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Hey Folks,

Just something to pass along to you.

I am adding a large outer loop extension to my table.  I wanted to use 042 curved sections, but could not find any.

I was in the local train shop yesterday, and they had a brand new box of tubular 036 curved sections.  I don't know if they were Menards' or another brand.  (The track pins are a bit smaller than the Lionel pins, so I assume it is Menards.)

So I bought six sections,  because I have a long straight run of track, and want to add a half curve (90 degrees) to each end to connect it to the rest of the layout.

I hooked two sections of the new track together, but it didn't create a half curve.  No problem, I'll just hook up the third section.

I was very surprised to find that adding the third section goes way past a 90 degree curve,  and continues the curve back inward significantly past the 90 degree point.   To get a 90 degree curve, it looks as if I will have to cut about a 3 inch piece off of the third curved section,  and add that 3 inch piece to the first two sections. 

What in the heck were they thinking when they designed this?



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Manny if it's designed with six curves to a circle, then each piece is 60 degrees.  So there isn't any way to get a 90-degree curve without (carefully!) cutting one piece exactly in half.  Once you've done that, you'll need 3 extra of the smaller pins to make use of all the track.  Please post back and let us know what you find out.

EDIT: According to Menards website, their O36 tubular track requires EIGHT (8) pieces to make a circle.  If you're finding that two snugly-fitted pieces makes more than 90 degrees, then the website is wrong, or someone slipped you a mickey!

Last edited by Ted S

Thanks for all of the comments guys.  I really appreciate them.

Based on your comments, I went to my layout, put two pieces of the track together.  Nailed the end of one section down, and then really pushed the rest of the track into a 90 degree curve.  It took a lot of force, and if I let go of the free end, it wants to bounce back open like a spring (about two inches).   The tubular rails did not kink though.  And so far, I haven't seen the ends of the rails split where the pins join them together.

So, I guess that it really is two pieces to a half circle.  I have never had this problem with new Lionel track or K-Line track, so it must be way the Menard's track is designed or assembled.   

Can't tell whether this means that the specs are really good or really bad.  :-)


Have you compared each piece to the others?  (I.e., are all sections the same?)  Growing up we had O27.  At one point we redid the layout with a lot of new track, and I remember it being difficult to work with too.

The only way to find out if the specs on the website are correct is to make a complete circle, and measure it.

No pre-fab track that I know of needs only six pieces (at 60 degrees of arc each) to make a full circle.  Even O27, one of the smallest, if not THE smallest, diameter circles requires 8 pieces of track to make a circle.

I agree with some of the earlier posters above; if it doesn't go together easily, return it and try something, anything, else.


I have had issues with Menards track. One of the things I have noticed is the last inch of a piece of O-96 is actually straight, which makes sense if you are using a roller bender, but then you need to make it longer and cut off the two straight parts a the end. Or, make enough for say 4.x pieces and cut off x/2 and allow for saw kerf.

Have seen insulators not correctly centered.

I have have also seen the pins wiggle. I fixed that by taking the pins out, giving them something like knurling using an old pair of pliers and my magic hammer of Thor.

The tools sold by tinman (is/was an advertiser) have come on handy, except weirdly enough, not the track pliers, of which that is what I originally bought the kit for. The pliers just can't squeeze the rail enough. I end up with this one set of pliers and I deform the bottom of the tube of the rail. Some mechanical engineer could explain elastic vs inelastic here maybe. The tools that are handy are the block you put under the track and the modified track spike to tighten, and the piece of metal with three holes in it. I use a set of pliers and a claw hammer to take out the pins, he has a jig to speed the process up.

I bought a box of O-72, O-96, and 30" sections. Wish they made something between the 72 and 96, all I have is some K-Line Shadow rail, it makes the other tubular look like crap.

I'd check with the store to see who made them, I wouldn't assume they were Menard's without any evidence. The store owner might have bought some old oddball brand track from an old collector (or their widow).

As someone mentioned, I'd also stack them up to make sure they're really all the same size curve. Could be they have a few larger or smaller diameter curves mixed in. I suppose they could even be European tinplate track, like Merkur track?

Last edited by wjstix

You might be on to something with Merkur (although their website is apparently long gone meaning that they're probably no longer in business):

  1. 760mm is almost exactly 30".  So, is this Merkur track O-30, or O-60?  This could be the issue that's being seen.
  2. But, 22.5 degrees for each piece means 16 to a circle, or 8 for a half-circle (and not 12 or 6 which would mean not breaking on 45 degree increments).

#1 might be an issue, #2 is not an issue.  For these reasons I don't think that Merkur tracks produce the result that @Mannyrock has seen.



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Last edited by Mellow Hudson Mike

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