Gargraves Track

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June 25, 2013 3:12 PM

Is it possible to create a whole layout using the flex track? Is it like MTH's Scaletrax where you have to wire to each track?
 
 
 
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June 25, 2013 4:35 PM

Absolutely, and if you want to mix in some Ross, and Atlas sectional track no problem!

 

 

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June 25, 2013 4:44 PM

I planned on using Ross switches!
 
 
 
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June 25, 2013 4:57 PM

Originally Posted by NSRailfan100:
I planned on using Ross switches!

a good choice.  take your time, it's not easy and usually becomes a learning process, but it's hard to beat the results you can achieve other than hand laying the rails.

 

 

 
 
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June 25, 2013 5:16 PM

Gargraves track needs each rail to receive power if that is what you are asking. All rails are insulated from each other, so it works great for using as a signal relay with only some insulating pins needing to be added.

I have a friend who wired every section of his Gargraves track, each 36.25 inch section got electrical hookup. Said he wasn't gonna chance any voltage drop out.

 

So far the only drawback is that some of my MTH engines don't like Gargraves switches, it's something about the switch design.

Maybe Ross Custom Switches are better, I will have to wait for some money to buy any Ross switches.

 

Lee Fritz

 

Philadelphia & Reading Railway, one of the first railroads in the USA, first to have a double track system in the USA.

 
 
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June 25, 2013 5:34 PM

Lee,
I was talking about how MTH flex track does not have mating connecters so to have any voltage to the track you have to wire each piece of flex track.
 
 
 
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June 25, 2013 5:42 PM

Originally Posted by NSRailfan100:
Lee,
I was talking about how MTH flex track does not have mating connecters so to have any voltage to the track you have to wire each piece of flex track.

Gargraves track has electrical conductivity from section to section through the pins. On our club layout, we enhance that by soldering a small piece of ribbon wire across each of the joints. After that, we attached feeders every 8 feet and that has been fine. If there is a section where you get a voltage drop, you can always go add an extra feeder. A lot less work that putting feeders on every section of track which to me is overkill

 

John

 

 
 
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June 25, 2013 6:23 PM

My last 3 layouts, two large ones now dismantled and one small attic layout newly operational,have all been entirely equipped with Gargraves Flex track and Ross/Curtis switches.[during the early 1990s I used Frank Curtis switches, most of which were given to others upon dismantling my larger layouts. Rossand Curtis turnouts have been completely trouble free for my operations]. 

 

Just as a personal practice, "overkill" or not, I solder railpower leads from the layout's power bus to each 37" section of Gargraves flex and to short sections between Ross switches, on spurs,etc. 

 

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A&Y RY[NC's Southern/N&W connector].

Last edited by Dewey Trogdon June 25, 2013 6:34 PM
 
 
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June 25, 2013 7:23 PM

Originally Posted by NSRailfan100:
Is it possible to create a whole layout using the flex track? Is it like MTH's Scaletrax where you have to wire to each track?

Absolutely. With a few exceptions, that's all we use. Started with Gargraves, but we've switched over to Atlas. Turnouts on the mainlines are Ross #5's with a couple of O-72's tossed in to the yard and some O-54's in the harbor/industrial area. The sections are connected with track joiner pins, but we solder wires across the rails for stronger conductivity.

 

100_0103

 

AGHR 011

 

P1000960

 

2011-12-28 18.53.38

 

Matt Jackson
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June 25, 2013 7:41 PM

I was talking about how MTH flex track does not have mating connecters so to have any voltage to the track you have to wire each piece of flex track.

 

You don't need to do that.  Just solder the rails together and you will have excellent conductivity as well as excellent signal quality for DCS.  If you follow BBs rules for wiring for DCS and limit the track in each electrical block to 12 sections you can cover 30 feet with Scaletrax flex track per wired connection.  Your layout configuration might not allow you to have that long a main line run before you want electrical isolation for a power block but you will have excellent electrical connections if your track plan allows for that long a block. 

 

Rich Battista likes to make simple soldered but joints between the sections of rail.  You can provide good mechanical reinforcement to a joint by soldering in a short length of solid wire on the back (non visible side) of the rail.  My brother Dave and I prefer to use the nickel silver joint bars from Lou Cross for soldered Scaletrax joints and his plastic joint bars for insulated connections.

