Noisy track

Now that I am retired I am finally getting around to building a model railroad that I always wanted to do but could never find the time. I am
doing an N gauge layout because I don't have much space. I have run into a couple of problems.
I put down cork roadbed on a plywood table. I then nailed down the track. I expected with the roadbed that the train would run quieter, but it is noiser.I thought it was because I had the track nails in too far and the track should be "floating". I tried putting down some track and not driving the nails in so tight, but it is still noisey.
I am using Atlas code 80 snaptrack. I am having a problem with my trains going over the switches. At times they seem to hesitate or derail going over the switches. I tried manually running a car over the switches, but I don't see the problem.
I am open to any ideas on how to fix these problems.
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For turnout problem the cure is to use Peco turnouts. For the noise problem you could try putting some cross bracing under the table.
Karl P Anderson wrote:

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There's a cure that's worse than the disease. Peco have _major_ issues with low-profile wheels. I wouldn't use them on a bet. They're far more trouble than they're worth, and if you really want the "locking" feature you can duplicate it on Atlas turnouts for less than a penny a piece.
Without more information about the problem it's difficult to tell exactly what's going on. It might possibly be a mis-alignment of points, either vertically or horizontally. I've had some success bending the tips of the points _very_ slightly out for some problems, and filing a bit off the top of the points in others.
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Karl Anderson wrote: Now that I am retired I am finally getting around to building a model railroad that I always wanted to do but could never find the time. I am doing an N gauge layout because I don't have much space. I have run into a couple of problems. I put down cork roadbed on a plywood table. I then nailed down the track. I expected with the roadbed that the train would run quieter, but it is noiser.I thought it was because I had the track nails in too far and the track should be "floating". I tried putting down some track and not driving the nails in so tight, but it is still noisey. I am using Atlas code 80 snaptrack. I am having a problem with my trains going over the switches. At times they seem to hesitate or derail going over the switches. I tried manually running a car over the switches, but I don't see the problem. I am open to any ideas on how to fix these problems. ------------------------------------------------------------ Best to avoid using nails and glue the roadbed and track. I use Elmer's Glue-All. If the switches are near a curve or close to another switch, they can create a problem. You need to "fiddle" with them to get them working well. Check the points. You might need to file them a bit. It can take a bit of time to get smooth-running track.
Good luck with your railroad!
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire http://www.billsrailroad.net
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Bill posted on this subject:

Since I'll be crossing this problem with my first layout soon I might as well learn what I can now. Some past posts have mentioned gluing the track down and many are saying the same in this thread. But does it really work that good? It seems like it might come loose eventually or the glue ooze out around the ties. And flextrack has a bit of tension on tight curves; would that eventually pull the track or cork away from the glue?
And Bill, you're most welcome for the compliments on your layout. A feather duster keeps it clean? Amazing. :)
~Brad H.
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in article snipped-for-privacy@storefull-3312.bay.webtv.net, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net at snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net wrote on 3/18/06 6:36 PM:

When using flextrack, I glue it down (with Woodland Scenics Foam Tack Glue to their foam roadbed; Elmer's would probably work as well or better with cork roadbed), and pin the track in place with track nails through those little holes in the center of the ties. Drill them out first since punching the track nail through will distort the ties and force the rail out of gauge.
Then when I ballast, I use WS matte medium and Arizona Rock ballast (made with actual rock, not the walnet shells which WS uses, though that works, too, but floats more. After all is dry, I remove the track nails. The combination of glue under the ties and the ballast glue (that's what matte medium is) afixes the track extremely will. To get it apart, you either use a scaper (and destroy everything), or wet it thoroughly to soften the glue.
--
Ed Oates
http://homepage.mac.com/edoates
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Ed posted:

