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What’s The Best Track Laying Method?

Brizee is new to the hobby and asks:

“Being a newcomer, what is considered to be the best method of securing N scale Peco Streamline Code 80 flexible track?”

4 Responses to What’s The Best Track Laying Method?

  • mikesays:

    I haven’t used Pco Streamline, just Atlas. I have used alot of flex track and always used adhesive from the caulking gun tubes, couple of brands label them “projects” and they work great, usually dry white. They also allow for repositioning after the adhesive cures.

  • David Stokessays:

    Welcome to the world’s most absorbing hobby. What is the best track laying method? I could be clever and say “All of them”, but that would not be very helpful. What are the alternatives? Firstly acquire or build a good, stable base. For a flat area, 12.5mm MDF or quality plywood, both painted on all edges to seal them from damp and to stop warping. Or if it is available in your area, 50mm thick extruded insulation board (NOT beaded polystyrene). The track will only be as good as its foundation..

    Draw out your track plan – use square, compass and rule if you’re old fashioned like me, or one of the free track/layout planning programs (apps) off the web. Print it off full size and stick it to your base.

    Now comes track laying. Your mention Peco – a good product. The ways of getting it stuck down are myriad. Firstly the roadbed base – this can be commercial cork strip or sheet, mastic off the roll, polystyrene cut to shape, Glue this to the base board with appropriate adhesive (foam doesn’t like contact cements) being careful to align it with the plan. Then carefully, using adhesive only, glue the track to the roadbed. Weigh this down, making sure it stays where you want it.

    You will notice no track pins or nails go through to the base board to hold the track, this relies on the adhesive. Why? Layouts can get very noisy and the reason is that the track pins transmit the sound of the train through to the base board and turn it into a loudspeaker, intensifying the noise.

    As always, read the hobby literature before spending money, but note most authors will still recommend using track pins, the “no pins” lobby is in its infancy.

  • Colsays:

    Hi Brizee

    After a couple of false starts I’ve now dedicated a room to a N gauge layout (they weren’t big enough!). For me, the most effective method I’ve found is to draw up a layout to scale, then draw the proposed track onto the baseboard using cardboard templates for the curves and glue down cork strips about 2xtrack width over this. I used Selleys Armour Flex (Aust). Roll a jar over the cork to get it as flat as possible. Rolls of cork are pretty cheap from the craft shop. The track position can be redrawn over this as a guide to laying it.

    I use a 1mm bit in a Dremel for holes in the Peco track. Drive track pins in lightly to hold the track and get the bends right and make sure the straights are straight. Holding a 1 metre steel rule against the rail will can really help – also stand back and look along the track. Bending or knocking the pins left or right will help the fine tuning.

    When happy with that from all angles run some PVA glue down the centre of the track and when dry remove the pins. I’ve also found that the PVA from the craft shop doesn’t dry shiny like Aquadhere.

    And when you inevitably decide to make changes to the track you’ve just laid 🙂 it comes up fairly easily with a long bladed thin knife under it

    Have fun

  • Brizeesays:

    Many thanks to Mike, David Stokes and Col for their very helpful advice in response to my question posted August 31 2017; also my apologies for being so long in replying to them but circumstances beyond my control has precluded an earlier reply. Sorry chaps.
    However, I will heed their advice and use PVA adhesive in the first instance to fix the foam underlay and also the track; hopefully all will be well!

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