Thursday, November 28, 2013

061 The Augusta Railway - The Decision is Made! We Hand Lay the Track!

I've made up my mind.  We're spiking it down by hand!  Yeah!  All visible track that is., we'll hand lay!

Lot's went into the decision.  I came across a great article on the internet about the cost of hand laid vs flex track.  They cost about the same IF you buy ties and rail.  We'll, I have a ton of rail and ties here, so the cost went down dramatically.  Also, nothing beats the look of hand laid On30 track.  This is a very small layout, so the trackwork won't take long, and some of it can be done off the layout, which is even easier.

To me, neither Peco nor Micro Engineering track is quite right.  Both are way to precision for a 30" line, and Peco ties are enormous while ME ties are too thin.  Hand lay...makes it MY WAY!

Here are the specs:

Rail - code 83 weathered ME rail on main lines, code 70 weathered ME rail on the sidings
Ties - sugar pine, dimensions TBD
Spikes - ME micro spikes or medium spikes
Application - contact cement

I'm going to use the method that Glue Bob Wheeler taught me.  He's a fantastic track man, and his work is excellent.  He used Pliobond Cement in the tube so that he can cut a slot in the tube and run a bead of adhesive along the bottom of the rail.  Once it dries he hold the rail on the ties in position and heats it with a 175 watt soldering iron which makes the glue pliable like a hot glue, and the rail is affixed in position.  Need to adjust?  No problem, just heat it back up.  I've tried it at Bob's and it works, so that is what we'll do.  Laying track should go fast.  I can do one turnout in about an hour, so we're only talking a few weeks to get the mainline done.

I'll need to make a rail gluing jig, so we'll do that first.  It is just a cradle for holding the rail while the glue sets.

Thanks Bob!  Appreciate the help!


  1. I have a feeling I know which article you're referring to. :)

    The use of pliobond to attach the rail to the ties I first saw in one of the Fasttracks videos, and the whole let-it-dry-then-reheat method seems like a fantastic idea. Another advantage of the pliobond, from what I've read, is that it's not as quite a "rigid" glue, and will allow the rail to expand and contract with temperature and humidity, without breaking the glue bond.

    I haven't heard of the trick where a slit is cut in the tube, so I'll be interested in some pics if you start using that method.

    By the way, on the topic of hand laying, did you see that Fast Tracks is having a one day only 20% off your whole order sale right? I cashed in on that and have some track laying goodies on their way now.

  2. Hey Titus! I did see the Fast Tracks sale...but since I don't use jigs and the like for hand laying (never have) they are nothing I can use. I'll show you soon how I do track and jigs required.


Thanks for your comment!