Progress at last

After almost a year in the doldrums I finally decided on a track plan for the modules. The sleepers are all Kappler sugar pine narrow gauge sleepers. The ones on the ends are standard and the rest are low profile or wood dowels – some 3mm or 6mm dowels cut in half. The dowels are currently soaking in a black ink/IPA mix to grey them up a bit. I had to add some ply tops to put the track on. I just had enough offcuts and plastic blocks to screw it all together robustly for a level surface. My track laying is dodgy at best so this time I’m trying to do it properly – sanding the ties flat etc.

The first module is a run through with the track through a swamp on stilts (using whole 6mm balsa dowels). This module is reversible so I can either have the wave or a curve:

Wave formation

I’m laying the last module first as it is the most complicated and then rotating the modules so before laying the next one so that they line up. This is module two and has a few more swampy sections. It doesn’t need to be reversible so the track goes from the middle to an edge:

Middle to edge

None of the first two modules have turnouts on but this one has one to a siding ending in a workshop for hi-railing vehicles. The track runs across a small creek and has a mix of sleepers. This one is also reversible:

Reversible module

The fourth module is the one with the track on it. It is not reversible and ends up in a cente placed track. It has a dual gauge track splitting into standard and narrow gauge. The standard gauge crosses the narrow gauge. I’ve had a lot of thoughts about track here. I wanted the narrow gauge and standard gauge to have different rails and sleepers to emphasise the difference between the two. The narrow gauge track is a tad light; it’s code 70 as that’s what I already have. I laid it on my original circular logging layout and a bit on my bordello diorama. The first ran alright although a little tight on the curves. The diorama doesn’t run but then it’s not supposed to. The sleepers are all over the place and some spikes stick up too much and so the wheels run on the spikes rather than on the rail.

That has worried me for the layout as all sorts of rolling stock may run over a module. I used Micro Engineering small spikes which seem a bit large. Having mulled it over a lot and considering this is for module running, I’m planning on using pliobond contact cement which you can paint on the ties and rail in some places. The details can be found on the Fast Tracks website here, here or here. Normally you only get one shot but a video I saw implied you could heat it with a soldering iron and move it. I’ll have to practice.

Crossover

From the other direction:

Modules lai out

Modules

The standard gauge track should have tie plates and be code 125 track at least but I haven’t found any flat bottom rail in the UK at code 125 and the sleepers I have are narrow gauge ones so although they are called standard, they aren’t wide enough to put a standard gauge track on it. I can use the narrow gauge long turnout ones that I have and cut them down. It does make them easier to make the track the same height for the crossing. I also want to get some tie plates and I may try etraxx’s ones on Shapeways – they are 3D printed. Still thinking it all through.

Crossover module

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