Hand laying track


threefootmodels@...
 

I am going to start building some of my layout soon and considering hand laying the track in code 55. I already have the fastracks code 55 turnout jig. Is it worth going this route or just buying flex track?


Bill M
 

Asking if it's worth it is only a question you can answer. 

You really have to *want* to handlay track. If you don't actually enjoy doing it then you should not do it. I personally love doing it and find it very satisfying.

To each his own. There is no wrong answer but perhaps you should just try handlaying a few feet and see how you feel it goes.

Bill

On Sunday, October 10, 2021, 07:52:45 PM EDT, threefootmodels via groups.io <threefootmodels@...> wrote:


I am going to start building some of my layout soon and considering hand laying the track in code 55. I already have the fastracks code 55 turnout jig. Is it worth going this route or just buying flex track?


Eric Schrowang
 

Really depends on your personality. Some folks myself included find hand laying track very relaxing, for me it's just like building another model. Others find it very tedious and a chour, if that's the case go with flex track. I personally think hand laying track is a very rewarding part of Model Rail Roading. It does not take away from the finished product if you decide to go with flex track.


On Sun, Oct 10, 2021, 7:52 PM threefootmodels via groups.io <threefootmodels=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I am going to start building some of my layout soon and considering hand laying the track in code 55. I already have the fastracks code 55 turnout jig. Is it worth going this route or just buying flex track?


Climax@...
 

In the mid 1960's I was still in High School and read an article by Jack Work in Model Railroader on how to hand lay track and make turnouts.  I followed his instructions and it worked.  I never looked back.  If you want track quickly then get flex track and pre-made switches. If you want to lay a switch or turn out at a #4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6 or what ever you have the freedom to do it with handlaying. I simply follow standard railroad practice and have made switches, turnouts, gantlet, dual gauge switches, gauge separations from either side with elevaton changes and on curves.  It is actually kind of fun to figure it all out so you have the minimum moving parts as possible too.

 

DAve

-----Original Message-----
From: <HOn3@groups.io>
Sent: Oct 10, 2021 7:59 PM
To: HOn3@groups.io <HOn3@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Hand laying track


 
Asking if it's worth it is only a question you can answer. 
 
You really have to *want* to handlay track. If you don't actually enjoy doing it then you should not do it. I personally love doing it and find it very satisfying.
 
To each his own. There is no wrong answer but perhaps you should just try handlaying a few feet and see how you feel it goes.
 
Bill
 
On Sunday, October 10, 2021, 07:52:45 PM EDT, threefootmodels via groups.io <threefootmodels@...> wrote:
 
 
I am going to start building some of my layout soon and considering hand laying the track in code 55. I already have the fastracks code 55 turnout jig. Is it worth going this route or just buying flex track?

 


Jim Marlett
 

I’d say give it a try and see if you like it. I enjoy hand laying track even though it can be frustrating at times. Mine is code 70 though. With code 55 you’re pretty much committed to micro spikes. These are very finicky and have to be sharpened before using. I’ve started using them myself. Steve Hatch told me the secret. Have a Dremel tool with a cutoff disk running next to you and sharpen them right before putting them in. Also, unlike small spikes, if you bend one, you won’t be able to straighten it out. Just toss it and grab another.

If I was to start over, I think I would go with code 55 flex and hand lay the switches. On the other hand, I might just miss hand laying that track.

Jim Marlett
http://flatheaddrag.com/
http://jimmarlett.zenfolio.com/


On Oct 10, 2021, at 6:52 PM, threefootmodels via groups.io <threefootmodels@...> wrote:

I am going to start building some of my layout soon and considering hand laying the track in code 55. I already have the fastracks code 55 turnout jig. Is it worth going this route or just buying flex track?


Climax@...
 

In addition I only spiked every 7th time, just something I found easy to do.  I put the rail down, drilled my holes and pushed the spikes in.  Using a track gauge all the time and tapped the spikes one way of the other to make tiny corrections.

Dave

-----Original Message-----
From: <HOn3@groups.io>
Sent: Oct 10, 2021 7:52 PM
To: <HOn3@groups.io>
Subject: [HOn3] Hand laying track


I am going to start building some of my layout soon and considering hand laying the track in code 55. I already have the fastracks code 55 turnout jig. Is it worth going this route or just buying flex track?

 


Climax@...
 

