Laying track help needed

Post Reply
Site Admin
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2021 9:20 pm

Laying track help needed

Post by admin »

Posting for Ronald:

I don't know where to start with laying my track.

Should I use nails or pins? Or glue??

Do I need to put anything under the track?

Should i run the trains before I fix everthing too?
Paul Lichau
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2021 2:27 pm

Re: Laying track help needed

Post by Paul Lichau »

I would suggest:
1. Have a “plan.” This should start with your concept of what you want to model. A specific “prototype” meaning a close representation of a specific location or geographic era, or simply what you would like to build (track, roads, mountains, rivers etc. )

2. Like the real railroads, the scenery comes first (sort of,) and you plan your track taking that into consideration.

3. Plan for any industries (sidings) and towns (streets etc.)

4. Then plan your track, turnouts and sidings etc.

5. I suggest using a track layout planning app like SCARM or many others. Most have a free version with a bigger & better paid version.

6. I suggest placing large sheets of paper on your table tops (like roll table covering) so you can draw (re-draw) out your plans.

7. Layout your track using map pins or similar to see if everything fits. You probably can’t run any trains on this as it is not very “tight.” You can also see what you need to purchase in the way way of turnouts, curved track and straight track. I suggest using flex track wherever you can.

8. Next you can use a “pin wheel” device to mark your design through the paper and onto the foam table top.

9. Then you can glue your roadbed to the foam. Use a construction glue with a thin coat. Work in smaller sections and weight the foam down to let it dry.

10 lay the track using the same glue. Fit it together well! If possible shoulder your feeders to the track and through the layout.

11. Run some locos and then with cars to check for any problems so you can make any adjustments. Hopefully none.

Unfortunately there is not a great way to lay track and run trains before gluing - as everything needs to be secure to run well. If there is I am sure someone else will chime in.

Good luck and enjoy.
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2021 2:10 am

Re: Laying track help needed

Post by scenicsRme »

Please Everyone: When you post a new topic or question start it off with a statement as to what scale you are working in. That way the answers and comments will be more specific and meaningful. In their eagerness to help, many naturally assume that you are working in the scale and methods they are, and offer their way of doing something. Doubly important here, as different track laying methods are used for different scales and for different support structures.
A general question like this without detail will generate 2 types of answers: 1. Just as general answers that fill up the topic with repetitious "me too" type information. 2. Detailed information based on the specific method the replier is using that may or may not have any direct relationship to the OP's layout. i.e. track laying of G scale track outdoors is done completely differently than HO scale laid on a flat or cookie cutter style 4' x 8' plywood topped tabletop, or N scale laid on built up solid EPS foam mountains. Yes, there are some shared similarities, but also enough differences to be confusing at best or potentially disastrous if used in the wrong context.
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2021 7:39 pm

Re: Laying track help needed

Post by DonRenner »

I appreciate the info posted on laying track. I have one other concern. That has to do with grades. How can I test a grade before clueing everything down? What is a good rule of thumb for a grade. I understand that the longer the train the less of a grade is necessary. But what about a train with say 10 cars? Would a 5 inch incline in 50 inches be too steep? That would be about 1 inche in 10 inches which seems to be okay to my way of thinking but I would like to be sure before I commit myself to a final product.
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:28 am

Re: Laying track help needed

Post by bsuarez »

Typical grades run in the 1.5 to 3% range with 4% being "steep".

So rising 5" over a 50" span would be 3.75% which would be at the upper limit.
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2021 7:39 pm

Re: Laying track help needed

Post by DonRenner »

Thanks for your quick reply. I'm working with N scale on a 3' x 6' layout. I don't get too excited about the looong trains. I expect to stay with only about 7-8 units so I hope that my "outer" limit won't stress the loco's.
How does the math work when figuring the ramp scale?
Post Reply