Hand Laid Track?

kotubyr Jul 8, 2000

  1. kotubyr

    kotubyr TrainBoard Member

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    I recently had to pull up half my layout due to water problems and am now rethinking my track. I don't like the new Atlas flex track with the plastic ties. I liked the old cardboard ties but can't find them any more. I am thinking of hand laying the track but don't know who makes the equipment I need.

    Any advise on where to find what I'm looking for?

    Thanks in advance,

    Randy
     
  2. StickyMonk

    StickyMonk TrainBoard Member

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    hello, i was also thinking about hand laying track on my new layout im building now, but as my track laying is rather poor (thats putting it mildly) i decided to just use Peco code 75, but when i was looking into hand laying i found that micro engineering had basicly everything you would need from pre weathered rail and ties to spikes track gauges and turnout parts and as they offer track in code 40, 55, 70, 83 and 100 you can make it all prototypical


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    Matthew
    wheres all the C636's????
    stickymonk.com
    Matts Photo gallery
     
  3. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

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    All the flextrack you'll find on the market has plastic ties. Atlas discontinued fiber-tie track years ago.
    As to handlaying track, Campbell makes
    profile ties, I believe Micro Engineering
    (former Railcraft) still has rail, and spikes
    are readily available. Also, I'd use Kadee
    rail gauges and a spiker to make sure the rails are in gauge. Stain the ties with Camp-
    bell Tie Stain to get the creosote look (or
    weatherbeaten look of older ties).
    If you don't want to go this route, the
    flextrack offered by Micro Engineering, Walthers/Shinohara, Peco and Atlas are all
    good products. Atlas is the least expensive
    of the lot, and their code 83 line is nice- I
    use it exclusively on my layout.
    Good luck on your tracklaying!

    ------------------
    Ship IT on the Frisco!
    Bob T.
    http://hometown.aol.com/slsf1630/myhomepage/profile.html
     
  4. kotubyr

    kotubyr TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks to both of you for your prompt replies. I will certainly look into everything both of you suggested. I had belonged to a model railorad club (25 years ago before we got kicked out of our location and disbanded) and we hand laid the track and it didn't seem too difficult. Granted I was only a teenager and kept away from certain critial functions, like laying track (did a lot of bench work though).

    As my son is 10, I am looking to find ways to bring him into the railraod hobby and thought redoing the layout would be a good one.

    Thanks again for the advice. Sharing the hobby is what makes it so great!

    Randy
     
  5. ncng

    ncng TrainBoard Member

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    I have been laying my own track for a long time. I started doing so because at the time it was a lot cheaper than buying pre-made track. That isn't really the case anymore except for building switches. It only costs about $2.00 in materials to build a switch. Compare that to the $15+ they want in the stores. Just like everything else in model railroading it takes time to learn but the big advantange is that you aren't locked into what track is available from manufactures.

    I use Micro Engineering rail, ties, and spikes. You can get the weathered rail for only a couple of dollars more than unweathered. Use the 'small' spikes. Larger spikes tend to stick up too much and hit the flanges. They also tend to split the ties. I would also recommend buying full size, not profile, ties. Once you lay the ties you will need to sand the tops of the ties so they are all level with each other. Kadee no longer makes their spiker. I use a surgical needle holder to insert the spikes. It tends to work a lot better than needle nose pliers and it also has a locking mechanism that prevents dropping the spike.

    You are also going to need homasote or homa-bed as a roadbed. This material will hold the spikes unlike cork.

    Have fun.


    [This message has been edited by ncng (edited 09 July 2000).]
     
  6. Maxwell Plant

    Maxwell Plant TrainBoard Member

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    Part of the reason the fiber ties are gone is when they got wet, they'd "curl up" and put the track out of gauge.

    ------------------
    RAILROADING-TO-THE-MAX, Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Style!
    Brent Tidaback, Member #234
     
  7. kotubyr

    kotubyr TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the info ncng. I was wondering about all the different tie and spike options. I seem to remember we used a staple gun type devise to spike the rail. Am I mistaken or don't they make that type of equipment any more.

    I use ceiling tiles for the road surface. I find it works very well. Easy to cut, sand and spike into. Very easy to make the start of a grade using a file and sand paper.

    Thanks again everyone for the help.

    Randy
     
  8. tunnel88

    tunnel88 TrainBoard Member

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    I plan on laying some switches to P:87 standards using the PC method. Anything i should be aware of? But i will use ME flex for everything else.

