Foam, Cork, & Track

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riverotter1948

Midwest Alliance Rail Sys
I'm finally biting the bullet on layout #3 and selling off all the EZ Track (I really love those 35" radius curves!) and going with all flextrack.

I've never been able to lay curved flextrack without derailment-prone kinks in the joints, so any advice about that is beaucoup welcome.

I'm also trying out foam board instead of plywood or hardboard. Now I just need advice about methods for attaching the cork roadbed to the foam board, and then attaching the track to the cork -- keeping in mind that I expect to change aspects of the track work if I discover something that doesn't work like I thought it would on paper.

I did have a brainstorm about how to lay out the curves accurately: use the EZ Track like a template (doh!)

Thanks for any and all your thoughts!
 

CIOR

Central Indiana & Ohio RR
River,
I went back to 3/4" ply after a brief hard fought battle with foam. Needless to say I didn't like it and went back happily to ply.

I attach my cork using LocTite Power Grab. I buy the caulk tubes and it goes down nice and I can remove the track if I need to with most of the time, no damage to the ties.

Solder your track with the moving rail on the same side. Keep as many ties as you can, this will help hold the rail in gauge when you curve it.
Also, take your time. No need to hurry, it will work alot better that way.
 
I have flex track on cork roadbed over 2" foam board on a good part of my layout. I used long straight pins put in at a sharp angle to attach the roadbed and then straight pins thru the flex making sure to use every hole and angle the pins toward or away from each other. I have about half of it ballasted.

No problems with it for over 2 years. Not sure this is an approved method but it seems to work.

Good Luck
 

CIOR

Central Indiana & Ohio RR
FunValley, that is pretty much how I did it too.
The issue was with my heavier engines. My P2K SD60's would cause the foam to sag. I had a 2" piece with a 3/4" piece on top. My gridwork was 2' on center and it did cause issue after a year I would say.
I guess you needed closer spacing.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
In the beginning of my layout, I also had problems with kinks at the joints in the curves. I really wasn't aware of them until I bought a Lionel Challenger. Whoaaa! It managed to find every one of them:eek: .

Cjcrescent came over from Birmingham and showed me his method of installing flex around curves. I continue to use this method and have no more derails.

1. Start your flex around the curve with the floating rail on the inside. This will leave it longer than the outer rail at the end. Nail or secure track to roadbed.

2. Don't cut this longer rail off. Instead, insert it into the next piece of flex, pushing the inside rail of it on through.

3. Hold the new piece of track in place like you want it and see where the first inside rail reaches. At this point, trim off the little spike heads on as many ties necessary to allow the placement of a rail joiner. Also, trim spike heads where the outer rails meet to allow for joiner.

4. Back out new section's rail just enough to allow the joiner to be put in place then insert rails. Join the outer rails.

5. Secure track to layout and continue curve. Solder when finished.

The advantage to this is you now have a stronger mating of sections by stagering the joints. This, in turn, will relieve the lateral pressure on the rails and keep them from pulling to the side of the joint.

Hope you will at least try it.;)
 
FunValley, that is pretty much how I did it too.
The issue was with my heavier engines. My P2K SD60's would cause the foam to sag. I had a 2" piece with a 3/4" piece on top. My gridwork was 2' on center and it did cause issue after a year I would say.
I guess you needed closer spacing.
My 2 " foam is all mounted on 3/4" plywood on the metal studs. My elevated benchwork where I used 2" foam for sculpting terrain is mounted on 3/4" plywood and 2x4s.

I think that makes the difference for me. I was leary of foam but did it anyway and am comfy so far. I just dont trust it structurally and hope it doesnt deteriorate completely in the next 30 yrs.

Not that foam is bad or you did anything taboo just my thought.
 

CIOR

Central Indiana & Ohio RR
Your right, I am guessing the only way to get away with foam would be mounting it on ply. The issue though for me would be cost. The other issue is mounting the tortoise machines also. That would be tough. I used "CP Islands" where I put my tortoise machines and this helped, and wasn't to hard to affix to the foam.
 

CIOR

Central Indiana & Ohio RR
You know Rex, I have heard of that and always wanted to try it, but never did.
I am sure that would have been the best bet when laying the helix!
Anytime you can use staggered joints you are going to be better off.

Did you have to file out the spot for the jointer? I figured it would create a small rise in the track if it wasn't.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
CIOR: I just use a hobby knife to cut the spike heads and then run the knife under the rail to make it flat. There still is a small bulge of the rail and the tie, but it is downward and the cork or foam roadbed absorbs it. If the track was on a hard surface and no roadbed, like plywood, then you would have to shave a little more from under the rail (not much).;) :)
 
I went with regular surface switch machines I guess that detail doesnt bother me. Though I can see what you mean about undermounting them. I am lucky most of my benchwork materials and mountain making materials were all by products of my work.

Most all of my joints are all staggered like Rex described and it works really well.
 




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