 

For Scaletrax or Gargraves sectional track you can rely on the tabs or pins for good electrical connections up to the same 12 section limit.

 
 
 
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June 25, 2013 8:18 PM

Fort Pitt Hi-Railers Gargraves with Ross switches.










 
Last edited by Mike CT June 25, 2013 8:30 PM
 
 
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June 26, 2013 9:22 AM

Working with Gargraves track for quite some time you may want to take note on a few items,

1) Try not to use the flexible track for radii less than 054. Its a pain to bend sharper radii than this and will kink easy.

2) Soldering to the rail I use a jewelers file to remove the oxidation layer of the metal then use a good silver solder and electrical flux paste and feeders can be added with no problems. 

3) I avoid the stainless steel, its harder to bend, more expensive, and it the older version did not have a black center rail. It is more resistant to rusting but it will still oxidize and eventually need to be cleaned to make good electrical contact. And when it does the oxidation layer is even tougher to remove. But this is my preference. I have seen outdoor layouts that use this track with good results, however indoor maybe in my opinion is overkill.

4) Ross to Gragraves track mounts with ease, Atlas track you will need to cut the bottom of the Gargraves track off to slide a Atlas connector on it.

5) The Blackened center rail tends to be the weakest link in the power connectivity. Usually if there is a dirty spot on the track its the center rail

6) The wood ties seemed to dry out on the track so if you bending a section and its giving you a hard time, hit with a heat gun or hair dryer

7) I put a small dab of light oil on the center rail to keep it from rusting, seems the plating will rust here quicker than the outside rails.

8) Someone had posted that to make the gargraves track quieter they put weed wacker plastic feed material down the center of the rails. I have not tried this for I think this would be overkill with gargraves on cork and gypsum board or homosote.

9) If you wish to weather the track, use some isopropyl alcohol and wipe it clean, than brush roof brown, and grimey black on the sides of the rails, let dry than wipe the tops clean with isopropyl alcohol. You can airbush as well, use a 3x5 car to avoid over spray.

10) I ran out of fiber pins for track insulators and found toothpicks work just fine

11) Once gargraves track is ballasted you really cannot see the extra rail length and the larger ties are less noticeable 

12 If you are poor like me, I use the gargraves switches until ross switches can be swapped out, the frogs are their weakest point with the large gap and plastic material.

 

 

Picture 009

 

Last edited by J Daddy June 26, 2013 9:50 AM
 
 
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June 26, 2013 11:17 AM

Originally Posted by NSRailfan100:
Lee,
I was talking about how MTH flex track does not have mating connecters so to have any voltage to the track you have to wire each piece of flex track.

NSRailfan100,

 

I did not mention anything about MTH track, it was their engines! I use the old tubular track along with Gargraves track.

 

Lee Fritz

 

Philadelphia & Reading Railway, one of the first railroads in the USA, first to have a double track system in the USA.

 
 
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June 26, 2013 2:19 PM

I have about 400 feet of track. 90% is Gargraves Flex-Track with lots of free-flowing sweeping curves. The only exceptions are the switches (Ross) and a couple of return loops using GG sectional track where I wanted the loops to be perfectly circular and concentric.

 

As said elsewhere, bending flex-track beyond a 54" or so diameter is tough but doable if you take your time. Also a pain is getting the flex-track sections to form smooth connections, especially when the sections join on a curve since the inner rail will extend and the outside rail will shorten.

 

In no particular order; Aviation (Pilot), Golf & Cycling (when it's nice out) and Trains (when it's not).

 
 
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June 26, 2013 2:29 PM

Originally Posted by J Daddy:
 
I'll have to remember that one!! I like it!

 

10) I ran out of fiber pins for track insulators and found toothpicks work just fine

 

 

 

John

 

 
 
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June 26, 2013 3:47 PM

100% Ross (about 36 of them) and Gargraves track... sectional curves and flex. Wired to run conventional, TMCC/Legacy, and DCS. Used the white insulating pins to create blocks per DCS recommendations, each block is 10-12 track sections with drops/feeders in the middle of the block. 

 

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June 27, 2013 7:09 PM

I've used GarGraves for a complete run.  It gives you so much more freedom than standard curves do.  (I like irregularly shaped layouts).  You do have to cut rail when it becomes uneven from bending, but it's not hard.  Just use a new Zona saw and take your time.

 
 
 
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