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After months of preparatory work on baseboards, electrics, and laying old code 100 in storage sidings, I recently started track laying in earnest using peco code 75 on the scenic part of the layout. At one place I needed to make a semi-permanent rail joint, i.e. one which will normally be left joined but will be separated if I need to take apart the layout modules. I know that there are other, possibly better ways of doing it, but this is my way.

I wanted the joiner to be able to slide along the rail so that the board could be moved either forwards or vertically with no chance of the joiner catching. With a full length joiner this would have meant too many sleepers having no grip on the rail so I cut one in half to make two short connectors for this place. It worked perfectly and made a good physical join and a good electrical join, although I am not going to rely on that as I have droppers to a bus wire.

I soon found that most ordinary places where rail joined would need two cosmetic sleepers with a full length joiner and I didn't like that, so I put half length ones in again. I am now doing this all over the layout. I now think that the joiners are longer than they need to be as made. Maybe half length is a bit too short and nearer two thirds would be best. Does anyone agree?

Cheers, Robert?
 

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I suspect the length is intended to help counter 'doglegs' on joints on curves. For straight or near straight track a halved joiner is fine, and the packet goes twice as far.
 

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Perhaps by using half length joiners sounds good for all trackwork & that is something I will look into BUT cutting in half without squashing the joiners - how is that done?
Unsquashing joiners is never the same after I have found.
On my curves I solder joins anyway ( making sure the track is straight first before curving) and have the expansion gaps on the straight parts.
 

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QUOTE (Sol @ 13 Dec 2007, 01:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>.. BUT cutting in half without squashing the joiners - how is that done? ..
When track laying I always have the rotary tool with the cutting disc to hand, which cuts cleanly without crushing. A short off-cut of rail clamped horizontally in a small bench vice has the joiner half threaded on to hold it while cutting. I reckon a whole packet may be 'chopped' well within two minutes, with a good workflow layout.
 

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Thanks 34C for that tip - I will try it tomorrow early when it is cooler in the train room - currently 33C.
 

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using the rail offcut to cut a joiner in half is best.....but make sure the cut is from the underside of the joiner...if this method still results in a crimped joiner, slide it fully onto the offcut and cut through the rail as well?

[I am a luddite, so I use razor saws.....one cannot feel the pain quite so quickly so trackbuilding isn't interrupted quite so soon, for a plaster.]

[are there any pills one can take, to turn one's blood into a more appropriate track colour?]
 
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