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.

Siding track

Track layingPosted by lennart Mon, June 14, 2010 20:16:13

The combined height of a wood tie and code 40 rail is a little less than that of a code 55 Atlas turnout, meaning I needed to shim the ends of the siding track to get the rail tops aligned. I put short pieces of masking tape under the wood ties in order to raise the siding track where it met the Atlas turnouts. Three layers of tape brought the code 40 rails up to the required height. The picture below, with a piece of test rail on top of some wood ties, shows how the rail tops align.

Note that not all three pieces of tape are of the same length. By making them successively shorter you get a nice height transition.

With all the ties in place it was time to start laying track. I started by marking the location of the first rail. I constructed a simple tool to help with that - a piece of styrene sheet with a piece of square styrene rod glued to it, and a hole for a pencil - as shown in the following picture.

When in use, the "tool" is flipped over and placed with the rod along the outside end of the ties. Then then tool is dragged along the tie edge, with a pencil in the hole. This draws a line along the location of the first rail, at a suitable distance in from the tie ends, as shown below.

I use Pliobond (a contact cement) to glue the rails in place (simply the best and only way to bond rail to wood ties according to the people at Fast Tracks). I cut the rail of the standard 3 ft length in half, since this makes the rail pieces easier to handle. I then pre-bend the rail so that it keeps the indended curvature more or less by itself. I do not use any tools for this. Gently bending code 40 rail with your fingers is no match.

I then apply Pliobond to the ties, along the pencil line drawn earlier. I use a toothpick to apply the cement to the ties. I then flip the rail piece over and apply Pliobond to its underside. I just let the cement flow directly from the tube down on to the rail. You need to adjust the pressure on the tube and the speed with which you move the tube. Otherwise you will either get to much or to little cement on the rail. Ultimately, you want to be able to get the cement in place with one single steady sweep of the tube. It is not always I succed with that ;-)

Then it is just a matter of flipping the rail over and place it on ties, along the drawn line, gently but frimly pressing it in place. Here are two pictures of the first piece of rail in place. There is still some excess glue to remove.

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