengths it is supplied to retailer in boxes of 25 and most model shops will give discount when a customer buys a full box.

Do remember that flexible track (unlike setrack) can be made into any shape, straight or curved and cut to any length so a full box is soon used. 

 
   
   

 The above lengths of track are joined together with metal clips called 'fishplates' which are available in bags containing 24. Remember you also need fishplates to join the flexible track to pointwork so always have a few bag available.

They are also available in plastic for isolated joints. 

 
     

 

 It is important to check the track as you progress round your layout looking for any mis-alignment of rails as they enter the fishplate by just running your finger over the joint. If either rails has not fitted into the fishplate it would be felt like a step. To correct pull apart and fit together again.  This alignment of fishplates also applies to setrack.

 

Try to avoid having track joints at any change of gradient or bends. When a joint has to be on a bend ensure the curve is kept smooth by using a 'tracksetta' gauge and off setting the position of the fishplates  and putting extra pins in the track.

Where a curve runs into a straight keep the shape smooth which will ensure the trains run and looks correct; and not derail. The Tracksetta template is positioned between the running rails and slide round the curve as you advance, changing the radius to a larger radius as you reach the straight.

The range includes a straight templete to ensure flexi track remains straight. The templates have slots to allow track pins to be fitted before the templete is advanced to the next lenght of track.

Tracksetta templates are available in different radius including Setrack radius to match Hornby and peco track; and available in both 'OO' and 'N' gauge from any good model shop. 

As both full size (real railways) and model railway scale track rails are made of metal and will expands and contracts as the temperature changes it is a problem, perticularly if your layout is in the attic or out-building where the temeratures will range more. Althought there are gaps at the fishplates it is a good idea to fit expansion joints as Railtrack do allowing the rail to slide alongside each other as shown below.

This is the full size version as fitted by Railtrack

Note that the direction of travel is from left to right

The black is grease to ensure the rails slide smoothly.

 

  

This is the Peco Expansion joint which is currently only available in '00' gauge to match code 100 track.

Part code SL-44

 

Direction of travel is from left to right