any ideas for MTH Realtrax using either 3/4" or 1" foam boards -- will screws hold in foam insulation or should the screws go all the way through to the plywood? Thanks!

Original Post

For foam board I'd use a 1 inch #4 wood screw. Not to tight, just enough to hold the track in place. I'd avoid going all the way through to the plywood if the foam board is rigid enough to hold the track in place.

Unless you plan on setting it on it's side you don't need to go into the wood. It wont fall off   If you ever need to adjust, change, swap; loose is best then too.  On mine, removing screws in the  wood when I stopped to change some stuff, stopped some noise that telegraphed to the tables underside.

Just"pinning" 1" foam with 7/8-ish screws to stop sliding of track is all you need. Mostly just in the curves too,hough t one or two along a long straight will keep it from "walking" into a bow-left bow-right or S, etc.  (spellwreck doesn't want me fixing "through") Loose can also be useful if the layout table might expand a lot (large/long)  

I usually use 2 anchor points for a 45° or 90°, and often only 2-3 for a full 180° too.   

I run PW steam way too fast and never had issues

Last edited by Adriatic

Recently posted on another thread.  Top #6 drywall screw, short #6 flat head screw.  Middle, an assortment of #4 screws. Both flat head and pan head.  Middle black screw is a Gargraves track screw.   Bottom,  #2 screws.  Middle, black, long, screw is an Atlas track screw.  Longer screws, small diameter, more difficult to find, IMO.   Small screws may require pre-drilling, soft small shaft can easily break, twist-off.  Again IMO.  Mike CT.  

Last edited by Mike CT

To hold better in the foam if necessary,try this:   screw down the each screw,  then remove screw, insert a couple drops of Elmer's white glue and re insert the screw.


Choo Choo Charlie posted:

To hold better in the foam if necessary,try this:   screw down the each screw,  then remove screw, insert a couple drops of Elmer's white glue and re insert the screw.


……. or, better yet,  buy some plastic wall anchors of the appropriate size for your track screws and after removing the screws, drill a hole of the appropriate size for the anchor into the foam and glue the anchors into the foam with a permanent glue or construction adhesive. You probably only need to do this every two or three track sections.

Just spent too miserable afternoons screwing Lionel FastTrack screws (#4  1 1/2") straight into plywood train table top. They are way, way too long!  If you don't get them perfectly straight up and down, they hang up on the bottom of the FastTrack and push it up while are leaning on the screw driver with all your weight to screw them down. What a nightmare.  I don't know what Lionel is/was thinking.  1" long would be way long enough when going straight to plywood.  Too late for me. it's all screwed down. and they all stick down at least 1" below the table.  What does everyone else use.  (Please, no "I hate FastTrack rants")

Included some pics.  As you can see I'm just getting started.



Images (2)

For Fastrack I use #4 x 3/4" pan head screws. They sit perfectly in the holes and only go into the 1/2" homosote, so no noise transmission into the wood deck and easy to screw in.

1.  You might try pre-drilling and slightly enlarging the holes in the FT with a bit that's just a little larger than the holes so the screws go in easier.

2. If you're going straight into plywood, you should be able to buy #4 screws that are shorter in length.

3. It's generally not necessary (nor desirable) to screw every piece of FT down, especially on straights. One section every 2-3 pieces should be enough.

4. Don't overtighten, especially switches.

Thank you.   I would recommend to any one, and to Lionel, if they're listening, don't use their 1 1/2" long screws to go in to plywood.  I like the flat head over pan head but there's not much "meat" in the little Phillip screw head for the tip of the screwdriver. I only used about 1 screw per section or sometimes for 2 sections.  A few of those screws broke off (because I had them cocked in the hole) and were grabbing the bottom of the fast track base.  They were literally forcing up the whole section of FastTrack and I had to take a drill and drill them out to get the track to lay down on the table!                                               

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