HAnd laying track code 100

IS there any advantages to hand laying track and how is it done? -john C

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John C wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This should help:
http://www.railwayeng.com/handlay6/hndly-h3.htm
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad: http://www.billsrailroad.net Brief History of N Scale: http://www.billsrailroad.net/history/n-scale Model Railroad Bookstore: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore Resources--Links to 1,100 sites: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-favorite-links
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John C wrote:

Advantages? Well, like beauty, they appear in the eye of the beholder. Here's my take:
-- There used to be a cost advantage, but it's diminished of late - too small to justify the extra work IMO.
-- There also used to be an appearance advantage, but the quality of flextrack has improved a lot. Take a look at Micro Engineering's track, for example. In any case, the realism of track depends more on ballasting and colour than anything else. Paint rail and ballast to match the prototype, and even Atlas's code 100 flex looks (reasonably) good.
-- There is still a major advantage when it come to turnouts. Handlaid turnouts, built in place, free you from the constraints of the geometry of the commercial ones. There are some turnout kits out there, too, as well as frog and point castings. I've not tried any of those, though. The specs indicate that in most situations, they will save work, but not cost.
How to do it? First, make sure the subroadbed is as smooth, level across the track, and as sturdy as possible.
a) mark the centre lines of the tracks as accurately and precisely as possible. b) lay and glue your ballast former (cork roadbed, for example) if used, otherwise, mark another line to show where the ends of the ties will be. c) make a jig (about 12"-18" long) to lay your ties in, drop in the ties, and tape a piece of masking tape on top. d) lay a bead of glue along the centre line of the track, and spread it with a spatula. e) drop the tie strip (held together by the masking tape) onto the glue. f) adjust the ties so they align closely but not perfectly with the tie end line. g) using a straightedge to hold down the ties, lift off the masking tape. Tamp down the ties with the same straightedge. h) repeat until you have enough ties down to suit your whim of the day. i) when the the glue has set (allow at least half a day), stain the ties, if they're not stained already. j) lightly sand the ties until the original wood shows through on all of them. This will ensure they are all the same height. Restain the ties. k) mark the position of the rails so the track will be centred on the ties. I use a short piece of track, and a pin to prick the every fourth or fifth tie. l) curving a piece of rail with light finger pressure as needed, and lay it down so that it covers the pin holes marking its position. m) spike it down: first every ten ties or so to fix its general location. Don't drive home the spikes at first: sight along the rail, and adjust the spikes by pushing them one way or the other to get any wiggles out of the rail, then drive the spikes home. n) fill in spikes about halfway between the ones you just installed, and the halfway between again, sighting and adjusting as you go. Spikes every 2 to 5 ties is enough to hold the track. o) using two or more 3-point track gauges, lay the second rail to gauge, and spike it down as above. On a curve, the two prongs of the gauge must be on the outside of the curve. p) solder the rail joints. Gaps left for electrical reasons should be filled with epoxy (which you file to shape after it sets.) q) you probably don't need expansion joints, but if it makes you feel better, then every other rail joint should be left unsoldered, with a 1/32" gap (max) between the rail ends. r) add track feeders as needed on the outside of the rails. s) paint the rail. Add ballast. t) Weather the track - a whole 'nother topic.
Building turnouts: another time, or else e-mail me for photocopies of a couple of excellent articles on how to do this.
HTH&HF
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Obviously you don't live in Canada. A 36" length costs well over Can$8.00.
A decent switch will cost you something around Can$30.00 to Can$40.00 EACH.
Besides, don't hand lay code 100 if you model HO scale.
First, code 100 just looks like, well, code 100 and you can always tell it's code 100, no matter how well it's painted.
Code 100 in HO scale is just a bit too difficult to work with as it's well out of scale.
And no, you can't justify it by saying that either the Pennsy or NYC used it on their main lines. The used so little of it as to make it insignificant and is used just as a poor excuse to use code 100.
Code 100 looks toy like, period.
-- Cheers
Roger T.
Home of the Great Eastern Railway http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra /
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Roger T. wrote:

