Scratch built tracks

“Here’s some photos I just took. I laid Atlas track 4 months ago with 50 peco switches. I am now removing all the atlas track and hand laying my own track along with hand made turnouts. They are much smoother and the trains run incredible..

Lou”


I think Lou’s layout is going to be very impressive when it’s finished. I wouldn’t have the patience to do the track like that. It does look fantastic though.

‘Ebay cheat sheet’ is here.

Best

Al


49 Responses to Scratch built tracks

  1. I hate to write a negative word but to me (living in the USA ) the track looks like Lionel track with the spacing of the brown ties. Maybe in the UK it is OK. From a disatance, the brown ties are all one really sees until you look closer. One does not really see the lighter ties at first. Thje scenery looks real good.

  2. Stunning scenery!

  3. whats going on big mannn!!! question can these new tracks can bachmann trains runn on theose tracks??? and how much do there cost for a set!!! Jonathan tj Johnson on facebook.com

  4. Excellent workmanship! With hand laid track, you have personal control over how your engines perform on those tracks. And you can make sure that there are no unwanted kinks in the track joins, which can cause headaches. Six axel diesels can’t always run on bad track.
    Don Wick
    West Bend, WI
    USA

  5. Louis has done a marvelous job there , I wish i had the patience to do my own track , nice layout too

  6. Lou,
    how about your secretes such as
    *what did you use as radii & turnout templates for you curves
    *rail fixings such as fish plates & expansion joints
    *sleeper details & sound dampening underlays
    *rail cross-sectional profiles, materials and supplied length,
    *DCC consideration if appropriate
    I look forward to happy snaps of your finished project
    The best of luck and lots of fun Dr Bruce

  7. FANTABULOSO !

  8. Nice….would be tough in N scale though.

  9. I have been doing hand laid track for awhile. The work is a bit tedious but the results are much better. I lay all the ties first then stain the ties. Afterward, I put down ballast. Only then do I lay the rail. I weather all the rail before spiking it down. I am still using commercial turnouts but I only select the best quality ones to use. The expense pays off in the end.

    Bob Virnig
    Florida
    USA

  10. What do you mean in the uk it is OK, we expect realistic track,we are not as backward as you think we are.
    Don’t forget railways stared here.

    David
    UK

  11. Lou,
    Fantastic layout!
    I’d never have the patience to make all those turnouts. Good luck with the rest of the track.
    –Ben

  12. nice work…looks fantastic

  13. Cool Work. My wife are doing a huge HO layout too. Approx 20 turnouts in a L shaped 18X 10 X 8 ft tabled area. You have done a great job whether ou use the Atlas tracks or hand laid. Please post more later.

  14. real nice track will be doing same on mine one day my own version of the g&d by JHON ALLEN the man building bigger version of the original small g&d so i can run larger engines nice job looks real good.

  15. IMPRESSIVE!!! MOST IMPRESSIVE!!!

    Lou,
    You truly are a dedicated and artful train modeler.
    Norm Boling……..USA

  16. I recently removed atlas track from my layout as I found the atlas points

    were live no matter which track the points were aligned for. My Bachmann locos used to derail on them. Atlas curves are too sharp for Bachmann branchline locos , same with large Hornby locos such as the Flying Scotsman.

  17. That is really nice and a great job too!! I used to do the same thing in S gage, lay my own track using brass rails and small spikes with the wooden ties, then I would make my own switches. I used to use the old cable which were used on pull chokes for the older cars with a spring return on the switch, it was tediouse work but they worked really well and never had a problem with them. I now use only gargraves track and that works much better but they just do not quite line up with the S gage electric switches but then again I also solved that problem.

  18. Well done how did you get those realistic cliff faces?

  19. @Don,
    Not wanting to start an “across the pond” war, but (Maybe in the UK it is OK) was a pretty ignorant comment!
    The lighter track is obviously a work in progress and unfinished. Image 15 & 16 shows the ties of a more uniform brown colour. Do you really think that someone who has put so much effort into making their own track and creating such fantastic rock formations and layout, would “accept” an unrealistic tie colour?
    Having previously lived and worked in the US for a while, I can assure you that things aren’t always bigger and better in the USA.

  20. Very impressive. I really like the rock cliffs and hope that you would share some tips on how you created them. God blessed you with patience that I don’t have. Larry, (BNSF conductor) USA

  21. Outstanding work !!! I really like the big sweeping turns. Can you show us an overview of the track plan?

  22. THAT TRACK YOUR BUILDING LOOKS GREAT. BETTER THAN I COULD DO.

  23. Well I’m glad it’s you and not me, as I had a go at making my own turnouts years back and they all ended in a screwed up ball in a scrap yard on my current layout. So my hats off to you Good Luck like to see progress photos as would others I reckon.

  24. I can see where hand laid track is better than commercial track, but I still like the results I get using commercial track. Fortunately, the only Atlas track I use is the Flex Track. It is easy to work with, and doesn’t take a lot of time to lay; especially on tangent track lines.
    Hand Laid is really good to use, if you have the time to lay it. Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of time. I have a business to run, and it is hard to take the time away from my business to build a layout. But then, since I also do modeling in 1:1 scale, I can still enjoy the thrill of watching trains.

  25. You’ve got to respect someone who puts that much effort into scratch track building. The rock faces & cliffs are about as authenic as you can get. Kudos

  26. Just plain WOW! Send more pics of finished layout.

  27. I don’t get the light colored rail ties??

    Ties are soaked in creosote that makes them dark brown chocolate or close to Black. Unless you have a great plan to color or dye them somehow.