    Railway Engineering does theirs this way;
     
  9. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member In Memoriam

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    Hi Randy -

    You have received alot of good information here.
    I have been laying my own rail for many years .. it's good therapy! *grin* Not too long ago I read an article about using a material called "Foamboard" for a roadbed, and using a hot glue gun to set the rail to the ties. I have tried it and have been very pleased with the results. The rail has been down for several years now without any movement at all. The foamboard also dampens the noise of the trains' wheels. It took a little practice to learn how to run a bead of glue along the base of the rail, but I found by filing a notch on the nozzle of the glue gun, things went very smoothly. The big advantages I can see using this system is: when building your turnouts, all you have to do is heat the top of the rail with a soldering gun and move it into gauge. Also, there is no danger of a spike being shot into your eye while trying to press it home.
    I also agree to use full size ties to allow for sanding. To color my ties, I use a liquid black shoe polish. The ties vary in density and stain in different shades using this method.
    I think you and your son will really enjoy laying your own rail.



    ------------------
    Bill

    "Get Goosed on the Yreka Western"
     
  10. ncng

    ncng TrainBoard Member

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    To answer the question about the 'staple gun' to spike the track: yes, Kadee used to sell it but they no long do.

    On the question about PC board ties: There was a clinic put on at the Colorado Springs Narrow Gauge Convention about building a stub switch using PC board ties. The clinic along with pictures can be viewed/downloaded at: http://www.bewellnet.com/pyrlady/3waystub.htm#Photos

    Even though it is a stub switch the information is very good.


    [This message has been edited by ncng (edited 13 July 2000).]

    [This message has been edited by ncng (edited 13 July 2000).]
     
  11. tunnel88

    tunnel88 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the link...
     
  12. kotubyr

    kotubyr TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks again to everyone who has posted. I've certainly gotten more information than I thought I would receive. This site is really great.

    Randy
     
  13. BC Rail King

    BC Rail King E-Mail Bounces

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by kotubyr:
    Thanks again to everyone who has posted. I've certainly gotten more information than I thought I would receive. This site is really great.

    Randy
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Randy, this isn't info, but something I wanted to say.

    I visit many peoples layouts in my area, and hand layed track in larger scales (HO, S, G ect..) looks alot better, and creates less running trouble. I too would highly recomend it, especially if you have alot of time.

    Happy Railroading!!

    Dane N. [​IMG]



    ------------------
    BC Rail King
    TAMR2860@Canada.com for TAMR info.
    BCRailKing@Canada.com
     
  14. tunnel88

    tunnel88 TrainBoard Member

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    My thing is that i want turnouts that look as good as the real thing...

    The fact that there's not really any P:87 ones does play a role too~ [​IMG]
     
  15. ncng

    ncng TrainBoard Member

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  16. tunnel88

    tunnel88 TrainBoard Member

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    Last i checked they don't have any thing higher than a No. 8 and don't do code 55...

    Railway Engineering is a good site- wish they would update every once in awhile.
     
  17. hirailer

    hirailer New Member

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    Hi Randy,

    The only thing I can add to what has already been said is that I too started handlaying track 18 years ago because it was cheaper. To this day I have never installed flextrack.

    I have nothing against flextrack at all. But I prefer the prototypical appearance and the fun of putting handlayed track down. Was the word "therapeautical?". Anyway, handlaying track lends the operatunity to lay turnouts "in place" anywhere a switch is required, just like the real ones!

    Hope you give it a try

    -------------------
    Mel
     
  18. Georgiasysrr

    Georgiasysrr E-Mail Bounces

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    I've been handlaying track for a number of years now and I keep hearing how it "looks more prototypical" but I don't see that, I mean if you only spike every four ties, how can that be proto?
    Robert
     
  19. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member In Memoriam

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    Hi Robert,
    I don't think the word 'prototypical' actually means putting a couple of spikes in every tie. If that were true, we would also have to include fishplates and rail joints to name a few. As it was mentioned above, the main advantage is being able to place a turnout anywhere, in any manner to suit the need ... that's the prototypical feature of laying rail in this fashion.
    Personally, unlike flextrack or other commercial track sections, I really like the appearance of the uneven ties. Also, there is a need for the modeler to weather the rail and ties, in addition to placing good ballast and other eye-catching features such as weeds and trackside 'junk'.
    Don't give up on it friend! [​IMG]




    ------------------
    Bill

    "Get Goosed on the Yreka Western"
     
  20. tunnel88

    tunnel88 TrainBoard Member

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    While i don't plan on doing fishplates, i do plan on making my turnouts as realistic as possible. I plan on getting some firsthand looks and notes to get em as real as possible.

    I don't lay straight and curves though. I'll just use MEs flex. I think it's quite nice.
     

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