Model Train Track Work

You can invest months or even years in creating a precisely detailed model train layout.  However, if your trains do not run smoothly or trouble free all of the previously mentioned effort will quickly become a waste of time, because your railroad will eventually be something that only collects dust.

With that said, one could easily argue that track work is the most important part in building a model railroad.  The fact is, scenery and anything else you’ve built or created in the effort to have a realistic layout can be fixed or changed.  On the other hand, track work should be installed correctly the first time around, because the work that will be required to fix or modify errors can be quite difficult, and will consume a significant amount of time to change or repair.

The Basics Of Track Work

In general, most track which is available to modelers is made of brass or nickel silver, and is held in place by plastic tie strips.  Individual track section are held together or joined both physically and electrically through metal rail joiners which literally connects the rails end to end.

There are two different types of track that the hobbyist can choose from, and they are sectional track and flex track.  The main difference between these two types of track is the ease by which you can work with them.  For example, sectional track is much easier to work with because it can be assembled quickly.

The drawback for this type of track is the curve radii which are available for the modeler is limited.  Flex track on the other hand can be curved or shaped to almost any type of configuration.  It’s drawback is that it must be cut to length.

The most common method for laying track onto a layout involves setting the track on top of the cork, which is followed by adding loose ballast, and then the ballast is glued in place.  This method can produce some very eye pleasing finished results.  However, this process is somewhat time consuming, and could be something that is a little more complicated than a novice may want to attempt.

There is another alternative which the model railroader may want to consider as it is much easier to work with, and once in place is virtually ready-to-run, and this is all-in-one sectional track.

It is available through more than one manufacturer, and is reasonably priced.  The main difference in standard track and roadbed track is that roadbed track has it’s own unique connectors, which means that track from different manufacturers cannot be combined.

The positive side to this is that the connectors actually do a much better job of securing the track sections to each other than do rail joiners alone.

Another valid point relates to the experience of the hobbyist.  Those hobbyist who have been involved in model railroading for some time have the expertise and know how to add ballast at a later time.

Another important advantage to all-in-one track, which is invaluable, is that it allows you to try your hand at experimenting with a variety of different track arrangements before you make the decision to permanently secure it to your layout.

Having said this, it is important that an adequate time investment is committed to in creating a track plan.  In so doing, this pre-planning will also have some bearing on which type of track you choose to work with.

When designing your track plan, make sure that you provide enough space on your layout for scenery as well as any structures or other elements you plan to include.


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