I also have been laying only Code 70 since the '60's. I look at Code 80 and 100 as huge rail.  I have spiked all my rail, made my won wing rails, frogs right in place and use piece of hack saw blade to clean out flangways.  If I did Code 55 I am sure I would be using PC board times and soldering them down.

DAve

-----Original Message-----
From: <HOn3@groups.io>
Sent: Oct 10, 2021 8:55 PM
To: HOn3 Group <HOn3@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Hand laying track


I’d say give it a try and see if you like it. I enjoy hand laying track even though it can be frustrating at times. Mine is code 70 though. With code 55 you’re pretty much committed to micro spikes. These are very finicky and have to be sharpened before using. I’ve started using them myself. Steve Hatch told me the secret. Have a Dremel tool with a cutoff disk running next to you and sharpen them right before putting them in. Also, unlike small spikes, if you bend one, you won’t be able to straighten it out. Just toss it and grab another.
 
If I was to start over, I think I would go with code 55 flex and hand lay the switches. On the other hand, I might just miss hand laying that track.

Jim Marlett
http://flatheaddrag.com/
http://jimmarlett.zenfolio.com/


On Oct 10, 2021, at 6:52 PM, threefootmodels via groups.io <threefootmodels@...> wrote:
I am going to start building some of my layout soon and considering hand laying the track in code 55. I already have the fastracks code 55 turnout jig. Is it worth going this route or just buying flex track?

 


Randy Hees
 

It also depends on what you are modeling...  flex track looks very consistent... Fine for a heavy mainline but not so much for a narrow gauge line... hand laid can have uneven tie spacing and tie length...  which is more common on narrow gauge lines.   You can have switches at odd angles... (not so much with fast tracks) ... I have hand laid everything from code 100 down to code 40...  (and occasionally 1' to 1' in 3' and standard gauge, 25 lb to 90 lb, and I am an FRA qualified track inspector)  and am committed to hand laid.   I find hand laying somewhat zen like... you are not making many decisions, just sticking a spike into a tie... again and again... (and again).  But I do use flex for hidden track.

Randy Hees

On Sun, Oct 10, 2021 at 5:02 PM Eric Schrowang <eschrowang@...> wrote:
Really depends on your personality. Some folks myself included find hand laying track very relaxing, for me it's just like building another model. Others find it very tedious and a chour, if that's the case go with flex track. I personally think hand laying track is a very rewarding part of Model Rail Roading. It does not take away from the finished product if you decide to go with flex track.

On Sun, Oct 10, 2021, 7:52 PM threefootmodels via groups.io <threefootmodels=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I am going to start building some of my layout soon and considering hand laying the track in code 55. I already have the fastracks code 55 turnout jig. Is it worth going this route or just buying flex track?


threefootmodels@...
 

I will definitely try a few feet of track before I decide. I have always wanted to build a layout with handlaid track and feel that I would enjoy it but I have also heard that code 55 is a challenge to work with. Will most likely use flex in hidden areas like mentioned above.


Don Bergman
 

I recommend experimenting with both spikes and pc ties before you decide to go RTR or hand laid.

Don Bergman



From: HOn3@groups.io <HOn3@groups.io> on behalf of threefootmodels via groups.io <threefootmodels@...>
Sent: Sunday, October 10, 2021 11:24 PM
To: HOn3@groups.io <HOn3@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Hand laying track
 
I will definitely try a few feet of track before I decide. I have always wanted to build a layout with handlaid track and feel that I would enjoy it but I have also heard that code 55 is a challenge to work with. Will most likely use flex in hidden areas like mentioned above.


threefootmodels@...
 

Another reason why I want to go hand laid is for weathering reasons. 

For those of you that do hand lay track whats a list of tools I need to start shopping for? What spiking tool? Do I need a rail bender? Also to use for roadbed?


Mike Conder
 

Answers so far are all pro-handlaid. But for now,  I'm going with Code 55 flex, mostly due to the time savings and the ability to make it look pretty real with scale-sized spikes and tie plates.  

The photos of the lines I'm modeling show track in pretty good condition,  the period I'm modeling is only a dozen years after it was originally built.  And though narrow gauge the line was well financed so it was built well.

But if you're modeling the RGS in the '40's or a logging line, maybe handlaid would be better for you. 

Mike Conder

On Sun, Oct 10, 2021, 9:51 PM threefootmodels via groups.io <threefootmodels=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Another reason why I want to go hand laid is for weathering reasons. 

