As I work on my Tinplate/O Gauge layout, I've begun more carefully evaluating which track to use.  In this regard, I'm seriously considering the USA Track, possibly the 5 Rail for the outer loop.  

Over time,  I have segregated a number of sections of 3-Rail SG track from various sets that I had purchased over the years.  I'm sure that it is a combination of both age and mileage (mostly for me), but I have found that the assembly of the 3-Rail SG track sections to be very difficult if not almost impossible, even though the sections are in brand new condition ( time for a "T Tracker"...).  

My first question, is there a product that would make the assembly of the 3-Rail SG easier, as I know that many lubricants are not very compatible with ultimately operating the trains?

Since I Plan to have this layout running for a long time (hopefully!), I am not adverse to purchasing new track.   In this regard, I do like the GarGraves track a lot, but do not wish to bend the SG curves.

My second question is, given your experience, and, the current SG track available in 2020, which SG track would you recommend now?

 

Last edited by Dennis GS-4 N & W No. 611
Original Post

Simply hold one section of track in your left hand and with your right hand take a second section and insert ONE pin into ONE female end of the track section in your left hand and work it in and out and then repeat for the other two openings. Then reverse the ends on the two sections. Next push them together. I always use a pair of leather work gloves to protect my hands in this process. Always works even with brand new track! GOOD LUCK!

Last edited by Tinplate Art

Cleaning old track is spotty at best.  No lubricants, they will cause issues later. T-Tracker is ok... it does a good job, but it is a cumbersome tool.  Leather gloves and elbow grease is the most effective... not TOO much wiggling side to side as it weakens the connection. A tack hammer on the flange are works for the really stubborn joints. 

USA track is unbeatable.  Worth every penny spent.  With over 600 ft laid, I have not had a single issue. I took out any remaining Original Lionel, Modern Lionel, MTH after using it for the first time.

@RoyBoy posted:

Does USA actually make 5 rail track, or do they just supply the parts so you can make your own?

The sell the components to add to 0-72 track etc. to make 5 rail.

 

Art,

Great suggestions!  Thank you very much. I'll give it a try, as I have never had so much trouble trying to connect track sections.  Hope you are well, and, I was wondering if you are still an aficionado of multiple gauges of trains?

Cordially,

Dennis

Artes, Scientia, Veritas (Circa 1817)

 

Rob,

1.  Thanks for the suggestions regarding connecting the track, as they are also very helpful.

2.  "USA track is unbeatable.  Worth every penny spent.  With over 600 ft laid, I have not had a single issue. I took out any remaining Original Lionel, Modern Lionel, MTH after using it for the first time."

Your very recommendation for USA Track, which is obviously based on extensive experience, is also very helpful.  ...On jocular note, I think I'll go the Bruce Springsteen route, and, use the track that is, "Born in the USA".

 

Last edited by Dennis GS-4 N & W No. 611

One more vote here for USA track!  Very high quality and sturdy. One other suggestion is some inexpensive gloves I bought at Lowe’s I use now for pumping gas or wearing at the grocery store. They are about $7 and the front side is rubber texture and the back is a comfortable stretchy cloth material. 🧤  Those would probably work well with gripping the track to assemble it. 

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Mad-G...ubber-Gloves/3799253

Last edited by Chris Lonero

One more vote here for USA track!  Very high quality and sturdy. One other suggestion is some inexpensive gloves I bought at Lowe’s I use now for pumping gas or wearing at the grocery store. They are about $7 and the front side is rubber texture and the back is a comfortable stretchy cloth material. 🧤  Those would probably work well with gripping the track to assemble it. 

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Mad-G...ubber-Gloves/3799253

Thanks Chris.  I think those gloves will work for a number of different purposes, as you suggest.  They are far more streamlined than my leather work gloves.  I decided to throw caution to the wind and ordered a pair.

I will plan to use the USA Track, given your experience, and the recommendation of Rob and others.  What are you using to "power up" the track, and, have you tried the USA O gauge track?

Thanks again!

I have always had success with protecting my hands from the edges of the track ties with a pair of basic hardware store leather work gloves. As mentioned above, simply work the single pin into each track end a couple of times without side motion. Even brand new track will then fasten easier and tighter with this method which has NEVER failed me. Just sayin....

Thanks Chris.  I think those gloves will work for a number of different purposes, as you suggest.  They are far more streamlined than my leather work gloves.  I decided to throw caution to the wind and ordered a pair.

