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"HONGZ" stands for HO scale, N scale, G scale, and Z scale.

Post your non-O scale stuff here!

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Several methods. Rubber bands outside will degrade quickly, but black twist ties around the outer ties should work. Simple cheap solid-strand wire (something like 20 gauge or so) wrapped around the end tie on each piece of track would probably work too. For something more permanent, Split-Jaw clamps are probably the best.

You don't mention if your track has solid rail (like LGB, Aristocraft, USA Trains) or if it is hollow (old Bachmann plated track, old Lionel Track, etc). If it is hollow, I would not recommend using split jaw clamps as they might crush it. (Then again, I wouldn't recommend either of those brands of track for outdoor service anyway).

One other thing you might want to consider if you use split-jaw clamps. Some are designed to fit OVER existing rail joiners, and some REPLACE rail joiners. Both are good, but for switches you may want to consider using the ones that REPLACE rail joiners. That way, if a switch fails or you need to remove it for maintenance you don't need to tear up the adjoining tracks to get at it. Just remove the clamps and lift the switch out of the way.

I agree with those recommending Split Jaw rail clamps for outdoor use.  As well as keeping the tracks together they keep the rails in alignment which other methods connecting ties together will not do.

Split Jaw has two types of rail clamps. "Over the Rail Joiner" type made to fit over the thin metal rail joiners supplier by Aristo and others.   They are good for retrofitting poor joints. The other type are Rail Clamps. They replace the thin metal rail joiners and clamp directly on the track rails.

I've used the TrainLi style clamps. I don't think they hold the rails in alignment as well as the Split Jaw style.

Note: Trainz has 60 packs of the Split Jaws.

Last edited by Ward H

Well I'm not familiar with the term "free floating" but I guess that would mean a temporary/permanent setup such as a carpet or floor layout. Anyway this Christmas I used ty-wraps/Zipties ties to hold the track together around the tree on the carpet. They work great, the track has stayed tight and the electrical connections are good. Yes it's a pain to do, but once it's done, it's done. I'm happy with them.

"free floating" means floating on a layer of gravel to allow expansion due to weather and temp outside.

If track is fixed it might break or buckle.

Real train track also floats on stone rock ballast for the same reason.

Some people use "free floating" to cut down on noise echoing into the track baseboard.

Indoor layouts can use carpet as a sound barrier.

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