laying flexitrack

C

Cyclone

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10 May 2011
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Staffordshire UK
Hi

I need some advice on laying flex track (peco).
In particular the curves.
Should I start a curve with a new piece of track or have a straight bit then curve, if you see what I mean.

Any other advice greatly appreciated.
 
bobg

bobg

Registered
3 May 2010
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Middle Earth
Hi

I need some advice on laying flex track (peco).
In particular the curves.
Should I start a curve with a new piece of track or have a straight bit then curve, if you see what I mean.

Any other advice greatly appreciated.
Not sure I completely do, but here goes. I dont find it necessay to start a fresh length at the start of a new curve, in fact it is often easier to maintian the curve and avoid a kink if you dont. The best curves dont just 'start', they form from a transition, or start slowly, and build up and then straighten out slowly as well. Not always easy to achieve in scale and not essential if you're not after a high speed run.

I find the major diffiiculty with flexi-track, is my head. It wont stop thinking in 'set track'. Crack that and you're on a winner!
[edit]
I do trim the 'long' rail end after the the curve has straightened, so the joints line up again but if the joint occurs in the curve I leave it as it helps to maintain the curve better.
 
chris m01

chris m01

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I would agre with Bobg in terms of trying to have a transition curve if you have space. It really does look better and I like to think it is better for reliable running as the change in direction is not so sudden.

The one additonal piece of advice I would give is don't use flexi track for tight curves. I have found that it is very hard to get a smooth, consistant curve when the radius is tight and this will cause problems. Much better to use some sort of set track solution for any tight bits.

So far as I am aware they don't do those curve set things (tracksetta?) in 45mm.
 
bobg

bobg

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Tighter curves are achievable if you use a rail roller or mini 'jim-crow', but as Chris suggests care must be taken. I have 'curved' my lengths even though my minimum radius is 4ft.
[edit]
If using a jim-crow then try to only curve the inside rail, leaving the outer one to find it own way. That way if you get a little over-zealious with the jim-crow it will have less adverse effect.
 
C

Cliff George

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24 Oct 2009
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My number one tip when using flex track is to always stagger the joints. I know this is not prototypical but it makes trains run better and track to look better, no/reduced kinks.

I don't know how easy this is to do with Peco flex track, I've only ever done it with Tenmille and LGB flex track.

I try and get the joiners staggers mid way between each other on each rail.

Rail clamps help as well when using flex track.
 
bobg

bobg

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I dont find it too much of a probem with Peco Cliff, but then I do fix my track panels down with 6 pins per yard, two at each end and one either side down the length. Sometimes an extra 1-2 if it's at all troublesome.
 
JRinTawa

JRinTawa

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25 Oct 2009
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Hi

I need some advice on laying flex track (peco).
In particular the curves.
Should I start a curve with a new piece of track or have a straight bit then curve, if you see what I mean.

Any other advice greatly appreciated.
My preference is for starting the curve part way though the length of track - "have a straight bit then curve" as you say - and if your length of flex track is not long enough to get around the curve in a single length then as suggested staggering the rail joints is a good idea. I've used this practice both on HO and G trackwork with good results. :)
 
stockers

stockers

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Staggered rail joints are quite common on full size narrow gauge. They were certainly evident on the Harz lines. Not all the time, but definitely used.
 
duncan1_9_8_4

duncan1_9_8_4

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25 Oct 2009
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they are a ruddy nightmare, fixing as corners outside. i did it with some degree of sucess, but its very hard getting a seamless joint on the fish plate that is not jagged, as i have a concrete base. good luck!
 
bobg

bobg

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If it's just the joints that are being a problem then the jim-crow is ideal to put a 'set' in the last couple of inches either side of the fishplate.
[edit]




A tiny tweek is needed about every sleeper, unless a tight curve is needed, then add an extra one between sleepers. It's a bit slow and labourious, and you must remember to shuffle the sleepers up now and again, but it works.
 
J

jacobsgrandad

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24 Oct 2009
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I've got about 200yards of peco track and have followed much of what has been said above. My minimum radius is 4ft so cannot comment below that. My curves start partway through a lengh as then the transision curve appears automatically. I let tthe joins stagger through the curve unless the difference is too great . I found that if you dont fasten any of the curve down until it is finished you dont get any kinks. My way was to lay each lenth to the approximate curve, stick a brick on till I was ready to add the next lenth then repeat. In this way the track takes its own natural curve and is not forced. I found peco track so easy and quick to lay.
 
ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
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I agree with everthing that's been said so far. I found I had to replace the rail on one of my curves as I got the dreaded kink, even though I had staggered the joints. In the end I cut the rail back until the 'straight bits' either side of the curve and replaced it with a single length. So, to answer yor question - try if possible to avoid having a joint on a curve. If that means cutting the rail slightly before the curve starts so you cn go through the entire curve with one length of track, then it's worth it. If your curves are longer than a length of rail then go for all the suggestions made so far.

Here are a couple of before and after kink pix from my blog....





The new joints are roughly at the edges of the second pic. The old 'kinked' joint was roughly in the middle of the curve.

Rik
 
bobg

bobg

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I agree with everthing that's been said so far. I found I had to replace the rail on one of my curves as I got the dreaded kink, even though I had staggered the joints. In the end I cut the rail back until the 'straight bits' either side of the curve and replaced it with a single length.
With my little jim crow you could have carefully removed the kink, even in situ. :clap:
 
W

Westcott

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bobg

bobg

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bobg

bobg

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Try the one for 90lbs! :bleh::bleh:
 
M

MR SPOCK

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I got two curve templates from Marcway for 45mm track one is twelve foot radius and the other is fifteen, but they do other rtadius as well, makes life a lot easier and takes out the guesswork, I use tranitions from twelve down to eightfoot radius, I dont find that I have to cut too much off, and I find brass wood screws as fixings a lot more dependable than pins as they dont jump out , peco track dont need any special tools to bend it, but if it has been used before a good tip I was shown is to lightly spray with WD 40 this helps it bend easier,
I would agre with Bobg in terms of trying to have a transition curve if you have space. It really does look better and I like to think it is better for reliable running as the change in direction is not so sudden.

The one additonal piece of advice I would give is don't use flexi track for tight curves. I have found that it is very hard to get a smooth, consistant curve when the radius is tight and this will cause problems. Much better to use some sort of set track solution for any tight bits.

So far as I am aware they don't do those curve set things (tracksetta?) in 45mm.
 
ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
9,628
195
Cheshire
www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
With my little jim crow you could have carefully removed the kink, even in situ. :clap:
Bob
Have you considered going into mass production? I sure could do with something like this but haven't the skills or the equipment to make one myself.

Rik