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Hi All,

Before anyone launches into a treatise on curving this stuff, let me say the I am using it as straight track only.  I am laying the track for the second and final staging yard and thought that this track might be of use.   I am finding it hard, if not impossible, to even the ends of the track and to straighten the wiggles in almost all of the 3' pieces.  Also, I am drilling holes in the ties to nail it down with #19 brads.  These ties are tough and the drilling takes more time than drilling holes in the ties of other flex tracks.  Any tips?



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My two rail layout has Microscale Code 148 everywhere.  Looking at the track from a distance, if not laid perfectly you can see a "wiggle or two" on every straight section.  What I did to eliminate this was to obtain a exactly STRAIGHT piece of metal about 3 ft long with a width of exactly 1-1/4 inches. I called a local steel company and asked if they had any of that size in stock that I could buy from them.  The person on the other end of the phone asked me if a 3/8 inch high (thick) piece would work, and I told him "Yes".  He told me that the piece would be in their scrap bucket next to their front office receptionist's desk, and to just come in and pick it up, no charge.  The metal piece "snaps" into place between the rails, and when I laid the track it was perfectly straight.  I also made sure that cross level of each track had no more than a 1/8 inch variation in any 36 inches.  Since that time I have had to shim the track in spots due to movement/shrinkage of the 1/2 inch plywood (good one side) on a few of my tables, but the layout has been operated "a lot" since late 2002 with no significant problems.  The track is on cork roadbed.  By way of info, it is not necessary to make each rail "even".  My track sections are "close" but not exactly even due to curves.

I hope this is useful.

Have used it, never nail or screw it down, that transfers sound through the table Like tapping on a snare drum). I use an adhesive ( tacky glue) and hold the track in place with push pins until it dry's , Ballasting will permanently hold it in place can use a small jewelers , or tac hammer  and tap the rail ends into position.  For a strait edge i use a dry wall square from the hardware store

If they're slightly bowed right out of the box, I lay it against a wall and run my hand or a dowel down the ends of the ties. That seems to give the ties a nudge around in the rails and can straighten things out. I glue it down with Elmer's, putting heavy things on it while it dries. For dead straight, You can lay a long metal ruler against one side of it, or as mentioned above, set something in between the rails.  Fastracks makes a lasercut stick that will hold your track straight. The sections interlock together and you can make them as long as you want.

If the ends aren't even, the micromark track nipper (the Xuron one also works, It makes, IMO a cleaner cut but its not as durable on code 148 track so treat it like a wear item), or a dremel will square it up but having staggered joints isnt a bad thing, just adjust one piece to fit the next.

I used brad sized nails to nail my Microscale track at the track centerline where the cork is split, into the plywood.  (Some of my engines weigh almost 15 lb., and run at prototypical speeds, a recipe for track misalignment.) I don't believe that nails this size are significant conduits for noise, but most likely are conduits for vibration (i.e. noise of a different frequency?) imparted to the table.  (Noise requires a "cone", i.e. a speaker, to propagate.)  I did substantial testing to identify noise sources when running my trains.  My layout is in my basement, and I used a decibel meter to measure all of the noise impacts that I could identify.  I found that reflected noise upward from the tabletop is one major source of noise.  Reducing train speeds helps a lot.  I also looked at my drop ceiling for reflected noise, and the ceiling is a contributor.  (I made the decision to use "restaurant grade" panels in the ceiling, since I did not want "flakes" falling on my layout.  These restaurant panels are used in food service areas in restaurants and have a skim coating to eliminate food contamination.  So that non acoustical harder surface reflects noise.) One solution to this is to hang drop "carpets" or other noise absorption materials vertically from the ceiling, but I did not do this.  I also determined that noise is reflected upwards from the bottom of the table and upward from the concrete floor.  I thought about buying noise canceling rubber/composite sheets and installing them on the underside of the layout tables, but they are pretty expensive and the reduction would only be about 5 dB, so I did not (yet?) do that either.  My basement is semifinished, and several pictures in glass frames add to the reflected noise.  Noise is measured in dB on a log curve, so a 3 dB reduction in noise results in a one-half reduction in noise "energy", but NOT in perceived noise intensity.

As a result of the above testing, here are my "solutions":

1) Run fewer trains at one time, and run them at a slower speed

2) Turn down the sound on engines

3) Use some inexpensive "area" carpets to reduce noise reflected off a hard floor

4) I am considering acoustical "mats" of the type used for auto sound systems (i.e." boom boxes".)

prrjim and every one who replied,

Thanks.  A lot of good ideas.  I will use a straight edge as a guide to lay the track and hopefully I will avoid the wiggles.

Jim, apparently the weathered track is nearly impossible to bend into a curve.  Since I purchased the non-weathered track, I thought I would specify what I was working with.

Thanks again,


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