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Peco SL-14 Track Pins

18207 Views 23 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  double00

I'm having problems getting these pins through the sleepers on Streamline (code 100) track.
The instuctions supplied with the pins advises to grip the pins with a pair of fine pliers near the point, and push through the sleeper, no need to drill a hole. This seems impossible. I've also tried tapping the pin with a small hammer, but the pin always bends.

Has anyone had similar experiences with SL-14 pins, or am I missing something? Any help would be much appreciated.
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QUOTE (Gwent rail @ 24 Jan 2007, 09:42) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks for the reply Graham, you clarify a number of points with which I would not argue.

As with most things, a little knowledge is often dangerous. I too have seen other layouts where the use of Sundeala has caused a problem. I would say that these have been caused by ignoring one of three guidelines that are necessary to use the material with success.
1) If your layout is subject to frequent atmospheric changes, don't use it, the changes in humidity will cause it to distort.
2) Follow the instructions included with every pack of "Sundeala Hobbyboard" (as supplied by model railway outlets) and condition the surface before use.
3) Prime the surface of the board with a non-waterbased sealer or paint before using plaster or wallpaper paste on it.

In my case, my layout is a permanent one, in a spare bedroom, where the conditions do not vary significantly. I am also careful to prime any scenic areas, rather than building on top of the untreated board, thereby avoiding any possible absorption of water.
If my layout were intended for exhibition, or even to be housed in an outbuilding that is not kept at constant temperature, I would totally agree with your preferred option i.e. 12mm Ply.

As for the magazine mentioned, I does amaze me that they advocate the use of Sundeala without giving proper guidelines on it's use and even claim to use it themselves, without clearly giving preparation details.
If you and I are talking about the same people, they even sell a booklet on building baseboards without mentioning how to properly condition the surface.

Thanks for giving a clear reasoning behind your dislike of Sundeala, I hope that reading our posts will be of help to someone thinking of trying it for the first time.

Thanks Jeff,

I pretty much agree with you on all points.
I personally tend to take a 'belt and braces' approach and choose materials known NOT to have problems - I consider my layout an 'investment' which is going to be with me for at least 10 years and I don't want to knowingly introduce problems, afterall, I don't know where my layout could be moved to or stored at some point in the future.
In fact, 5 years ago, my layout was stored in my parent's garage for about a year, here in Sydney. The temperature ranged from around zero overnight to 45 degrees plus during the day. The layout suffered no damage at all bar a little bit of rail expansion in two places.
In the long run, the use of appropriate materials and measures saves money. Doing it wrong and then having to fix it costs more.

I agree with the sealing approach - in fact I do that on all my cork track bed. In practice, it doesn't need to be done because I've never had cork have a problem, but I do it anyway.

If you seal Sundeala, what happens when you put pins into it ? Doesn't that break the seal ? One club layout I was involved with did this and ended up with a little bit of localised warping when ballast/PVA was added.

The 'magazine' is the one you are thinking of and layouts of said magazine do exhibit level surface problems - I've seen them.

Graham Plowman
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On getting pins through plastic sleepers: of all the methods I have tried, I am happiest using a hot pin of suitable size pressed through the sleeper to pre-form a hole for the actual track pin. You can, of course, heat the actual track pin as an option.

It's almost instant and very easy.
But you do need a handy, fast heat source to heat the pin with.
'Night lights', ordinary candles or a gas lighter are readily available. If a naked flame in the track room feels uncomfortable, another option is to pre-hole the sleepers, in bulk, in your kitchen. If you have aspirations to energy conservation, reserve this activity for when you are boiling the spuds or whatever.
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On a previous layout, I used Peco SL14 into Peco flex track & into Canite which is a type of Sundalea board & only pre-drilled the sleepers on points. Had no problems pushing the pins into flex track sleepers.
The Canite/Sundalea of 12mm sat on MDF of 12mm to give it a good base to stop it sagging. After pinning every 6 inches or so ( closer together in tunnels), I then painted the whole lot with a dark brown acrylic like Mission Brown. Ballasting with diluted PVA was done in 12" lots, left to dry, then came back in about one week to fill in the gaps.
Never had any problems with warping. Any joins in the canite/sundalea had masking tape over them to stop ballst falling into the gap.

Current layout is track straight onto 12MM MDF - no cork - & in this case, I use a Dremel type drill to pre-drill into MDF by about 5 mm & tap the pin with. Again no problems.
To see a couple of pix of one of my stations see

I use Peco set track, certainly the pre-drilled pin holes are much narrower than Hornby rail, making Hornby track pins liable to split the sleepers having Peco's pre-drilled holes. Peco's track pins being considerably thinner, are most liable to bend, as pre-drilled holes are a tight fit and also depending on type of material used for the base.
Personally, I secure down track and points with "blue or white tack -preferred", utilising space between sleepers at intervals of "six sleepers". Track layout has been down over two years now without showing any movement of setrack. Removal of track is easy with no damage to track and points that are easily cleaned by removal of the "white tack" leaving track in a new re-usable state. Re-usable is achieved by the fact that ballasting not practiced.
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