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Re the Blackwall Tunnels - I used to live near the south end before I moved a little north-westwards and out of London. I was told that the kinks in the old tunnel were to ensure the exit ramps were long enough to stop them being too steep for horse-drawn traffic, which was still predominant when this tunnel was built. The newer (1960s) tunnel has much smoother bends and is easier to drive through.

Anyway, back to laying straight track. I usually draw a line where I want one of the actual rails to go. I was fortunate to inherit a Moore and Wright steel straight edge from my late father. This is a weighty piece of steel 36 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick (made before metrication, you understand). Having roughly laid the track in place, I then use the straight edge to align the ends of the sleepers before pinning down the track, usually for about 2/3rds the length of the straight edge before I move the straight edge along a bit. Seems to work.

Regards,
John Webb
 
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