Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Tracklaying was a refreshing change from benchwork. Finally, something that will show on the final layout! That said, the amount of tracklaying I had to do was vast, and it continues to be a big challenge. Here we see the process - latex adhesive caulk, then foam roadbed, then weighting that to cure overnight with wood scraps to keep it flat and secure to the subroadbed. BE SURE to use paintable caulk if you are going to ballast your finished track! If not, the ballast will ball up when you use a water-based scenic cement.
Once the foam cures overnight, we are ready for another thin coat of caulk, spread thin with a straight edge, and then finally the track. I am a big fan of the foam roadbed - easy to work with, and so far it is very tolerant of temperature and humidity - a big deal in New Jersey in an old house! I am using code 83 flextrack, Micro-Engineering for the visible sections and Atlas code 83 for the staging areas. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Spacing in staging is 2-1/2" center-to-center on tangent track, and up to about 3" even on the curves. For visible areas I am coming off that slightly, but not much. As you can see I am using my longest cars to check clearances - an 89'-6" autorack, and 89'-6" piggyback flat, etc. Longer cars have longer overhangs, and we want to avoid big problems with sideswipes!
This is all Atlas track, and Shinohara (Walthers) Code 83 switches. Not bad, right? I'm pretty excited about how it is turning out.Tracklaying in the staging area, Fall 2008.
Here is the 'western' end of the staging yard, all tracklaying complete at this spot:
Finally, some not-so-good pictures of the superelevated curves going in on the big turn. This is Micro-Engineering flex track, absolutely beautiful. I was lucky enough to get a big bundle of this stuff used. Unlike Atlas, it holds its shape with no nails necessary. It takes time to get it right, but when you do...Good news :-)

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