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Curved Track Rails Not Connecting

Online Model Train Club Member Warren submitted this question for blog readers on connecting curved track:

“Derailments are my worst nightmare so am concerned with two curved HO sections of track that don’t want to connect neatly. Would like views on how to improve the join on the two curved pieces please?”

Send in your question to the Blog Moderator to have it published on this Blog. The link is below.

Also, you can read the answers, or post an answer to Warren’s curved track question by using the COMMENTS link below.

18 Responses to Curved Track Rails Not Connecting

  • Stevesays:

    Hi, it could be one of two things, first it may be two sections of diffent set track curves ie second and third. The other thing it could be the arck of the curve is not correct and you may have to relay the whole section

  • Terry Bellsays:

    1. give up and replace the two sections of track and those that connect to them.
    2. check your radius.
    3. replace the connectors. They may be bent or twisted. or not connecting properly.

  • phil johnsonsays:

    Eyeball your track. Usually, the problem is a small kink where the sections meet. I use a radius tool to hold the track in a constant curve to prevent kinks. I believe Ribbon Rail makes them, called track alignment gauges (HO) in various radii.

  • Hugh Byrdsays:

    Fixing your problem is going to be a little expensive. My recommendation, use 3/4″ plywood as a foundation for your track, fasten each track with small wooden screws about 1/2″ long and where the tracks couple together solder a small piece of copper wire about 1/2″ long to the tracks so as not to interfere with the rolling of the truck wheels but will make a complete electrical circuit. This is what I call hard wiring. ( the track can’t shift and create many problems derailing etc.)

  • d.luxsays:

    Sounds like you may be talking about pre-formed curves rather than flex track.
    As mentioned by others, watch your curves. If you had to force any piece left or right to make it fit, you may create a “kink” and a gap at one rail to compound the problem.
    I’ve seen pieces with one rail sticking out more than the other. In this case pushing both rails together creates the “kink”. You may be able to leave a little gap or file the other rail shorter to improve the fit.
    If you have a track with the road bed molded on like easy track, the rails can be offset left or right. If it’s not too bad, you may be able to file a little from the edges to prevent wheel flanges from catching. You may have to replace one or both.

  • Bobsays:

    Get some flex track and stagger the joints. This prevents kinking..

  • Hans Nieuweboersays:

    Assuming you use flex track remove the two c curved sections and straighten them. Connect them with. railjoiners and solder these to the rails. Now if you bend the track to the desired curve there will be no kink whatsoever. In my opinion is the easiest way to avoid kinks.

  • Kevin Chingsays:

    If you are using set track you may have to replace the faulty track with a couple of new pieces Don’t try to fix any track that is not right you could be causing more problems. I never use set track I always use flex track and join and solder two lengths together before laying them in a curve.this will keep the curve even, some people use a transition curve like they do on actual track, this is getting a gentle curve off the straight track then going into the curve section.

    • Peter Pococksays:

      I agree with Kevin here, I’ve laid lots of curved flex track and the only time I had an issue was when I did not solder the joint.! Another aevantage with soldering curves is that for a given curve of any length, you only need one pair of dropper (feeder) wires. However, I would er on the side of caution for soldering joints on straight track. If you have a warm to hot climate (as we do here in Oz) and you don’t have a small 1mm gap at your joints you WILL get buckled track, not pretty! And a major pain in the butt!

  • Mikesays:

    If it is flex track you CANNOT make a joint within the radius of a curve.

  • Gerald R Hyinksays:

    It sounds like your track pieces are not the same radii. Either get a piece of flex track or make the pieces of fixed radii have the same radius. If your running modern equipment, keep your radius larger than 18″

  • Dante Fulignisays:

    If you have flex track, I agree with Hans. I did that successfully on my layout curves.

  • Brian H Ratcliffesays:

    Depending on the size of your track radius I would suggest that you mark out the radius on a large sheet of hard board or similar, even card board then place it on the base board tack it down then use a length of flex track to pin this around the template .Make sure that the ends of the flex track are equal.This is what i did on my lay out

  • Kevin Wilsonsays:

    Hi guys ! Everyone has an idea and in most cases appear to have worked , I use Peco Code 100 flexi-track . Am currently building a new layout but from my previous build , offset the joints of the rails by a minimum of 150mm or 6″ , provided a smooth transition. I had a couple of fairly tight 18″ radius’ turns and using the offset method , had no problems with kinking or derailment. Do you solder the joints ! ? This is my current delemia. Love the ideas.

  • johnsays:

    Solder the joints If you do this make sure you file it smooth on tor and inside rail
    worked for me

  • Sheldon Clarksays:

    Closely examine the joints between the rails, preferably from just above rail height, as if checking an arrow for straightness. Run your finger lightly over the joints. Is there any sign of differences in height at the joints? Is there a smooth transition in the curve (no kinks or corners). If you are using rail joiners, are both ends fitting into their respective joiner? Incidentally, I have used fixed or “sectional” track of more than one radius on the same route without problem as long as the appropriate lengths of flexible track were used to complete any circuits. And sometimes it is impossible to avoid joining 2 pieces of flexi track on a curve – just make sure the end sections are well aligned before AND AFTER you fix them down.

  • Frank Bsays:

    Please add a picture of the track sections you are having a problem with, then we can see what the problem is, and sort it out.

  • Kevin Aldridgesays:

    Sometimes it may be the straight sections either side of the curve that are not allowing the curves to join in perfect alignment. It may pay to check that the straight sections are not contributing to the problem.

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