Lennart's Model Railroad Blog

Lennart's Model Railroad Blog

About this blog

This blog is about my current model railroad layout project; The N scale "Summit" layout, which is a freelanced interpretation of the Southern Pacific Tehachapi tunnels and their surroundings. Or at least, that is what it is meant to be. What it will turn out to be is another matter. The banner photo above shows what I want to recreate in N scale.

Tie foxtrot

Track layingPosted by lennart Mon, May 31, 2010 20:29:22

Progress has been slow lately, but tonight I got the chance to lay some more ties for the siding. While doing so I thought it might be a good idea to share some thoughts I have had on the subject.

I lay my ties by hand, i.e. I am not using any kind of jig. I use the score between the two halves of cork as a track center line, and I make pencil marks to get an even tie spacing. So before having laid any ties I essentially I have something that looks like this:

I then pick up a tie with a pair if tweezers, dip it in white glue and put it down on the first mark. I use eyesight to center it and to get it perpendicular to the center line. Here is what it would look like with two ties in place.

But if you just keep going like that something strange is bound to happen. Although you have the center line as a reference the eyes and the brain tend to have a sneak view on the previous tie and instead try to align the next tie with that one, rather than with the center line. Or it tries to, anyway. But for some reason that does not work. It all tends to end up like below, with the ties slowly moving away from the center line:

Or they start to swing, no more being perpendicular to the center line:

Or both things at the same time:

I found out that a way to avoid all this is to place a single tie some distance away. It is easier to correctly place such a single tie, without the eyes and the brain being distracted by any nearby ties. See the tie marked "1" in the picture below. You can then place another tie somewhere in between ("2" below), using the ties both to the left and the right as a reference.

After that, it is a piece of cake to lay out the missing ones. It is a bit like foxtrot: two steps forward and one backward, if you see what I mean.

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