Sunday, December 1, 2013

064 The Augusta Railway - Rail Joiners

So I'm in my favorite hobby shop the other day letting the girls ride the 7.5" gauge railroad in the back and picking up some track laying supplies.  I bring two packs of Atlas rail joiners to the counter to pay for them.

"Where did you get these?" the store owner, Randy, asks me.
"Back by the track supply shelf, why?"
He calls the other owner over, "Hey Jeff, look what he found!"
"Wow, you are lucky, where'd you get those?" says Jeff.

Dumbstruck, I spout off to the guys "don't you even know what's in your store?" and began to laugh.  I thought they were kidding me for spending so little or something.

They actually were very serious.  Apparently there is still a shortage on track and rail joiners going on.  The joiners I found had fallen off the rack and were behind some stuff.  I just happened to see them.  Guess I'll treat them like gold!

I also bought some Micro Engineering code 83 rail, weathered.  For some reason I thought I had a ton of this lying around, but it all turned out to be code 70.  Project won't be as cheap as I thought it would be.

The hidden staging area requires two more Tortoise switch machines.  Ouch at $17.00 a piece.

Here are the very rare code 100/83 rail joiners, two packs.

I found the sanding belts up in my garage shop, so I brought them down and will replace the one on my belt sander this week.

Also got a fine 120 grit sanding disk, too.

Trips to the hobby shop are getting expense.  Need to order more on line I believe.

Tonight is Sunday night and I'm tired from putting up Christmas decorations and keeping my little ones from arguing all day.  I need a no brainer project, so we'll just clip and trim the rail joiners.  We'll need the new Xuron tool, the Thayne 13 Rail Joiner Spreader, two packs of more than rare rail joiners, and a container.

The rail joiners from Atlas come four to a strip and you have to cut or trim them to get the extra length off.  I could have used Micro Engineering rail joiners with the fancy bolt bumps, but they are way too tight for my tastes, especially for hand laid rail.  My philosophy on rail joiners is that they are a mechanical connection and not to be relied on for electrical connections.  I power ever rail on the layout from underneath with its own feeder.  So the rail joiner is just to keep the rail from moving up, down, east or west.

Ouch!  While clipping the ends of the rail joiners this little Ninja throwing start stuck straight into the handle of the rial joiner spreader as it went flying through the air.  Smack!  Guess I better put on the safety glasses.  I've already had one eye injury from hand laying track, and can't afford another.

You can see the end of the rail joiner that is sticking out if you click on the photo.  That is what I'm clipping off.  It is just too long and pushes the ties out of alignment when you slide it on the rail.

I take each rail joiner and slide it up and down the spreader to make it a perfect fit, not too tight or too loose.

The rail joiners are kept in a heavy glass jar, about a 2 oz size.  The lid is wide and makes a good holder for the non-magnetic joiners.  The heavy glass helps prevent playing 52-card-pick-up on the carpet with the rare rail joiners.


1.  Safety first!  Wear eye protect while cutting anything as parts can fly
2.  Trim all Atlas rail joiners to help keep your ties in line
3.  Put rail joiners in a heavy container with a wide opening to help prevent spills

1 comment:

  1. I second the comment about the price of code 83 rail. I know when I did my "price check" a year ago I saw how much it was, but when I was at Caboose this past weekend I was surprised at how much it is (it's gone up a few cents since last year).


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