Laying Atlas track

Bill Oleneack Nov 30, 2021

  1. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Not if you use T-pins. You use them completely different than track pins. You don't put them through holes in the ties. You use them to brace flex tracks against the rails and the horizontal "T" part clamps the rail head, and thus the ties, against the road bed. Or for sectional tracks you just use them to clamp the rail head down though this method doesn't work well for Kato Unitrack. Then again traditional track nails won't either.

    The beauty of using T-pins is you can use as many or as few as needed and at whatever location you want.
     
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  2. Tony Burzio

    Tony Burzio TrainBoard Supporter

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    I use Woodland Scenics Foam Tack, spread very thin. It dries in about 5 minutes in a warm room, and can be removed by soaking with warm water. Cork gets glued the same way. Keep the glue cool until ready to use.
     
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  3. James Fitch

    James Fitch TrainBoard Member

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    Either way, T-pins or track nails, they are both temporary. But with the T-pin method, you are gluing the track down separately from the ballast - gluing twice. I'm using OSB for my mainline and T-pins might be hard to press into OSB or plywood. I use Homasote for yard so ME spikes were good there. All old school. No foam here and no adhesives so far:

    The cardboard guard rails in the first photo are just temporary for testing track before scenery goes in.

    The second photo is all the mainline cork down, Atlas track nails so when I laid it, it was secured immediately - no waiting for adhesives to cure. Same with the track - down and no waiting.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Ah! I forgot about the old school way of OSB or plywood and no foam. Yeah, that would suck with T-pins. :ROFLMAO:
     
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  5. Jim Reising

    Jim Reising TrainBoard Member

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    Oakville uses the tried and true latex caulk method - but you need to ballast the track or it will move on you. In a staging area this is not generally an issue but in visible areas it can happen...once you have ballasted all is well and it won't move (unless maybe you have drastic temp and humidity changes).
     
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  6. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    I think some of us forget to differentiate between laying track on foam and laying track on a hard surface like plywood or particle board. I know I do. I mean, track nails probably aren't the best on foam. They are only about a half inch long.

    That being said, the first "permanent" layout I had, back in 1963, was the beaded styrene layout I had for my Treble-O-Lectric trains (seen in my avatar and website) and I just used regular straight pins, about 1" - 1.5" long and they held the track in position fine.

    On plywood, if you nail the track down, it is going nowhere at all. When I use nails, I first drill a hole with a bit that provides a friction fit for the nail and just push the nail in with pliers instead of hammering.

    Doug
     
  7. Tony Burzio

    Tony Burzio TrainBoard Supporter

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    If you use FoamTack the rails won’t move in 5 minutes but can be removed with hot water. No pins, no latex caulk, nothing.
     
  8. James Fitch

    James Fitch TrainBoard Member

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    For yard area's foam can be a logical option but for mainline where landscape may rise or fall below the grade of the track, using plywood, OSB or spline, makes more sense for a solid roadbed for a single or double track line, at least on layouts larger than a 4x8 or so. In cases with a wood subroadbed, adhesives may be used but holding track in place might be best done with weights. Track nails or spikes can be used because the substrate will hold them solid. Pins would require extra effort as they cannot be hammered into plywood or OSB.

    I read about Homasote for years in the magazines, and when I built my first layout, tried it and liked it for laying yard track. As the British say, it does what it says on the tin, or as the users have reported for many years; it holds spikes well (or track nails). I first used it in the late 80's and 3 layouts since.

    As for track outside of yard area's, I've followed the tried and true method (apparently now old-school) of building mainline subroadbed using plywood or OSB wood on risers. That way I can control the geometry, the vertical easements and grades with controls such as elevation above the benchwork. I have used Atlas track nails to fix the cork roadbed to the wood surface with the inside split edge on the center-lines I draw (including easements). I hammer a track nail about every 3 inches on straight sections about about every 2 inches on curves. I usually pre-drill a hole which allows the nails to be driven in without bending them; it takes a few seconds each to partially pre-drill the hole.

    What I like about nailing the cork down is it is down right away - no waiting for adhesives to cure. This expedites the process and since I don't get liberal amounts of hobby time, this helps progress. Same goes for the track, nail it down on the cork seam/center-line. Down right away, no waiting. And if any revisions need to be made, I can pull the nails out with needle nose plyers to make changes if needed. It would be more difficult if the track were glued down, at this stage of track laying and with the fragile code 83, easy to damage or rip the rail out of the tiny molded spike heads trying to pull the track up from adhesives.

    For me, anyway, I have a good comfort level with the methods I described above. For me easier to correct mistakes too, at that stage. As for nail heads on ties, after ballasting the nails can be removed and nail holes filled with a tiny dab. When painted and weathered, it all disappears.

    A disadvantage I would see with foam landscape is you have to cut away and throw away a lot of foam material. If you used cardboard strips and plaster cloth, waste is minimized.[/quote][/QUOTE]
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2021
  9. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    To this point I have only laid track on my test layout which I did on foam. When I start the real layout I'll experiment with foam and no foam on strips of plywood on risers for most of the mainline like James mentioned but I'll still continue to glue the cork and track down as I'm really happy with the ease, quickness and results of using that method.

    I kept going back to Joe's videos on track laying on his Sayrehurst Secondary layout. You can find one of his videos that I used ( HERE ) along with links to others.



    I'm old but still have ambitious plans for what I'm going to do so need to get a lot of track down fairly quickly and he does that and I like the results so will continue to follow his example. Here is a link to ....

    [​IMG]

    ... the test track that I'm basically done with showing his methods also....

    http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/UP Canyon Division/page-5.html

    Sumner
     
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  10. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    I agree with everything here.

    Back in the seventies, I built a double decker layout using Homasote and it was fine. It was inspired by the New York & Quebec project railroad in the 1968 - 1969 issues of MR and I used the same techniques throughout, even down to the modular wiring system.

    My current layout is a 4 X 8 on plywood. I considered foam but got a discount on the plywood at Menards where I worked part time a couple of years until retirement in 2015.

    Doug
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2021
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  11. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I'm hoping that Kato Unitrack glued on pink foam on a Hollow Core Door in a climate-controlled room will work okay. Too late for me to change plans now.
     
  12. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    I don't see any issue with that Hardcoaler.
     
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  13. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah, I actually have nothing against foam because, as I said, my first real layout was expanded styrene beads (like they make inexpensive coolers from) made by Life-Like for Montgomery Ward. My present layout would have been a lot lighter to move from Rochester to here.

    But, like I also said, I would just stick the track down with pins.

    :D

    Doug
     
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  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I prefer just using appropriate nails to hold my track. This allows for some minor movement, should the room environment change a bit. (Temperature, humidity.) Ballast then adds some further stability.
     
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  15. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Looking at the pictures posted in this thread previously showing track that was nailed down, I note that the nails are quite visible. Maybe not a big concern if one is like the many who, for one reason or another, do not ballast their track or have no scenery at all. But if you are not in that crowd then those nail heads sticking up present an aesthetic issue. They are almost as bad as feeder wires soldered to the web part of a rail. It just draws one's attention to it. Solder the feeders to the underside of the rail.
     
  16. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    The nails are not noticeable at normal viewing distance and most of us are not taking close-up pictures of our layouts.

    Doug
     
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  17. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    By "normal viewing distance", you mean three feet? Yeah, they are.
     
  18. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    No, 3.21417865 feet.

    Doug
     
  19. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Actually....3.14159265. Ask DCESharkman. Just sayin...:p
     
  20. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    I don't feel like a piece of Pi tight now.

    :D

    Doug
     

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