Thanks Ed! I can see how this can work now. I was visualizing the track glued down without ballast, but with that between the ties I can imagine everything would hold together quite well. And I like the temporary pinning idea too.
Don't know if I had even thought of putting ballast down since the initial layout will be very simple and basic but I know eventually as detail is added, the cork or foam will need to be covered to look better. -Which leads to another question:
I'm looking at a piece of flextrack I bought to test curves. It's HO but I'll get the standard On30 track when the time comes which has a bit more spacing between ties. Still; how does everyone go about setting the glue down between all those ties without getting it all over the tops and making a mess. I mean I can imagine using a special tip on a glue bottle or a fine brush doing a neat job but it sounds like hours of tedious work (which I'm up for but just wondered if there are other methods). Then sprinkle the ballast on and vacuum excess off later when dry?
Brad H.
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Brad H. wrote: I'm looking at a piece of flextrack I bought to test curves. It's HO but I'll get the standard On30 track when the time comes which has a bit more spacing between ties. Still; how does everyone go about setting the glue down between all those ties without getting it all over the tops and making a mess. I mean I can imagine using a special tip on a glue bottle or a fine brush doing a neat job but it sounds like hours of tedious work (which I'm up for but just wondered if there are other methods). Then sprinkle the ballast on and vacuum excess off later when
dry? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- These sites should offer some answers:
Bill Carl's Scenery page (includes ballasting):
http://www.fcsme.org/bcarl/basic_scenery.htm
Alexandre's Ballasting page:
http://www.mrrkb.com/frame/frame.php?page=/kb/articles/a0002.php
How I ballasted my layout:
http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-ballasting.html
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire http://www.billsrailroad.net
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Thanks Bill, Robert, J Barnstorf, Fred, and everyone who talked about ballasting and laying track. Lots of different methods to choose from!
It seems like one thing effects another so I'll still be pondering which way to go for awhile. It was interesting how J Barnstorf's track got louder after applying the ballast. Perhaps different types of glue and/or types of ballast transfer noise at different levels. Looking at the all the glues available at Michael's the other day I noticed there are varieties of white glue that stay flexible after drying (one of the Aleene's brand) which might transfer less sound that the normal kind that dries harder. This might also benefit a situation that Fred brought up concerning expansion at different temperature or humidity levels (something I have to think about because my layout, although in a plexiglass case, will be going outside on Halloween night and though it doesn't get super cold here it does get damp early on). Glue that can flex a little and avoid cracking is something to consider (but will need to be tested to see if it can be used in the same way as white or carpenter's glue -such as in being watered down).
Bill, I need to read through more of the articles on your site! Missed the ballasting section first time around. I like that method except for this particular layout I do want the ballast to be up between the ties a little ways since it's to look like an old unkept backwoods track. Might even have some weeds or or other undergrowth in spots. Sprinkling some extra ballast in probably won't be possible due to the fact it looks like the layout will have to be stored hung sideways on a wall. so everything has to be stuck down. Still, that is the easiest method I've seen and might be perfect for a future layout. And I think I'll get that book too. :)
One last thing that's been interesting in this thread is the mentioning use of foam board on a wood frame as a base rather than plywood. Plywood is heavy, and since I've got to hang this thing up at times, bypassing that much weight would be a plus. And if I go with foam landscape too, carved with a hot wire (as shown in Bill Carl's scenery page), most of the weight of a normal layout would be greatly reduced. But I do think I'd have to make an extra sturdy frame to keep things from warping. Any thoughts on that would be enjoyed.
I've checked our local Lowe's and they do have all sizes of insulation foam board but it's all white (rather than the blue or pink stuff mentioned in the article) and it does have a "skin" on it, which I don't know if that's normal or makes any difference when carving with a hot wire tool (or also if glue will/won't stick to the skin material). Any experience with those issues?
Thanks ahead of time. Still taking notes!
~Brad H.
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net wrote:

If you are going to get your layout damp or wet be very carefull about using white glue. It softens when wet. I use mattmedium to hold balast it is flexablewhen dry, thin when applied, and does not transmit much noise.
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Brad,
The white foam from Lowe's works fine. I've used quite a bit of it with no problems. You just have to peel the blue and silver films off first. The silver side takes a bit more work than the blue, but it will come off.
Len
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...stuff deleted

Remember that if you use foam of any type, even the Woodland Scenics white foam, it emits fumes when cut with a hot wire or knife. The WS foam is safer in this regard, but it is not zero toxicity. Even if you just file (rasp) it and make a bunch of dust, it is a good idea to wear a mask and eye protection; if you cut it with a hot wire, insure good ventilation as if you were spraying solvent based paints.
--
Ed Oates
http://homepage.mac.com/edoates
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net wrote:

Welcome to design engineering ;-)