    Scenery looks very good though. Nice Work!

  28. very impressive must be very patient theres alot of time gone into just the track work i am very interested on the retaining walls how you made them and the color scheme looks great thanks for sharing if you put a video on you tube please send the site details. Ian in Australia.

  29. Hey Lou – What a Rail Job!!
    I’ve always prided myself for patience in building my layout; and have even re-laid sections of track for better clearances and operation. But I’ve got to say that you have most modelers beat! To redo the entire track plan and lay custom tracks requires “the patience of a saint.” Beautiful job and kudos to what will no doubt be a fantastic appearing and smooth running layout.

  30. It appears to me that the handlaid track in using Fasttracks Pc board ties and jigs to build the track sections. that would be why the ties looked spaced like they are. you usually paint the ties after a system check to gain a completely relistic look…

  31. I WOULD THINK ANY ONE LOOKING AT THIS WOULD REALIZE THAT THE TIES WILL BE MADE DARKER WHEN FINISHED, NUFF SAID. I TOO AM FASCINATED ON THE ROCK FACE. I HAVE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF LAYING YOUR OWN TRACK UNTIL THIS POST. I CAN NOT EVEN IMAGINE HOW TIME CONSUMING IT IS, BUT HEY IF YOU WANT THE BEST, YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE TIME, AND YOU HAVE. YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A REMARKABLE LAY OUT, ANY ONE WOULD BE PROUD TO HAVE. HEY CAN I HIRE YOU TO BUILD ONE FOR ME? HAHAHAHAHA, NOT KIDDING. THANKS AGAIN. ROLAND

  32. hard to believe that you can build a switch from scratch better than a Peco and more important it operates with no derails

  33. Please post some video on how you did your rock formations, etc. great looking stuff!!!!!

  34. those tracks are superb i am so impressed jellous even what a great job if your in Aussieland come and do mine
    regards
    Albert

  35. I’d love to know more about the process. Where do the rails come from? I’m guessing you can buy pre-formed rails from somewhere? Where? What are they pinned down with? It looks as though the rail is pinned to every sixth sleeper, then the intermediate 5 are slipped in underneath, right? How do you form the curves?
    Fantastic job. I’d like to do that in N-guage.

  36. Keep us posted and informed. Keep those photos coming in.

  37. Wow! Are you using rock formations as facia??? If so, great idea. I may try it.

  38. Aloha,fantastic work

  39. I’m 72 years old and at the end (?) of an 8 year planning of a model of a rural junction in northern Illinois. I believe the most important instruction I have ever received was from my local model shop owner and friend: “Always remember, you are the President of your railroad. No one else has any say about it – It is only yours.” I embrace that idea, and I try my best to always approach the work of another with that understanding; it’s his (hers) and it is not my place to criticize. If there is something that I would do differently is of no importance to anyone.
    Lou, you have done beautiful work. More importantly, you are pleased with the result, and if the “President” is happy, everybody should to happy.

  40. if the president is happy then every body is happy
    there 3 ways to do things
    1.the right way
    2. the wrong way
    3. and my way { great job }
    Ben neb. usa

  41. Marvelous work, amazing detail. I’ve been debating laying rail over ties for a garden railroad, this is a convincing argument in favor of that. Being outdoors may introduce some expansion/contraction issues, but we’ll see. Thanks for the posting.

  42. It looks fantastic I love the track and the rock formations I like it more then any others I have seen you should be very proud of that layout

  43. beautiful job. Maybe u can give some tips on how u carved ur rock formations. Awesome work.

  44. Would love to see an overall track plan and also love to know if your rock faces are carved (man made) or if it is bark or cork. If man made could you do a “How To” ?
    Mike in Oz

  45. I’m fighting with whether to hand lay track on my layout or not. Saw comment earlier about the dark ties. Checked the pictures by zooming and seeing that the dark ties are printed circuit board ties to keep everything in gauge. Excellent. Once everything is painted and ballasted it will look great.

    Good job.

  46. Enough comments on the rails. I am extremely impressed with all of your rock work. It is the best I have seen. Would love some tips on how you did it.

  47. Beautiful work… Are the dark ties “PC Board”? That would explain their regular spacing and obvious color difference.
    I have a deep and abiding respect for anyone who can hand lay track in the smaller scales.
    As to Atlas Track, while I have not had any problems with their code 100 product, I find the code 83 to be more than a bit finicky. There are many tutorials available on how to improve the reliability of that commonly used product. In my experience, PECO offers a more continually reliable product and a more useful range of turnouts (switches/pointwork).
    As an added note… I have found Bachmann’s EZ-Track to be very reliable and useful when young children are about. While my son did in both PECO and Atlas track when he was about 4 or 5, my daughter crawled all over my EZ-Track when she was of that age and climbed like a home-sick angel: no damage to the Bachman track with either my son or my daughter’s not-so-gentle ministrations. What it lacks in authenticity and range, it more than makes up for in durability! This is especially true if it is fastened down to a solid baseboard.

  48. very nice work.

  49. Lou’s workmanship and attention to detail is a sight to behold. The double curves are simply stunning. However, and I by no means am being critical, but there is something I don’t understand. What is the purpose of the dark brown ties every six or so ties? The track work would look so much more realistic without the darker ties and with only the lighter ties or with all darker ties. Can you explain why it is hand laid in the design it is in?

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