Joining track in curve

HO guage:
In a very long curve, too long for one piece of track, what have you found to be the best way to join the ends of two pieces of flex track?
Gene
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Gene Williams wrote:

I bend the rail to shape, spike around the sleepers, use a metal fishplate and solder the rail ends in the fishplate. Once the ballast is solid with PVA glue I pull the spikes. It's really quite easy! =8>)
Regards, Greg.P.
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I have found that soldering two lengths of flex track together and then bending it to the curve works just fine.
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"video guy - www.locoworks.com" wrote:

The potential problem with that is that one of the rails has to slide past the sleeper fixings, (ok, I use sharpish curves) so unless your soldering is only on the rail ends you are going to mangle sleepers!
Regards, Greg.P.
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I have laid the track, using a piece of snap track on top of the joint as a guide. Then, using a pair of small toolmakers parallel jaw clamps across the rail ends to keep them aligned, solder the joiners to the rail. Then ballast and pull the track nails.
Greg Procter wrote:

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I guess it never occurred to Greg to simply cut off a few sleepers on each side of the joint, solder the rail, then trim the tie plates and spikes from the sleepers he removed and slip them back under the rail after he laid it...
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Joe Ellis wrote:

I was refering to the mangling by the soldered rail joiner moving across the sleepers as you curve the track. I'm sure you have it precisely worked out how many sleepers the rail ends will slide by as you curve the track from straight to 36" radius, 24" radius etc. I lay my track and then solder it, because I have loose/individual sleepers.
Regards, Greg.P.
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harrym wrote:

That sounds like you're relying on the plastic "spike heads" and the soldered rail joiners to keep the rail ends aligned - I like to curve the rail ends for 2-3-4 inches so that there is little or no outward tension on the rail ends.

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FWIW, I simply curve the flex track to its approximate final shape, cut off the extending rail and THEN solder the joint. When I put the track into its final position, the joint only moves a very small amount.
dlm

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Dan Merkel wrote:

That works. For that matter, you can solder the two pieces of flex track together, yielding a 6 foot length and still bend it around the curve. The rail slides thru the plastic ties and you wind up with the inner rail projecting out either end of the flex track. Then you trim it to size with Xuron rail nippers or a dremel with a cutoff wheel. I will install a couple of loose ties under the flex track joints just to make the ties look even. Sometime you can avoid a flex track join in the middle of a curve by starting your track lay right on the curve, centering the flex track piece in the middle of the curve. You do want to avoid a kink at track joins on curves. Careful sighting alone the track after laying it will tell you if the joints are straight or kinked.
David J. Starr
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video guy - www.locoworks.com wrote:

Agreed, join the two pieces when they are straight, then put the bend in. Some recommend staggering the joints, but this will do that automatically.
David
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Put the two pieces together so the two rails that slide are butted up against each other. Slide the joint of the sliding pieces about half way down the length of one of the pieces that doesn't slide. So the butt joints are spaced about half the length of the piece of flex, connect with rail joiners. Do this for as many pieces as you can or as many as you need. Cut off the overhanging piece and slide it into the other end. Lay down as a single piece and trim to fit. Nail down as needed, put an electrical drop to each piece of rail, ballast. Depending on the environmental control in your space you may want to leave some room for expansion of each piece of rail.
Paul
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I always remove about 4" of sleepers, put a gentle bend in each of the rails and slide the sleepers back on. The ends will hold their shape.
Nigel
-- Redline Race Controls http://www.wave.co.nz/~lakewood/Redline2.htm
Western Pacific Model Railways http://www.wave.co.nz/~lakewood/MyWP.htm

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In a long curve, I 've always just laid the track one section at a time and then cut off the ends of the inner rail and apply rail joiners when I was doing flextrack. At that time, I was using Railcraft Flextrack which is now ME and was relatively difficult to ben so each curved piece needed to be precurved to a degree before installation. Doing a logging railroad where there is no such thing as a straight pice of track for any length away from the terminal was fun!
-- Why isn't there an Ozone Hole at the NORTH Pole?
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Thanks for all the responses and hints! Here are some of the problems I have experienced with some of what I hear:
- Any time I have introduced joiners, I get a flat spot in the curve because the joiners, of course, are not curved???
-When I have removed the sleepers, I had a hard time maintaining uniform rail spacing/width???
Greg, would you describe the "fishplate" you use?
Video guy, just soldering the two ends and then bending - It doesn't break?
Thanks again, Gene
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Gene Williams wrote:

A "fishplate" is a rail joiner. (Language variation :-) On code 100 I use Atlas. On code 70 I use ME.
I gently curve the rail ends with a small pair of smooth faced pliers before joining It doesn't have to be perfect, just visually the same sort of curve as is required but avoiding kinks. The rail joiner, track pinning etc creates the final curved alignment.

It breaks for me!!!

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I use joiners, well soldered, and yes, there can be a flat spot in the curve but careful work with smooth jawed pliers can help make it minimal.
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Gene Williams wrote:

Slide on a rail joiner, solder, and then bend the track as needed. You may have to cut a couple of ties away on either side of the joint. Do that but cutting off the plastic spikes as well as the web ebtween the ties. then you can slide them back under the track when you've laid it.
Some people get all het up because the inner rail slides out, and may have to be cut to fit. Doesn't bother me, though, and shouldn't bother you. :-)
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On 8/7/05 8:55 PM, in article _VyJe.1514$ snipped-for-privacy@news20.bellglobal.com,

As Wolf says, but hold the track in place WHILE you solder. A couple of small track nails, removed afterwards, does the trick.
--
Brian Ehni



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