I do live in Canada, and I sell the stuff, too. Price depends on brand, obviously. Following are prices on what I have in stock.
Atlas Code 100: $4.00 each. Atlas Code 83: $4.50 each. Plus postage. Want some?
Micro-Engineering code code 83 concrete tie $7. Plus postage. (Old stock: newer stock would be around $8, which IMO is a good price for such excellent track.)
Peco code 75 wood "sleepers" $7 each. Plus postage. (This is old stock. I don't have a price for newer stuff, but Peco generally is overpriced.)

Atlas Code 100 Customline Mk3 #6 $15. Plus postage. Atlas Code 83 #6 $16. Plus postage.
I can supply M-E turnouts at about 10% above US list (ie, about $20Can each); Walthers the same (Ie about $17Can each and up).
[snip rant against code 100]
Sure, code 100 doesn't look that good, but that's what OP wanted to know about.
Just for fun, I calculated the cost of 3ft of code 83 track using Micro Engineering rail, ties, and spikes, and Walthers 2005 catalog prices.
M-E's weathered, wood tie flex track lists at $32.90 for 6 pieces, or $5.48 for 3ft.
For hand built, I'm assuming 126 ties per 3ft length, and spikes in every fourth tie. Cost works out to:
Rail: 2 at $1.81 ea --> $3.62 Ties: 126 at $0.0135 ea --> $1.66 Spikes 126 at $0.0113 ea --> $1.42 Total: $6.70 for 3ft of track.
The ready made is cheaper.
H'm.....
HTH&HF
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"Wolf Kirchmeir"
Wolf, you obviously don't frequent my LHS. Come to think about it, neither do I these days.
-- Cheers
Roger T.
Home of the Great Eastern Railway http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra /
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Roger T. wrote:

Roger, I _am_ the LHS. :-)
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Not out here you're not. That's where I quoted my prices from.
*Decent*, code 70 or 80 switches, not Atlas nor anyone else's code 100, are between Can$35 and Can$40 each.
And people wonder why I hand lay my own track? If you want a bigger than 4 x 8, that permits proper operation, car forwarding, hidden staging etc., etc., then on my budget I need to hand lay. I have something like 54 switches on my 12 x 16 footer. Conservatively, that's $35 x 54 Can$1890.00 in switches, if I were to purchase them.
-- Cheers
Roger T.
Home of the Great Eastern Railway http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra /
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Thank you Wolf; a very clear and well organized instruction!
--
73 de KT0T
Bob Schwartz
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I stain ties first and then put them in the tie spacing jig and put the masking tape over them. Then lay them down in the glue, making sure that they line to the mark on the roadbed (I use the spline method with 100% splines) and flow well as they are the guide to laying the rails and then come back the next day and just pull the tape up, no straightedge needed. Sand the tops of the ties and restain. The next step is to ballast (do this before laying rail as you get a nicere looking ballast), making sure that the ballast doesn't go above the tie tops (prototype track has the ballast top below the top of the ties!). Then comes the raillaying which is done by laying the rails on the ties, centering them and the long job of spiking them in place. I spike every 20 ties or so for the first pass, insure that the rails are nice and flowing, and then go back and spike every other tie when things are right. Do use easements on your curve starts and you will find that the track looks wonderful. Turnouts are basically the same but leave a little larger space for the throwbar between the two long ties so the throwbar will fit in there. Cut gaps in the rails only where necessary and don't worry about a seperate piece of rail for turnouts as you can cut the clearance for the points at any place along the rail. Just don't have a joint near the points and things will look better. Handlaying track is a real pleasurable timewaster but isn't that what the hobby basically is? I'll also note that you can conrtol the track gauge by handlaying the track and thus get trackwork that is more resistant to derailments. Wide track gauge is one of the banes of buying track already assembled and using the correct gauge will make things run a lot better. In addition, turnouts will look much better than the readymade ones with smaller frogs and guardrails.
-- Why do penguins walk so far to get to their nesting grounds?
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Thanks for an excellent write-up Bob. I have been seriously thinking about using splines for a planned extension; this connvinces me even though I probably will use flex-track.
--
73 de KT0T
Bob Schwartz
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I find handlaying track to be a very relaxing job that allows me to contemplate the things that have been going on in my high tension job.
-- Why do penguins walk so far to get to their nesting grounds?
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Bob May wrote:

