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Chris this is fantastic! I have never hand laid track but this makes me want to try it. How hard is it to do this kind of track with such great detail? Do u feel that it is more cost effective to lay your own track? I feel like I would take more pride in my track work if I hand laid it. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for compliments guys. 


Willbacker thanks.  It is not difficult at all, it does take more time as you can imagine with placing the tie's, the tie plates and the spiking, the track gauges to keep things in line.  Is it more cost effective?...... In a word No.  I am using steel rail and not NS so that is cheaper.  A 40" section of Atlas flex is $11.08, I am probablly right at the same cost or even slightly more for the same length of track.  The tie plates alone are about 5 bucks for the amount needed for the same length of track.  For me it is about truely building my layout, and pride as you said.  Plus I enjoy it, it is fun for me.  I'm not in a hurry and I only do about a foot a day.        

Do I need them ?  No, but want them?...Yes.  Actually there will be a tunnel area where they will not be used but that will only be about 6-7 feet long.  The tie plates for me are a must, the reason being is they are there in the real world, also they add to the final appearance as Ken stated.  The track is a model as well and is often overlooked, but I want the track to be a focal point along with the other scenery and the engines...ect.  If I were not using tie plates I would be in the range of about half what you pay for a section of Atlas flex.  The other point is I want to hand lay and also want wood tie's, to me I see a difference between plastic and wood when they are both weathered.  I would say look at this photo below and picture it without the tie plates, to me there would definetly be something missing.  But that said everyone builds to suit his/her own tastes and desires and I have seen plenty of fine trackwork posted here that did not use them, to each his own.





Images (1)
  • 20120218_161225

Hi Larry,


In the photo above that is called an insulated joint bar.  It is 2 parts (one for each side) they are plastic and have a spacer molded on the back, when you sandwich them together they created the gap you see in the rails which I use to create seperate blocks.  I attach them with good old crazy glue. 


Thanks John I appreciate it.

Willbacker - There are some very nice - and effective - jigs for handlaying ties (probably the trickiest part of handlaying track) available from the following vendor:  


1203 Rocherham Lane,
Beech Grove, Indiana 46107-3323

James offers a number of specialized jigs for track laying as well as P: 48 wheels, San Juan trucks and other items.


If I recall, the jigs are for curves, straight track and switches. James has been at the Chicago O Scale March Meet the last few years, so if you will be attending this year, stop by and see his products.

Originally Posted by willbacker45:
Do u feel that it is more cost effective to lay your own track?

My impression is that handlaying track no longer saves anything on regular straights and curves, but can save a bundle on switches.  If you want to get an impression of the difference it makes to add all the details, look at the pictures at the beginning of this linked thread:




OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
800-980-OGRR (6477)

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