I will plan to use the USA Track, given your experience, and the recommendation of Rob and others.  What are you using to "power up" the track, and, have you tried the USA O gauge track?

Thanks again!

I have a couple different options for power depending on what I run. Most of the time I use an M-1000 brick going to my TIU. I can also power up with my ZW-L I can plug into a separate control box I built.    I am Using USA standard gauge which I plan to add rails to finally and build 5 rail track so I have more running options.       I would say you can’t go wrong with USA track I definitely think it’s better quality than what’s coming out of China. 

Thanks everyone for the “votes of confidence” for USA TRACK Standard Gauge track. We do try our best!

Art is absolutely correct about the old MTH “10-series” track being well made.  It was made by EBR Products (in New Jersey) using the same tooling USA TRACK uses today.  I believe all of it is stamped MTH on the ties (we have about 20,000 of those ties on a back shelf), whereas the troublesome Chinese made track marketed by MTH was stamped “Lionel”. Now that MTH has dropped the licensing agreement with Lionel, I suspect any new Chinese made track they import will also be stamped MTH, so be beware.

Kirk

For track assembly, 

The track is most easily assembled by aligning the track pins of one piece with the rails of the next section, and then using a small block of wood and a tack hammer to tap on the ends of the rails to advance the pins of one section into the rails of the next. Wrestling the sections together can damage both the track and your hands!

I have a 100 foot loop of USA TRACK LLC track on my layout installed five years ago that has one connection point to the transformer and virtually no voltage drop at the opposite end of the loop.  The track pins are 0.005” oversized, which does make them tight, but the electrical connection is really excellent.

Art, Chris, and Kirk,

Thanks for all of the very helpful information and excellent suggestions.  Based on all of the very favorable recommendations, I'll definitely plan to use Kirk's USA Track.  

@SGMA1 posted:

For track assembly, 

The track is most easily assembled by aligning the track pins of one piece with the rails of the next section, and then using a small block of wood and a tack hammer to tap on the ends of the rails to advance the pins of one section into the rails of the next. Wrestling the sections together can damage both the track and your hands!

Thanks Kirk,

Your recommended assembly method sounds very efficient and effective, particularly with respect to electrical connectivity.  Do you also recommend this assembly method for the curved sections?

I have a couple different options for power depending on what I run. Most of the time I use an M-1000 brick going to my TIU. I can also power up with my ZW-L I can plug into a separate control box I built.    I am Using USA standard gauge which I plan to add rails to finally and build 5 rail track so I have more running options.       I would say you can’t go wrong with USA track I definitely think it’s better quality than what’s coming out of China. 

Thanks Chris,

Your answer reminded me that I could power up using a brick and a TIU, since each of my SG locos are command controlled.  I also see from an e-mail that Kirk kindly sent to me that he also sells SG Lock-ons for the actual track connections.

 

Last edited by Dennis GS-4 N & W No. 611

Thanks for all of the excellent suggestions!

As noted previously, USA Track sounds like the way to go based on the the recommendations above.  To start out, I'll be purchasing the USA Track for a two-track mainline on a 6' x 8' table.  These mainlines will be comprised of STD 57 track on the outside, and, STD 42 on the inner loop.  

BTW - I recently made 5 rail with Kirk's help from USA TRACK. I started out with New Lionel O-54 and added Std 57. I bought the radius rails from Kirk, along with extra std ties and insulators. Came out awesome! I highly recommend getting the tools from PE Design for O and Std track. These allow for a solid press on tie tabs for a solid connection to rails. Note- only snug fit on center rails. Did not want to puncture insulators

Joe Gozzo

Last edited by Trainlover160

BTW - I recently made 5 rail with Kirk's help from USA TRACK. I started out with New Lionel O-54 and added Std 57. I bought the radius rails from Kirk, along with extra std ties and insulators. Came out awesome! I highly recommend getting the tools from PE Design for O and Std track. These allow for a solid press on tie tabs for a solid connection to rails. Note- only snug fit on center rails. Did not want to puncture insulators

Joe Gozzo

Joe, that's a very helpful suggestion, and sounds like a lot of operating flexibility. In keeping with your experience, and the experience of the others on this thread, I also found Kirk to be very helpful in planning my layout, particularly given the available footprint for a layout.  

Once I've run the layout for a while, I may expand the size, and try the 5 rail that has worked so well with you on a larger outside loop.

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