I also stain the ties first, but I lay them individually. The slight variances in angle, position, and spacing seem to me to make things look more realistic. Of course, a jig with loose tolerances would probably do the same.
I also use spline roadbed and ballast before laying the rail.
I prepaint the rail for a rusty appearance and attach it with Barge/MEK, using spikes only at rail ends and stress points.
Of course, so far I've only done about 20 feet that way, so others have a lot more experience than I do.
-- It's turtles, all the way down
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The quality of the tie alignment depends upon the trackage type. I've done track from round ties (twigs for some logging track) and made a jig to carry a Dremel across the tie tops to cut the notches for the rails. That was some interesting trackwork! -- Why do penguins walk so far to get to their nesting grounds?
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I have always wondered how difficult it was to lay your own switch. -JoC

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I fond that it takes me about 3 hours of work from some rail laying about and the ties laid to a finished turnout (sans wiring for the switch motor) able to run a train over. I've actually done it in less time than that on occasion You do want to have a NMRA or equivalant gauge to assist in insuring that the gauge is set correctly - the 3 point gauges will work for most of the less important parts of the turnout but the frog does need to be set accurately and the NMRA gauge is the only gauge I really have used in HO. When I have a number of turnouts to make, I usually make up the frogs and points ahead of the benchwork stuff so I don't have to keep going back and forth from the bench and the track area. I use the filled and cut flangeways on the frogs and the point of the frog is one of the rails with the other rail stopping back of that point. This makes for a more solid point in the frog and is easier to cut as you don't file as much material away. There are a few articles on the web that deal iwth making turnouts but, unfortunately, none of them is really that complete but by reading all of them, you will get a good idea of how to do a turnout..
-- Why do penguins walk so far to get to their nesting grounds?
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Bob May wrote:

If you are going to go to the effort to build your own turnouts, it's best to avoid the NMRA track gauge for the crossing V area (frog) and use a finer standard as found on my web page below. Also on my web page you can find a spread sheet which will calculate crossing V dimensions, and give required dimensions for any standard or scale. The XL spread sheet allows you to compare standards, the result is the NMRA standard is coarser than necessary yet requires similar accuracy to get things correct. You can get fine scale track gauges from Railway Engineering at http://www.railwayeng.com /
Terry Flynn
http://angelfire.com/clone/rail/index.html
HO wagon weight and locomotive tractive effort estimates
DC control circuit diagrams
HO scale track and wheel standards
Any scale track standard and wheel spread sheet
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On 22 Jun 2006 19:58:38 -0700, I said, "Pick a card, any card" and

Hey! Who you callin' a . . .
Oh. Sorry. Never mind. That's the big trains. Right?
Thanks for the link to the model railroad electronics link. I see another lost weekend coming up. Sigh. -- Ray
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On Fri, 23 Jun 2006 15:56:33 +0800, I said, "Pick a card, any card"

Electronics RING. Not link. Ok. It's a link, too, but it's also a ring. I meant the ring. Back in a few days. I'm busy reading. -- Ray
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Fine scale is nice but the quality stqandards are higher than just laying NMRA spec track by a long shot. Some people don't want to change all of their wheelsets to go to that standard. Better is to just do the track gauge correct for HO scale rather than the wide crud that the commercial stuff is done to. First let the guy get his feet wet doing something without having to present him with the many finer scale alternatives to the regular "crude" HO standard rolling stock.
-- Why do penguins walk so far to get to their nesting grounds?
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