For those of you that do hand lay track whats a list of tools I need to start shopping for? What spiking tool? Do I need a rail bender? Also to use for roadbed?


Mark Kasprowicz
 

There is no doubt in my mind that good hand laid track looks better. There is also in my mind a realisation that I do not have the patience to do it and, more to the point, finish it! I envy those who can. I initially laid Code 70 Shino turnouts but then bought a Code 55 Fasttrack jig and built my own. Now that IS satisfying. I still use flexi throughout. Just recently someone suggested I weather the ties before laying the track. I wish he had suggested it 20 years ago!
I've recently relaid a small portion of the layout and know full well that had I hand laid the turnouts I could have got better 'fairness' in the curves (does that make sense?) but because it was in an Code 70 area I chickened out and bought Peco. But since you already have a FS jig, just give it a shot and see how to get on. BTW I don't use a file to grind down the rails - i use a belt sander clamped to the bench. I only use a file for finishing. Seems to work fine!
I've also abandoned the Tortoise in favour of servos. You can program the throw and the speed and one you have the electronics, much cheaper. And, be much smaller, they can be mounted on top of the baseboard as well as underneath. 

Mark K


Seb J
 

Currently laying track in Telluride using Fast track turnout jig with individual wood ties, and flextrack.

If you go for code55, then building your own turnouts is the cheapest option you’ve got. And you can always tweak a turnout a bit, but I guess since you get used to it, you get the skills to build your own turnouts if you need special ones (ie no jig available or don't want to invest in a jig just for that one turnout).

Flextrack isn't cheap, especially when like me you need to have it shipped overseas... Would be a lot cheaper to buy just rail and use stripwood available here in France, as what I do under turnouts and short sections between turnouts. But I decided to invest in some flextrack bundles as a start. It is also makes the job a lot quicker.

Seb






Le lun. 11 oct. 2021 à 01:52, threefootmodels via groups.io <threefootmodels=yahoo.com@groups.io> a écrit :
I am going to start building some of my layout soon and considering hand laying the track in code 55. I already have the fastracks code 55 turnout jig. Is it worth going this route or just buying flex track?

--
Cordialement

Sébastien Jubault
Vice-Président
AECFM - Chemin de Fer de Rillé
www.aecfm.fr


kevin b
 

I am going to start building some of my layout soon and considering hand laying the track in code 55. I already have the fastracks code 55 turnout jig. Is it worth going this route or just buying flex track?

there are some things on the railroad you simply ought to hand lay period.
the rails on bridges for example.
there are, potentially, other parts of the railroad hand laid track is just not worth the effort.
for instance:
if your layout is of any size at all, and there is trackage that's more than 2 or 3 feet from where you can see it while operating, you might as well use good quality flex track.
another real good  place for flex track is inside tunnels.
a lot of making the decision, boils down to how much track are you going to have?
if your layout is small, maybe you only have a total 50 feet of actual trackage, main, sidings, everything, hand laying it all is not such a monumental task.
you can see there is a point (total distance of track) where it's just too much work to hand lay it all.

as for weathering the track etc.
same thing as laying it.
if it's too far away to see, nobody gonna know anyhow.

remember this one thing:
your railroad only has to make you happy.

have a happy day.
Kevin.



Nigel Phillips
 

I think it is more of need rather than want. One issue that you soon run into is the ties. Fast Tracks uses a design of copper clad PCB and wood.  If you are not careful about where you get the ties from this  leads to a mismatch in height and width. The most useful tools are probably the point and frog filing ones. Plus a good paper template. The ones from Fast Tracks are actually good enough, I use something called Templot2, that allows almost every parameter to be adjusted - rail width, tie width, tie spacing, heel position, transitions...

Once you have the tools for track building I think the question of "do I need to buy flex track" comes up. I don't like the random angles to the ties in the ME products, needs to be a bit more subtle and with a bit more variation in length for what I model.

Nigel


On Sunday, October 10, 2021, threefootmodels via groups.io <threefootmodels=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I am going to start building some of my layout soon and considering hand laying the track in code 55. I already have the fastracks code 55 turnout jig. Is it worth going this route or just buying flex track?


