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Laying Track for the Rio Grande


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Laying Flex Track
glue nail track

A thin spread of wood glue will bond the Micro-Engineering narrow gauge track to the cork roadbed. A few small nails will help hold the track in position while the glue dries. Eventually a layer of ballast will lock everything in place even more.

©2011 Ryan C Kunkle, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The track used on the Rio Grande HOn3 project layout is all from Micro Engineering. The mainline track is code 70 rail. Bridge tracks are code 55. All of the track is flexible and can be bent to the necessary curves.

In addition to the bridge track sections that come with the bridge kits themselves, seven sections of flex track and one No. 4 left-hand switch (turnout) are used.

Micro Engineering track will hold a curve once bent into the proper position, making track laying much easier. If you have never worked with flex track before, you will find these general tips useful. No matter what the scale or gauge, with proper care anyone can lay smooth reliable trackwork.

Preparing the Track

Before laying the track, take a few seconds to examine each piece for any damage. Also check the underside of the ties for any flash that could create a bump in rails. Solder power feeders onto the bottom of the rails now and they will be completely hidden once the track is installed.

Laying Track

  1. Carefully bend the track to shape, using the cork roadbed centerline as a guide.
  2. Drill pilot holes with a No. 61 drill bit in select ties to hold track spikes. The glue, and eventually ballast will hold the track. Only install enough spikes to maintain track position untl the glue dries.
  3. Apply a thin bead of glue along the centerline of the cork and smooth it with your finger.
  4. Spike the track with track nails to hold everything in place while the glue sets. Use a nail set to prevent damage to the rails.
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