Flexible Track


I am just about to start on my first permanent layout (all my previous layouts have had to be portble), and am intending to use flexible track.

I was just wondering how easy flexi track is to lay and cut to the correct lenghts.



Reply to
Mark in Dundee
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In message , Mark in Dundee writes

If I can do it, you can do it.

Reply to
Jane Sullivan

Phil: Given appropriate tools - very easy. Whereas you might be thinking of using track pins (hopefully NOT small nails) into a softboard - you can also now consider the like of AMI instant roadbed - a mastic-like material on a roll, with self adhesive (to the baseboard) backing that will allow you to simply 'embed' the track by pressing it into the material, and 'susting' with ballast later when you are happy with it. It avoids the problems of liquid adhesive getting into points, or pins under tension (curves) easing over the years at board joints.

FIRST thing is to plan the layout carefully - playing around adjusting pieces BEFORE starting to to cut the virgin lengths - using any of your old settrack helps here.

When finally gettng to lay the track (possibly aided by tracksetta or similar templates, or nowadays full-size printouts from a computer cad-program) your choice depends on whether you like power tools or not.

it is important to be happy to recut if you find the alignment is getting slightly wrong - and not to 'make do': so an easy way of repeatedly making neat cuts is important.

Many years ago, when younger (how surprising) I used a junior hacksaw - and this involved marking the lengths, removing the rails to where you could cut safely, and then replacing them after cleaning up the ends. A process which was slow.

Nowadays (past 25 years) I use a 'slitting disc' on a mini drill - and these cut nickel silver rail very easily, and allow it to be a clean finish without 'effort'. HOWEVER - the can and do break! - so EYE PROTECTION is a must. (The minidrills are also a safe low voltage). Others may advocate the Zircon (?) cutter from the USA - but I have neer tried this. Don't forget you will also need to trim off the chairs from 2 sleepers either side of the join to allow for the fishplate. (Again the slitting disc makes this easy). If you get to the point where you are breaking discs - STOP and come back in a few days! Disc costs can be from

10p to 100p according to source - for what appears to be an identical product. (buy in 'bulk' - 10 at a time at least, and they might last for years - buy 1 or 2, and you'll run out on a saturday night.

(Use an ohp fine marker pen to mark the cutting positions)

Reply to


Seconded, very easy to be precise, very quick, little effort, very little cleaning up required (none!) and truth be told not much more expensive than the cuttors Phil mentions (if at all).

Seconded again.

Reply to
Chris Wilson

Only thing to worry about is joints on a curve. Best to solder those using metal railjoiners/fishplates first, then curve the flex track to suit.

Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir

Thanks for all the replies!

There was also one other thing - I'm wanting to lay the track on top of cork sheet to reduce the noise, but what width should I use for an 00 layout?

I was going to buy from here:

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am unsure which width to buy.

Thanks again,


Reply to

Phil: Instead of the cork sheet - rigid and inflexible (relatively) - look into that Mastic-like material I mentioned - AMI Instant track bed. Its a

9m roll for just under 17ukp from w.Hobby co in the uk - who distribute dolls house and similar materials to shops across the uk and so you might be able to order through one of those shops to save the postage charge (3.50 per order). It also makes future ballasting easier and cheaper - because only 1 layer of ballast is used, and not a few millimetres thickness!. Also it meas no liquid adjhesive flowing into points or into fishpplates - thus insulating them unintentionally) - but I mentioned some of this before 8-) It also deadens the sound - similar to the material used on car body panels etc.
Reply to

I have used some of their 1 1/4" cork roll which looks about right to me for OO. I bought the 1/16" thick stuff, which was adequate for my purposes. Charles Cantrill couldn't accept credit/debit cards when I asked, but I sent a cheque and received a large-but light-weight package in 3 or 4 days.

I intend to try out the Instant roadbed stuff though...It sounds like it will help smooth-out transitions between levels quite nicely.

Also, getting back to the track cutting, I have used a slitting disc, which produces a very clean cut, but it is often difficult to cut at exactly 90deg to the track due to the body of the tool. This results in a slanted cut which not ideal. Also, if you want to cut track in-situ, a cordless tool is desirable. The good news is that there is a good alternative. People on this group recently introduced me to the wonders of the Xuron Track Cutter. These are available at any good model shop and produce a cut almost as good as that from a slitting disc - highly recommended an inexpensive too.



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