Alan Kilby
 

It might be a good idea to handlay some code 70 rail for practice  before graduating to code 55 rail.Code 55 is more fragile and harder to work with.You could start with a 6" length on workbench as rails easy to handle at this length
I started handlaying track in 7th grade,what's the saying only thing to fear is fear itself.Theres a good tutorial on railway engineering website titled HOn3 handlaying track that shows how to make turnout.
Alan



From: HOn3@groups.io <HOn3@groups.io> on behalf of kevin b via groups.io <arcatruck13@...>
Sent: Monday, October 11, 2021, 5:12 AM
To: HOn3@groups.io
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Hand laying track

I am going to start building some of my layout soon and considering hand laying the track in code 55. I already have the fastracks code 55 turnout jig. Is it worth going this route or just buying flex track?

there are some things on the railroad you simply ought to hand lay period.
the rails on bridges for example.
there are, potentially, other parts of the railroad hand laid track is just not worth the effort.
for instance:
if your layout is of any size at all, and there is trackage that's more than 2 or 3 feet from where you can see it while operating, you might as well use good quality flex track.
another real good  place for flex track is inside tunnels.
a lot of making the decision, boils down to how much track are you going to have?
if your layout is small, maybe you only have a total 50 feet of actual trackage, main, sidings, everything, hand laying it all is not such a monumental task.
you can see there is a point (total distance of track) where it's just too much work to hand lay it all.

as for weathering the track etc.
same thing as laying it.
if it's too far away to see, nobody gonna know anyhow.

remember this one thing:
your railroad only has to make you happy.

have a happy day.
Kevin.




Climax@...
 

When hand laying track ALWAYS wear safety glasses too!  I don't know how many spikes went sailing out of my pushing pliers never to be seen again but I have been hit in the face by one that drew blood.  

Dave

-----Original Message-----
From: <HOn3@groups.io>
Sent: Oct 11, 2021 10:00 AM
To: HOn3@groups.io <HOn3@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Hand laying track


It might be a good idea to handlay some code 70 rail for practice  before graduating to code 55 rail.Code 55 is more fragile and harder to work with.You could start with a 6" length on workbench as rails easy to handle at this length
I started handlaying track in 7th grade,what's the saying only thing to fear is fear itself.Theres a good tutorial on railway engineering website titled HOn3 handlaying track that shows how to make turnout.
Alan
 
 

From: HOn3@groups.io <HOn3@groups.io> on behalf of kevin b via groups.io <arcatruck13@...>
Sent: Monday, October 11, 2021, 5:12 AM
To: HOn3@groups.io
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Hand laying track

 
I am going to start building some of my layout soon and considering hand laying the track in code 55. I already have the fastracks code 55 turnout jig. Is it worth going this route or just buying flex track?
 
there are some things on the railroad you simply ought to hand lay period.
the rails on bridges for example.
there are, potentially, other parts of the railroad hand laid track is just not worth the effort.
for instance:
if your layout is of any size at all, and there is trackage that's more than 2 or 3 feet from where you can see it while operating, you might as well use good quality flex track.
another real good  place for flex track is inside tunnels.
a lot of making the decision, boils down to how much track are you going to have?
if your layout is small, maybe you only have a total 50 feet of actual trackage, main, sidings, everything, hand laying it all is not such a monumental task.
you can see there is a point (total distance of track) where it's just too much work to hand lay it all.
 
as for weathering the track etc.
same thing as laying it.
if it's too far away to see, nobody gonna know anyhow.
 
remember this one thing:
your railroad only has to make you happy.
 
have a happy day.
Kevin.
 
 

 


Spike
 

Short answer is yes to hand laying turnouts and yes to flextrack in my opinion.  that's my preferred cost compromise.

Code 55 is no big deal, its what I use, and again in my opinion gives the "best" compromise for scale....

I did not buy the fastracks jig(s), but I did invest in the rail bender thingy, extremely useful, especially for the curved turnouts, and their rail filing tools.... 

Reason for no jigs..?  I use Flextrack to trace my trackwork, and layout the turnouts accordingly.  I am therefore not limited to a single turnout number... and  I do use their printed templates when laying out trackwork where I can.

Nothing can beat the satisfaction of viewing your own work, Kevins note is good, what makes you happy is gonna be your best choice.

Remember Rule #1


Spike


Brian Kopp
 

Dave I found your reference:
"Birth of a Turnout" by Jack Work, April 1963 MRR
7 page step by step article on the subject.... I will move that to my iPad for some night reading.... =)

--
Brian Kopp
Jacksonville, FL