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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am building a fairly extensive layout in the attic, which has been lined and insulated to keep the temperature extremes at bay. I am just about to lay the fiddle yard track which is Peco 100 as it will be out of sight. For the scenic sections, I would like track which has a more scale appearance. I have considered SMP (but would probably get the points made for me - I don't have THAT much time!) or at the very least Peco 75 Finescale. My concern is that these track systems are less robust and may suffer distortion in the summer heat. Does anyone have any expereince or advice on this? Many thanks in advance - and congratulations on an excellent resource for modellers!

Graham
 

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Hi cooperkenilworth

Thank you for your comments. We aim to please!


How were you thinking of fixing the track and ballasting it?

If you are thinking of using a cork underlay and gluing the track to this and at the same time sprinkling ballast then the track will be solid. The advice is don't nail flexible track. This is not an issue with short set track which can be nailed.

There are a few flexible track laying tips on an American site http://www.wic.net/trainworx/tracklaying.html which I have included below and have made UK friendly for folk who are interested in track laying. The tips are pretty good and should ensure a flat even layout that will provide many years of service. The site also covers hand rail laying on individual sleepers
if anybody wants to delve more deeply :-

QUOTE Always lay track with the room at the same temperature that you plan to operate your railroad at. This is important because of the expansion and contraction that takes place in the rails with temperature changes. Lay rails or Flex Track out in the room with the room at temperature for 12 hours so that the rails will be at room temperature. If you bring the rail or track from the cold into a warm room and immediately lay it the expansion of the rail may cause the track to warp or pop loose. If you bring the rails in from the heat to a cooler room and lay it then the gaps at the rail joints may become larger than you intended, and if you soldered any joints they may break loose. Some modelers may wish to solder the rail joints. I don't recommend soldering all joints, instead solder every other one. If you don't expect the temperature to vary much in your layout room leave a .010" expansion gap at the unsoldered joints. For large variations in temperature leave a .015" to .020" expansion gap in the joints. You would hate to lay a perfectly straight straightaway and have it zigzag or pop loose on a hot day. To make an expansion joint place a strip of .010" strip brass or styrene between the rails where they but together then secure the track. Remove the strip once the track is set. Try not to place a track joint where the roadbed makes a sudden grade change, and try not to make track joints directly above roadbed joints. Staggering the roadbed and track joints helps alleviate kinks that may occur.

It is best to glue Flex Track to the roadbed rather than nailing it. After the sleepers have been drilled to accept the nails they become weak and can break. The track nail can put enough pressure on the sleeper to warp them and that will throw your rails out of gauge. Flex Track can be glued with white glue but it doesn't bond to the sleeper material very well. Once the track is ballasted it becomes more secure but can still be ripped off if snagged while cleaning. I once masked a short spur that was ballasted and the ends of the rails poked through the tape. When I removed the tape the end of the track where the rails poked through snagged and up came the end of the track. Once the track is secure the ballast can be glued with conventional methods. Remember to put weight on top of the rails while gluing to help eliminate waves in your track. To lay smooth corners cut out a round wooden jig with a jigsaw. If your jigsaw has an edge guide you can attach a length of wood or yard stick to it to make a compass. Measure your corner radius from the saw blade out on the yardstick and drill a small hole. Put a small nail through the hole in the yardstick and hammer it into a piece of plywood and cut out a circle. Form the flex track around the inside of the circle you just cut out and then glue it into place. If you bank your corners make sure to have a smooth and gentle transition from your flat to banked track. If you bank too quickly your wheels may loose contact with the rail and derail, especially long passenger cars.

All useful stuff.

Please keep us informed of progress as we all want learn from your experiances!


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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There is an excellent article at http://www.enginewood.co.uk/Construction.htm which covers the laying of finescale track and much more and a visit should provide enough information to enable you to build an exhibition standard layout.

A combination of the type of scenic work described in the link above combined with the new range of Hornby Skaledale buildings and accessories and anybody can create an amazing layout!

Remember that finescale flexible track does take a bit more time to position and the look that SMP track has may not be appropriate on a modern outline or mainline layout. When "Model Rail" magazine carried out their track test review a few years ago they did conclude that SMP Scaleway track had the best realism and that Hornby Flexible track offered the best value. C & L Finescale track was highly commended but I am not sure if it is still available.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Gary - I appreciate your responses with the invaluable info and links. I'm glad I asked the question before I started laying track! It may take some time, but I will report on progress!
 

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My attic layout is in a similar situation to yours. Construction began in Summer 2003 and is about 90% finished. I too insulated the roof, and then lined it also for appearance sake, and it does make a difference.