Concerning expansion/contraction, the problem is the fact that wood changes size with humidity. Some woods change a lot. We saw the problem with changes of season. The main flexural component seems to be the cork or Vynlbed roadbed. This is also the main sound deadening component. The temperature range usually isn't enough to cause a significant change in the rail length. If your going to move the RR from inside to outside I still doubt that the temperature will be a major factor.
I imagine that foam has no humidity factor at all and probably only a small temperature coefficient of expansion. If the RR is small enough to carry outside I don't think you'll have any problems from expansion/contraction caused by humidity or temperature.
The yellow glue only gave way after water leaked in significant amounts from a bathroom above the layout. The wood under the track was very wet. (In this case the track was layed directly on plywood to simulate a siding.)
For more than you want to know about glue see <http://www.titebond.com/download/pdf/ww/GlueGuideTB.pdf <http://www.titebond.com/
I suspect that other glue vendors have similar use guides well worth looking onto.
--
Fred Lotte
snipped-for-privacy@nospam.stratos.net
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Another thank you to all who responded to the glue-foamboard-frame topic (Charles, Len, Ed Oates, Fred Lotte, J Barnstorf & Joe).
I'm thinking now the outdoor dampness probably won't be a problem as long as I make sure no direct moisture gets to the layout. Between the plexiglass cover and the electrical power supplies boxed in under the base (the village accessory items use a lot of mini AC adaptors that stay warm) plus the lights in the scene (it is a night theme after all), things should stay dry and even at a low room temperature.
Checked Home Depot for their foam supplies. Same white foam and less of a size selection. Test peeled a 1" section on a 4'x8' and it does come off pretty easy. Didn't notice if it was the compressed bead type though. Will check later as I would prefer the better quality stuff. For carving I'll probably end up using both hot wire and file methods. Will work on it outside with a fan to avoid fumes.
I like the lightweight wood-frame Joe posted and the way the foam is set down inside (I was wondering what to do with the edges and that solves that). The size I am currently aiming at is about 2 & a half feet by 6 but I have to do some more sketches and measuring. Even though with the On30 I can get a track in that small a space, I'm realizing now the property area gets eaten up quickly with just a handful of structures. After this first prototype I may have to plan the better layout in modular sections to get everything fit in I'm imagining. More design engineering problems. :)
Thanks again! ~Brad H.
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The foam insulation does not warp so I don't know if you'd need an especially beefy frame. I never noticed any expansion or contraction issues either. When I took down the layout I took it to the dumpster in 4'x2' sections including the 1x2 & 1x3 framing and it wasn't that heavy. Still not trival though. See if you can find a skinless source of foam as the skin is a pain to work with but will probably glue just fine. make sure to use glue that is foam safe. There's actually glue specifically for foam insulation. (don't know if you know this already). One trick when using glue to build scenery is not to take the glue right to the 'scenery' edge. If you are using a rasp to shape the foam and the glue goes right to the edge then the glue causes ridges where the foam meets and it looks odd. leave 0.5 - 1 " of unglued edge for 'carving'. I've used both white and blue foam and both work. Blue gives a better texture and has less of a tendancy to give a stippled texture when filed. But if I couldn't find blue I'd just as happily use white. I always use saws or files to shape the foam as melting it causes some stinky fumes. I like to use a hacksaw blade as I can bend the blade to get curves. Then a little sanding with coarse sandpaper and I'm ready to go. Have a vacuum handy :-) I used to use a plywood roadbed but I found if I wanted to relocate track it was much more difficult than just hacking through foam. I could do major surgery on the scenery even if my wife was asleep upstairs. have fun
Jb

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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net wrote:
<<snip>>

As a matter of fact, no.
In thicknesses of 1 inch or more, foam is strong enough that you can actually go _lighter_ with your framework. I've done foam module construction, and it works out to be much lighter. I have a 2x6 foot module that can be easily carried by one person - with one hand.
For wood framing, I would recommend an outside frame of 1x4, with a 1x2 recessed 1 inch below the top like a sideways "T". This lets you set the foam down inside the frame and protects the foam edge from damage. Attach the foam to the wood by running 1 1/2" deck screws through 1/4" fender washers into the foam and wood. I've not had good results gluing the foam to the wood with construction adhesive. For a sketch of frame construction, see here:
http://home.mindspring.com/~dayton_n-track/index.html
Select "Links" from the top menu, then "Tips and Tricks" from the top, and finally "Lightweight Foam Topped N-Track Modules" from the list.
If you _really_ want light weight, use steel studs for framing instead of wood. The foam can be put inside the framing so you once again protect the edges. Your tools are tinsnips and pop rivets, and construction is fast and easy. A finished frame with the foam inside is every bit as rigid as traditional wood construction, perhaps even better.
I don't have a write-up on the steel frame modules - yet. <<grin>>

