Question for Gargraves Track Users

I'd like to get some Gragraves Phantom track with wooden ties to play around with since I have heard such good things about it. By "play around",
I mean setting it up ad-hoc on the carpeting since I'm not prepared for a permanent layout let.
So I'll start with just a big oval with a siding to park: 72" curves, 37" straights, with a switch off the end of one curve to the siding ending at a bumper. (In the future I'd like to put an elevated figure 8 within this.)
But I'm confused about hooking up the Gragraves terminal section. It's 6.5" long. The shortest piece of straight track is 6.2". It sounds like I'll be .3" off somewhere
What do you do, besides cutting a section of straight track to fit? Add an uncoupler or operation section that are also 6.5" to the opposite side?
I've also heard that it is best to ground both outer rails. I have a Lionel CW-80 transformer with the FasTrack terminal section that has a plug-in. Is there an adaptor to plug into to split the ground wire for the purpose of grounding both outer rails? Or should I just dump the Lionel wire harness and get one red, and two black wires with the copper "U" connectors on both ends? I'll probably get a Lionel ZW transformer sooner than later anyway, so I don't suppose some extra wire will break the bank...
I'm not an electrician (other then my skills at plugging things in...). I was under the impression that you need a full circuit of track to have it powered. So how does a siding along side of an oval function? It's just a straight track ending at a bumper. So where is the full circuit?
I know, I need to a book... I have a bunch in my wish list at Amazon, but I don't know which one to start with. Any suggestions? Here are two that I have picked out (the rest deal with track plans.)
Getting Started With Lionel Trains: Your Introduction to Model Railroading Fun - by Allan W. Miller
The Big Book of Lionel: The Complete Guide to Owning and Running America's Favorite Toy Trains - by Robert Schleicher
I've passed on The Lionel FasTrack Book, by Robert Schleicher, because FasTrack seems a little loud (according to my wife who hears it in her sleep), which is why I am looking at Gargraves track.
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Gargraves is the name or is that a spelling error?
Spender wrote:

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On Jan 8, 7:54 pm, snipped-for-privacy@aim.com wrote:

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Gargraves is the name. As I recall, it was originally Gar-Graves. The name was derived from the names of the founders, I believe. Gargraves track has been around for about 50 years.
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 Books, Toys, and Trains: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore Resources--Links to 1,200 sites: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-favorite-links
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Bill wrote:

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67 years.
Rob
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Bill wrote:

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Gardner & Graves. Neighbors on Dewey Avenue in Rochester.
Gardner, & subsequently his widow, ran a Lionel / Rivarossi train shop in the basement of their home, it's still in business in a storefront at the GarGraves factory compound in upstate NY. The whole operation is now owned by a fellow who worked for Gardner & Graves as a neighborhood youngster, he bought the track business first, & the shop, "Gardner, The Train Doctor" some years later.
Rob
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On 8 Jan 2007 16:54:59 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@aim.com wrote:

Spelling error.
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Spender wrote:

No it's not. Just a little capitalization issue.
http://www.gargraves.com /
Rob
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wrote:

Spelling and capitalization. I wrote "Gragraves" instead of "GarGraves"
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The small difference in the length of the Gargraves sections shouldn't be a problem but I'd add a second terminal section to assist in the current flow so your train doesn't lose power. I always used two terminals on my Lionel layouts. I like Gargraves track. I'm sure you'll be pleased with it.
Can't have too many books! The two you picked are good ones to help you get started. They will surely guide you as your railroad progresses! Here are a couple more:
"Wiring Your Toy Train Layout" by Peter Riddell:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
"Build a Better Toy Train layout":
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
These books are up to 31% off list and usually include free shipping and handling on orders over $25.
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 Books, Toys, and Trains: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore Resources--Links to 1,200 sites: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-favorite-links
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Some people will agree - others not. Keeping one outer rail 'free' makes it easier to use for track triggered devices, if you are likely to use them. You do not need to ground both rails - just remember which outer rail is grounded :-)

The full circuit is the electricity going from the centre rail through the loco and back via the outer rail - you do not need a circle/oval of track to complete a circuit.

Both are good books - I would echo Bill's suggestion of the Peter Riddle book.
--
Graeme, Scotland

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wrote:

Track triggered devices such as uncouplers or operating cars? Yes, I did have those in mind for the future. I thought those were powered by the accessory terminals.
Lucky for me I have ordered the How to Wire your Layout book. I'm not Gomez Addams, so I don't want my trains bursting into flames.

I didn't realize this. It's the same for AC powered HO track apparently since I just pulled apart two sections under the Christmas tree and the Bachmann 4-8-4 War Baby still works.
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