However, in relation to minmising effeects of the hot Summer temperatures, I would recommend using a non-evaporative air conditioner with built in de-humidifier. A what? - I here you say. You can get them as a standalone unit. In real terms, they will not make your attic cool, but it will lower the temperature by about 6 - 8 degrees.

In my attic for instance I used to get temperatures of around 34C, but since using an A/C unit, it rarely goes above 26C, and I've only once seen it at 28C. They are graded in BTU (British Thermal Units I think) For a large attic, (mine is 24ft by 24ft), you need one which is about 10000 BTU, but you can get ones now at 12000 BTU. They are quite effective.

They are available from most of the DIY chain stores.

Musts:-
1. Make sure it is non-evaporative
2. Try to get one which has a built-in de-humidifier.

Drawboacks:-
1. They cost about £200 or so - but it's a one-off cost
2. You'll need someone to help you get it into the attic!
3. The unit extracts the heat from the air in the attic, and outputs it thru a hose, so you need a window, or a vent to put the hose into.

Regards
 

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I will be starting my attic layout in the new year, I was interested in the advice for gapping the rail joints, the 0.020" gap should be enough for any temperature change in the UK, I reckon on around 25 deg C maximum difference in my attic. I don't think distortion will be an issue.

I am undecided which track to use, it will be Peco streamline either code 100 or 75. If 100 is used there is then another choice, Nickel silver, steel or brass. If code 75 is used nickel silver it has to be. I would prefer to use the code 75.

Brass would seem a good idea except it would not look right and also has almost double the coefficient of expansion of steel or nickel silver. Using standard 36" lengths of flexi track, a gap of 0.5 mm (0.020") when cold should be sufficient even for brass.

As for the effectiveness of current flow to the wheels I have no idea, brass should be the most suitable but would tarnish very quickly however it would be ideal for the soldering of track wires.

I would be grateful for any suggestions on pros and cons for different track materials in an attic layout.

Brian
 

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Thank you for the excellent articles on "track laying", from reading these articles, now realise as to why a perfect straight run of track can become slightly wavy in places - no gaps allowed between rail joins during laying track.
I personally use the Peco "Set Track -ST...." on my layout. To secure the various track pieces to the layout board area, I use "white tack" in preference to the recommended track pins. Small pieces of white tack are packed into the gaps between sleepers, at each end of the length of track and also the sleeper gaps where a pre drilled track pin hole has been made by Peco. Using this method of fixing down track, easy to uplift track when required and minimises the risks of damage to both track and plastic sleepers.
No doubt modellers will rubbish this practise, I find this method of fixing down track sufficient to my requirements and certainly looks neat and tidy.
 

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16 years ago I had a large 00 loft layout, the loft being boarded out and insulated, in the UK with Peco streamline code 100 laid on cork and ballast stuck down with the usual PVA mix. I can't remember what the summer or winter temperatures were then but I never had any problems. Last summer here on the Costa Blanca, with outside air temperatures of 38C+ and railway room temperatures of 42C+ and using the same track and ballasting method I have had trouble free running. However I do leave a healthy gap between rail joints, apart from anything else I love the clickety click as the wheels go over them. The biggest problem I get is sweat running into my eyes and flooding my glasses then dropping onto the card I am working with. It's all that damned sunshine you know.
 

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Hi.
Have has a complete layout in my loft now for 4 years using Peco code 75 N/S track throughout. Track is pinned to cork covered chipboard and ballasted with granite chippings glued with cascamite. Expansion gaps left at all track joins and have suffered no problems with distorted track.
Cheers.
Pete
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for your responses everyone! Happy to report I have finally started to lay track. I'm using Peco 100 for the fiddle yard area at this stage, which I must admit I am pinning, due to a number of tricky curves across boards which have to lift out for access purposes. I'm hoping that based on Pete's experience, with appropriate expansion gaps, this will provide years of trouble-free service. I do plan to glue the Peco 75 or SMP track to be used in the scenic sections. Could be a while before I get that far!

Graham
 

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Hi Graham.
For tracks accross baseboard joins I use very small dia tubing soldered onto the outside of the rails, say about 10mm long.
Lay the track first, solder on the tube, and cut in situ with a "slitting disc" mounted in a hobby drill. Use the Peco track pins, with the head bent over at right angles to align the track and provide electrical continuity - a little spot of electrulube on the pins helps here.
You may consider also replacing the the two sleepers near the join with copper clad if you are going to be "breaking" the boards a lot.
We used this system on "Trawden Junction", which was on the exhibition circuit for about twelve years, with excellent results.
Cheers.
Pete
 
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