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Cutting Rails

Gavin asks:

“I was given some old track that I could cut to prototypical lengths for staging and trackside scenery. I don’t think rail nippers will do the job. Any thoughts?”

Please add your thoughts below to assist Gavin.

12 Responses to Cutting Rails

  • William "Sarge" Myrick says:

    I’ve used my Dremel with cutting disks for years. Even cutting rails to isolate sections on curves, after verifying my ballast was secure.

  • Desmond Granville Thomas says:

    The Dremel is good but if you have not got one, use a pair of pliers, set in the side near the centre joint is a cutter put the rail in so the top of the rail is near one cutting edge and the foot near the other cutting edge. Use a small file to clear jaged edges.

  • Richard N Albrecht says:

    Dremel is ok, but a razor saw is a precise alternative to rail nippers.

  • Paul says:

    I’ve always used these rail nippers by XURON on N and HO scale track with good results. I guess depending on what scale track your trying to cut will depend on what you need to use.

  • Scott Masterson says:

    Dremel tool with cut off disk. They do break so be careful and let it do the work. If you see it getting hot, take out and keep it running to cool off.

  • Jay Ross says:

    The rail “Nippers” can cause the rails to twist and break out of the ties. The Dremel cutoff tool works good, but it’s hard to cut the rail without doing it at an angle, you also need to have a protective shield for safety, cause at any time the cutoff wheel can break. I made my own cutoff device using a Lipo battery, to drive a motorized unit, geared in a way that allows the cutoff (vertical wheel) to cut directly down onto the rails, it has a built-in shield, and LED light. I can cut rails that have already been laid onto my layout. I downloaded a video of the device, I hope it can be viewed….

  • Del Boy says:

    I model OO gauge here in the UK and use DCC Concepts Heavy Track Cutters. I have found that when you cut through the rails it makes it almost impossible to push on the rail joiners without doing a huge amount t of filing away at the cut edge. I have found the best way to get a clean cut edge is to face the flat edge of the cutters in the direction of the track you want to keep. Cut through the top part of the rail only. This will push the lower part of the rail in a downward position. This has weakened the rail to the extent that you can simply push up and down a couple of times and the rail will break cleanly away. You can then push the rail joiner on much more easily.

  • Faizal Hathy says:

    I use a dremel. It came with 3 mm cutting disks and so as Jay Ross mentioned you had to cut at a slight angle if the rails are already fixed to your table. I was watching Charlie Bishop of Chadwick Railway on you tube some years back. Charlie suggested using a larger disk which he does so on his layout. I managed to buy diamond coated 5 mm disks and the problem of cutting at an angle was solved.

  • Alan says:

    I use Xuron Rail Nippers. Do not use these cutters for anything else but rail cutting.

  • Brian Schaff says:

    I also use a Dremel tool. Just make sure you use eye protection.

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