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Adding Third Rail With Blu-tak...

Ray Von


Went about the task of adding third rail today.


I used British Finescale track for this as I've used it before with good results.  The rail is simply super glued to the sleeper parallel to the existing rail.


It was a fiddly task, but I hit upon the idea of using Blu-tak style adhesive to hold the track in place while gluing and it seems to have worked well!  The Blu-tak was removed after a couple of hours drying, and left no residue - except where it had mixed with super glue!  This combined to make a nasty immovable gum, which I'm hoping to be able to remove with a stiff brush later on....


I think I did reasonably well with the third rail around point work, at a glance anyway it looks pretty good and after a test run with an EMU, there were no derailments.


I also tidied up missing sleepers around the joins in track work, using Peco replacement sleepers (I forget the serial number...) They are intended to slip over fishplates so have a large opening to accommodate these and the rail.  In places where sleepers were missing but not near fishplates, I slid a thin piece of stiff card underneath the sleeper to raise it into contact with the rail and then applied watered down PVA to each, to hold in place prior to ballasting.











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Looking good. Having grown up on the South Coast it is good to see third rail scenarios being catered for. I bet you are relishing track painting and ballasting! Looking forward to following progress on this one. Out of interest, do you pre-bend the third rail on curves before positioning? Did you use a gauge for alignment or just eye. 

Edited by crompton
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Useful tips there. I'm looking to add third rail onto my n gauge mini layout so this will be really helpful. 

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I might have to do this next time too. I did a short stretch of glued third rail to see how effective it might be (in OO), and it worked quite well. I used heavy items to weigh it down while setting, but even so, a couple of bits moved while setting.

Previous third and fourth rail stretches I laid were on my lower level lines representing the London underground, and I fiddled around with the Peco plastic chairs; that was a back-breaking and slightly frustrating job.


P_20200617_102457_vHDR_Auto by Jeffrey Lynn, on Flickr


(No, that isn't a Southern Electric in the photo!! :jester: :jester: )

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Thanks for the positive feedback!  In answer to your questions, I'll hopefully be aerosol spray painting the track (just a generic brown) this weekend, and also gathering some beach sand - once the trackwork paint is dry I'll do a little weathering.  I'm thinking of spraying the beach sand too (white primer, brown, grey etc...) haven't tried that before but am keen to not go too dark with the ballast as I've done in the past.


With regards to the third rail, I did slightly bend the sections on curves and point work, just by running the rail between thumbnail and edge of index finger, gauged by eye.

In the past when doing larger curves I've used track pins hammered in only halfway, in a sort of staggered line either side along the length of the third rail and then applied glue.  The pins were removed the next day and the track remained nicely in place.


In other news I'm thinking of adding a fourth line, at the rear of the layout completely separate from the rest of the trackwork, but serving the same station - maybe a commuter line or parcels/mail, but at the moment it's just a thought....


Edited by Ray Von
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