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I'm currently installing MTH scaletrax on my layout and have a section where I am using the flextrack.  I have 1/4 inch cork glued to homasote which has been glued to plywood.  The flextrack is used for two quarter turn curved sections of the layout, one is 48 inch radius and the other is 56 inch radius.  I slid the rails to stagger the joins by at least 10 inches. 

There are no commercially available rail joiners for the flextrack.  I have found that the Atlas 2 rail joiners are a perfect fit for the center rail, and I've read that it is possible to use the Atlas 3 rail joiners on the outside rails but they require soldering.  My concern with soldering the rail is that I will melt the plastic ties. 

I tried sliding two sections together on the 48 inch radius curve (using staggered joints) and I found that all 3 rails line up very well without joiners.  I attached a picture of one of the joints.  It may be that they line up okay due to the wider radius.  I have run some cars across the two tracks I put in and they have no problems.  There doesn't seem to be any kink when you sight it by eye.  I'll need 7 or 8 of the flextrack sections, at this point I plan to use the MTH track power connectors on each section since the rails will not be connected securely for power.

Has anyone tried this approach before?  Any thoughts or possible problems doing it this way?

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  • scaletrax
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Eh. I soldered it. Bridged the gap with an 18 gauge solid wire and soldered it in. Probably melted a little bit of tie here and there but ignored it as you wont see it when ballasted. Once its soldered, you also dont need tons of electrical drops either.

Use the longest piece of flex track you can, not little snippets. If you are mating it to a rigid piece of track, then try and keep the end tie with the snap ins on the end of the flex track. I found that helped to anchor the flex track in place. 

Then again, theres more than one way to skin the cat. The joints may expand and contract with the seasons, so there's something to be on the look out for....

Thank you for the information.  I attached a sketch of what I'm doing to try to show how I staggered the rail joints. 

Did you solder the rail joints on the outside of the rail?

Could you explain more about using the longest piece of flextrack and not to use little pieces?  This is my first time using scaletrax flextrack.

Thank you!

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  • trackJoints

It's not like Atlas or any other track for that matter.  The sectional track joins or connects together with plastic interlocks.  It's very easy to snap them together with a needle nose pliers.  The little brass spring fingers make the connection so no need for rain joiners. 

The flex track does not have the brass fingers.  So you either have to solder to it or use a power contact on each piece of track.  It joins the same way, with the plastic snaps. I'll have to remove some ties at one end to get it to snap at both ends unless it just magically works out to the correct length since it ties back in to sectional track in my application.

I think MTH has a good product here but they don't really support it that well.

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  • track

I completed the trackwork on my layout with the scaletrax.  About half the layout was sectional track, the rest was flextrack.  I used a power drop for every 4 pieces of the sectional track.  I did not use any rail joiners on the flex track and I did a power drop for each piece of it.   I staggered where the rails joined by at least 8 inches.  It made smooth curves and tied back into the sectional track easily.  I have not problems with trains running on it.  I think as long as you stagger the rail joints and use fairly wide radius for the curves there is no need to use rail joiners.

Staggering may be someone else's idea, but I first saw it in the Rich Battista videos.  No need for rail joiners when doing that.

For unavoidable areas, I have also used Atlas rail joiners for a bridge and a removable section.  I did not solder them and they work fine.

In the pic below I soldered little wings on the atlas joiner to make it easy to slide the rail joiners open and closed when I want to open or close the bridge.

Have Fun!

Ron

Bridge Rail Joiners2Bridge Rail Joiners

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  • Bridge Rail Joiners2
  • Bridge Rail Joiners

I learned about staggering rail joints from my Dad when we built an HO layout in the early 1980's.  I don't recall if he'd read that in a train book or magazine or just picked it up from the guys he knew with layouts.  It seemed like MTH should have given some additional support to scaletrax.  Too late now, but it is a good product.

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