Trackwork question

Adding an On30 run (total On30 novice) to my O layout (3-rail Atlas). Have micro-engineering flex track plus turnouts. Should I be soldering the connections plus the joiners?? Have been reading the Jeff Wilson book on trackwork. Any other tips to pass along???

Thank you!!! 

Original Post

  Some folk skip the joiners, solder and file to shape, feed by bus individually, etc...some dont bother at all. You do need to be fast with plastic ties waiting to melt.

Check the flex of each whole length before setting any screws, pins, tacks, etc. Some times a rail doesnt slide well in some ties. Some extra wiggle at these points usually gets them sliding, but ive had to trim spike heads off with rails stuck firm to a tie. This is often easier if the track isnt partially fastened down.

"Stainless" and alloy metals wont always take solder, mind what you try, lol.

  I like soldered connections on near everthing electrical because it works and eliminates 99% of guess work on good connections. I even solder old 3 rail at times rather than fight bad connections with a pin cleaning.

 Smooth rail transitions and "sharp" joints by light bends L/R up/dwn and/or filing away any catch points of course. 

Smooth trackwork becomes more necessary with smaller gauges.  

  Big Ho flanges might be even smaller than scale On30. I never thought about it because being true to a scale doesnt bug me. I'd run tall code and big flanges for reliability alone.

   Cleaning track and wheels is a bit more of a priority on smaller gauges. Weight and even two ground rails on 3r, gives near all O gauges a connection advantage over Jr gauges in most cases. (pressure per area vs total area, is the #1 contributor to a healthy connection)

Basically near anything you can apply to running ho,n, z & 2rail, goes for On30. E.g., Flipping polarity on reverse loops is the pita on both, lol.

All the rest is pretty much "universal" model RR stuff, imo.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Some people think rail joiners should not be soldered, in order to allow expansion/contraction of the rail with changes in temperature, but I have never had a problem with distortion of the track because of soldered rail joiners on my layout (2-rail code 148 track).

I don't understand the point of soldering and filing a rail joint without using a rail joiner: if you are going to solder the abutting rails anyway, why not add the mechanical advantage of a rail joiner? The rail joiner becomes almost invisible after it's painted and it serves to keep the rail ends securely aligned.

I think it is important, whatever system you use, to solder an electrical feeder wire to every section of track, no mater how short. I have wired my layout this way, and the current supply is therefore completely dependable.

My buddy and I are building a 20 x 40 triple deck ON30 layout.  All of our wiring is done to the bottom of the rail joiners and then the track is connected leaving the wire pig tail to be tied to a 'block' bus.  Each block has two wires the length of the block (the block bus).  When all done the 'bus' is then wired into the system.  BTW we run NCE DCC.  Have fun.  Russ

B Smith posted:

I don't understand the point of soldering and filing a rail joint without using a rail joiner: if you are going to solder the abutting rails anyway, why not add the mechanical advantage of a rail joiner? The rail joiner becomes almost invisible after it's painted and it serves to keep the rail ends securely aligned.

I think it is important, whatever system you use, to solder an electrical feeder wire to every section of track, no mater how short. I have wired my layout this way, and the current supply is therefore completely dependable.

I agree 100% with this. I used Micro Engineering track and thought it's pretty fragile (especially the turnouts) when you install them, it looks pretty good and works okay once it's in place and you're not messing around with it other than cleaning it*

I used rail joiners everywhere, ran feeders to every single piece of track and soldered every joint shut. I didn't need frog juicers of special wiring to the turnouts as all my locos (Bachmann ten-wheelers and one Whitcomb 50-tonner) have all-wheel pickup and are long enough to span any turnout.

*One tip is if you're cleaning the ME turnouts with a bright boy or scrubbing block, never scrub away from where the rails diverge. Always scrub toward the spot where the tracks go different directions, as the rails on the points can easily pop out of the connectors holding them to the rest of the turnout.

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