How to avoid damage to track with removable base boards.
Posted 14 November 2017 - 18:59
Posted 14 November 2017 - 19:13
First off, make sure the ends of the track are lined up with the gap. Where I have two boards join, I stupidly cut the rails incorrectly meaning they overhang the gap by a couple of millimetres which means I have to be careful when removing the board not to snag the rails and lift the track up. Fortunately it is on a board which should only require removal in extreme cases.
For another joint on a lift out section where the door to the train room is, I've trimmed back 3-4 sleepers, and soldered the rails to copper clad circuit board (the sort with the rows of copper track and holes every 2.5mm) which is pinned to the board. Being in a hidden area and not scenic, for me the neatness of soldering didn't matter, although soldering was on the outside of the rails only so there was no chance of fouling flanges. One thing to ensure is that if if the rows of copper run from side to side, then you will electrically bond the rails, hence the copper needs to be cut using a cutter, drill bit or sharp knife blade. Once done, no fishplates are needed as the rails are firmly in place and line up when the boards are in place. If you are doing this in a scenic section, the same method is used in the construction of track too, so there should be a load of resources on doing a neater job than I needed to!! Hope that helps!
With regards to lining up the boards, you can use cabinet makers dowels or similar to line the boards up, and some sort of toggle and catch to hold them in place.
Posted 14 November 2017 - 19:55
Instead of panel pins I prefer brass screws. You can adjust the height of the head of the screw to all but touch the underside of the rail before soldering, but pins work well too.
Edited to add that this probably proves I am more adroit with a screw driver than a hammer.
Edited by Andy Hayter, 14 November 2017 - 20:18 .
Posted 15 November 2017 - 00:56
My 8ft 6ins x 7ft 6ins DCC layout Crewlisle is on three inter connected levels with the mid level continuous run representing the WCML with OLE. To get all my design in such a relatively small area, all my track is curved where it passes over the baseboard joints so it would have been unwise to use the standard method of soldering track to copper clad Paxolin at the baseboard edges due to the track having to be cut at very shallow angles ‑ especially running trains at realistic speeds on the WCML! The slightest misalignment would be disastrous.
The track & foam underlay (2mm polystyrene wall insulation) were laid over the joint, but the foam was not stuck 80mm either side of the baseboard joint. The track was cut 80mm each side of the baseboard joint with a razor saw and the short section lifted out and reinforced with thin card on the underside & ballasted. The rail ends of this section were carefully filed, rail connectors soldered to one end and sleeper chairs cut at the other end to allow the fitting of sliding fish plates. This allowed accurate and reliable track alignment & electrical continuity every time by having the track continuously joined with normal rail connectors.
I have been exhibiting for over 30 years & have had no trouble with this method of connection. I even have three points on the high level & a pair of crossover points (not cut) on the mid level WCML fitted across baseboard joints in the same way. The baseboards themselves are aligned with cast brass hinges with their hinge pins replaced by 50mm x 1.5mm steel pins bent at one end to make them easy to remove.