I Don't Always Use Kato Unitrack...

Metro Red Line Jan 9, 2013

  1. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

    ...but when I do, it makes a nice DCC programming track :)


    I'm a Code 55 kinda guy, but I found a bin of used Kato Unitrack at a LHS, and the 9 3/4" straight piece was $1.50. Couldn't resist! So I got some 22 gauge wire, soldered them to the exposed bottom ends of the rails, ran them underneath, using adhesive caulk to keep the wires in place, drilled a hole on the side to let the wires through and connected it to my Digitrax system. Voila - instant programming track!
  2. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

    My programming track is on my Echo Yard LDE and is hand-laid code 40. However, Unitrack works perfectly in your application! I have to admit that I would probably not be able to bring myself to use it at all since I'm a code 55/40 hand-laid turnout/hand-laid code 40 track, elitist snob rivet-counter. (haha)

    Here's a photo of my programming track turned off so my son's two non-DCC Kato GS-4's can be parked on the layout without cooking them.

    Bob Gilmore
  3. videobruce

    videobruce TrainBoard Member

    Where on earth is this? Somehow I don't think that is your garage.

    That is a good idea for Kato track as I don't understand the attraction for using that, especially on large layouts. Expensive & too many rail joiners.
  4. Primavw

    Primavw TrainBoard Member

  5. joetrain59

    joetrain59 TrainBoard Member

    Wish I knew someone around here with DCC, so they could re-program(?) by Bmann 2-6-0 for better slow performance.
    Joe D
  6. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

    Haha...yeah, I WISH it were my garage! It's the restored Evanston Wyoming machine shop, next to the partially restored Evanston U.P. roundhouse and turntable. My son and I attend three shows a year, which involves breaking my layout down and transporting it to and from each show. Lots of work since I have eight modules to break down and set up.

    I won't get into the aesthetic problems with Kato Unitrack that I perceive, but the main problem for me and using DCC is that I run feeders from each section of rail to my sub-busses, then run them to my main busses. That would mean (in my wiring philosophy) that every section of Kato Unitrack would have two feeders to wire up. Feeder City dude!! Using ME 3' sections, that's only four sets of feeders (minimally) placed in the middle of each of four sections of flex per 6' module (double track mainlines).

    Bob Gilmore
  7. ns737

    ns737 TrainBoard Supporter

    I use kato track and i made so far 20 3ft. sections using the rail from atlas flex track that had broken ties. I removed the rail from the kato track then cut the ends off one end of two pieces and the ends off the middle pieces then glued them all together and then put the 3ft. rail in place and now i have 3ft. long kato unitrack sections.
  8. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

    I agree its a great use for Unitrak.

    I also used mine for a loop around the back of my water heater in my old garage to get to a second level. The only way I could get track in was to preassemble it, and slide it back there. Worked great, and the Kato rails stayed pretty clean given the difficult location.

    Considered Unitrak on my new helix, and designed it as a 19" radius for that, but couldn't come up with six turns of the stuff in time for construction......
  9. TwinDad

    TwinDad TrainBoard Member

    Good job, Metro. I did something similar. I have a Tupperware box with:

    1) 2x 9" straight
    2) 1x feeder section
    3) 1x adaptor wire from the Kato plug to two pins I can screw into my Zephyr's terminal strip quickly
    4) 1x adaptor wire from Kato plug to a stereo "headphone plug"
    5) 1x Bachmann DC throttle with power pack (which happens to use a stereo headphone plug for the track connection).

    It's a handy portable programming/test track set, just add Zephyr.

    Unfortunately, the DC throttle died, so I need to replace that. It's pretty low priority, though.

    My on-layout programming track is my engine service track in the yard. So my locos can get programmed while they're getting fueled and sanded and watered.
  10. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

    Great, i am not alone.....

    I have used a UniTrak feeder track and 2 pieces of 9 inch track on either side for years as my programming track. I even have a strip of 5 - 9 inch pieces as a programming test section. It is mainly used to test consisting or special programming. I also use an oval of Unitrak for running DC locomotives to break in before decoder installs. Much handier that on the layout.
  11. santa fe 56

    santa fe 56 TrainBoard Member

    I am curious how you formed the hills butting up to your backdrop behind the yard..... thanks.
  12. dexterdog62

    dexterdog62 TrainBoard Member

    Guess you're never gonna find out ...:rats:

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