Unless your Lowes is unusual, DON'T use the white foam. If it has beads in it like a cheap cooler, the stuff has VERY little structural strength and is next to useless, not to mention it makes an absolutely _incredible_ mess. You want _extruded_ foam board, it's _much_ stronger and easier to work with. I've never seen it in white, that's why you see all the recommendations for pink or blue foam.
The foam _may_ have a clear plastic vapor barrier on it - it's pretty easy to just peel it off. Do so before gluing or scenicking - paint and glue don't stick to it well, and if using multiple layers of foam it can give you a very pronounced line between foam pieces. (I just strip it off the entire sheet before cutting..._
I use a Surform rasp for carving the foam, and keep a shop vac handy. For smoothing and filling holes, lightweight spackling is ideal. Carve sedimentary rock strata right into the foam with a wire brush - no plaster necessary. Igneous rock can be done directly into the foam, too, but it's a bit more work.
Take a look at the Photo Album at the above web site for examples - The Bend Track SIG gallery has several photos of rockwork in foam.
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Joe Ellis spake thus:

*That* is kewl. Now if you only used real joints at the corners, like lap joints instead of corner brackets, you'd have yourself something really nice. (But that's just the woodworker in me talking.)
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Oh, if you wanted to get fancy, you could even dovetail the joints - but this is a fast, easy build that doesn't need anything beyond hand tools, and the hardware corners help keep it square. You could even do it in an apartment.
--
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Brad H. wrote: I'm looking at a piece of flextrack I bought to test curves. It's HO but I'll get the standard On30 track when the time comes which has a bit more spacing between ties. Still; how does everyone go about setting the glue down between all those ties without getting it all over the tops and making a mess. I mean I can imagine using a special tip on a glue bottle or a fine brush doing a neat job but it sounds like hours of tedious work (which I'm up for but just wondered if there are other methods). Then sprinkle the ballast on and vacuum excess off later when
dry? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Here's a good Model Railroader photo book by Jeff Wilson, "Basic Trackwork for Model Railroads" that you should find very helpful:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)17946177/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0600776-0612744?nP7846&s=books&v=glance/billsrailroaempi/
This is an inexpensive book and is 35% off list and includes free shipping on orders over $25.
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire http://www.billsrailroad.net
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Brad H. replied: Since I'll be crossing this problem with my first layout soon I might as well learn what I can now. Some past posts have mentioned gluing the track down and many are saying the same in this thread. But does it really work that good? It seems like it might come loose eventually or the glue ooze out around the ties. And flextrack has a bit of tension on tight curves; would that eventually pull the track or cork away from the glue? And Bill, you're most welcome for the compliments on your layout. A feather duster keeps it clean? Amazing. :) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Elmer's Glue All ("white" glue) could release after several years, I suppose. Some use yellow carpenter's glue. I started out using Elmer's Glue All back in the "early days" of my layouts (1960-70s) and it became familiar to me and I still use it. I don't have much flex track on my layout. I deliberately used sectional track in case I wanted to change anything and I did. Removing a couple sections of track to place a turnout was a simple matter. The elmer's glue releases with some warm water and a putty knife. I also removed the track when I decided to reballast the track and paint the track and ties a few years ago. I did use an occasional nail where the curved track wouldn't cooperate. Snipped the end of the nail and seated it in the roadbed. BTW, I use AMI Instant Roadbed, but if I had it to do again, I believe I would go back to cork. The only thing about the instant roadbed that I'm not pleased with is the profile of the sloped sides. No matter what I tried, I can't get the nice looking slope that cork provides.
As for the feather duster, it is one of several cleaning tools I employ. The best is an electronic air cleaner. That helps keep the dusting time at a minimum.
Brad, I've been doing N scale since the early 1970s and one learns as one goes along. The techniques employed by one person might not be appropriate for another. I developed my own methods that are comfortable for me. Learning how is one of the many pleasures of model railroading.
Relax and enjoy your railroad.
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire http://www.billsrailroad.net
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