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Author Topic: Flex Track pro's & con's  (Read 5299 times)
Roget

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« on: November 02, 2009, 09:50:58 PM »

I am trying to determine the pro's & con's of using flex track almost exclusively for my layout.
I am planning on using Atlas code 55.
I like the idea of not being tied to the sectional radius & not having so many joints, but wonder if I will encounter problems I have not anticipated.
Any help will be appreciated.
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en4cer

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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2009, 11:15:38 PM »

I just built a Christmas town with HO scale flex track exclusively, only added two rerailers on opposite sides. I opted out of using a terminal section in favor of using powered jointers. I run a 0-4-0 steam loco with tender and it runs very smooth.  As for any cons I would have to say trimming the flex track when curving them is a bit tricky as the cuts need to be as straight as possible so the joints fit right. Aside from that I would say running flex track is the way to go.
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nollid51

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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2009, 03:54:13 AM »

I use all code 80 flextrack. The main obstacle is learning how to solder, but it really is not difficult and once you master it you can lay track quickly and efficiently.  The benefit of smoother running more and realistic trackwork is worth it IMHO. The sectional tracks are just too toy like.
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skipgear


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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2009, 01:26:45 AM »

Sectional -

Pro's -
 Easy to lay.
 Stays in gauge better.
 Slightly more durable.
 Easier for trial and error layout design.

Con's -
 Limited radius options (not so bad with Atlas C55)
 Natural looking easements not easy to accomplish.
 Eventually you will have to cut something to make it fit.
 More track joints.
 More electrical weak spots at the track joints.
 More chance for missallignment at track joints.
 More chance for derailment at track joints.

Flex-track -

Pro's -
 Unlimited radius options.
 Easements and flowing track much easier to create.
 More freedom to design what you want.
 Fewer track joints and fewer problems.
 
Con's -
 Track laying learning curve steeper.
 Soldering skills needed for rail joiners in a curve.
 Must cut track to fit.
 Must plan ahead a bit more when laying track.

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Tony Hines

Modeling the B&O in Loveland, OH 1947-1950
NarrowMinded


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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2009, 02:37:01 AM »

Flex is the way to go, don't forget cheaper per-foot.

Tips
1. use stick pins to hold track in postion while finding cut locations.

2. where ever possible solder joints with track straight then flex it.

3. make sure joiners are soldered well inside and out, trim excess solder away with a exacto blade if needed.

NM
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nearboston

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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2014, 08:56:21 AM »

Two Questions on Flex Track

1) What is the tightest radius that one can reasonably expect using flex?  I am building a traction/trolley layout and curves are very tight: R=10"-12 "

2) I have read where some users disassemble the rail from the ties and use a rail bender to aid in making curves.  What is the opinion on this?

Thanks in advance
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Stevelewis

That IS Flying Scotsman (Not a photshop!!)


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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2014, 01:24:12 PM »

As  a  modeller  in  scales  from  Z  to  G scale and   more  years in modelling  than I  care  to remember , started in  the  early  60s!,  I would  suggest  that  using  flexible  track  is  the  way  to  go!

Flex gives  you  full freedom to plan your  layout,  you  are  unrestricted  by  the  Geometry  of  setrack

AND the  big  advantage  is  it looks  more  realistic,

After all  you  dont  see many  exhibition  layouts  that  use  setrack do you?  ( at  least  over  here in the UK  I  haven't)
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STEVE LEWIS   North  WALES   UK

Close  to  the  Great  Little  Trains  Of Wales!!
Desertdweller

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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2014, 05:47:15 PM »

I have an N scale model railroad that uses both flex track and EZ Track.  Flex track is certainly cheaper, although you will need to use some form of roadbed under it, unless you are modeling unballasted trackage that is laid directly on the ground.

The thing to remember with flex track is to solder your track joints before bending the curves.  Also, don't remove any more than a couple ties at the joints (Better yet, cut the ties horizontally beneath the ties to clear the rail joiner).  The flex track depends on the ties to maintain track gauge.  If you start taking away ties, especially at a track joint, you will wind up with a kinked joint.

Another thing you will discover as soon as you make your first curve:  The rail on the inside of the curve is going to wind up a lot longer than the rail on the outside of the curve.  You are going to have to shorten that inside rail somehow.  It is easy to get the length wrong.

I would fasten the track down, even temporarily, and be very careful before cutting.  There are flush-cutting pliers made for this, but I personally use a Dremel tool with a cutoff disc.  Cutting pliers are apt to leave a rail end that tapers to a point, but the Dremel tool will take a slice out of the rail, especially if using one of the extra-thick, break resistant discs.  Be sure to wear eye protection whatever methos you use.

Les
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Piyer


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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2014, 08:01:53 PM »

Two Questions on Flex Track
1) What is the tightest radius that one can reasonably expect using flex?  I am building a traction/trolley layout and curves are very tight: R=10"-12 "
2) I have read where some users disassemble the rail from the ties and use a rail bender to aid in making curves.  What is the opinion on this?
Thanks in advance

Nearboston, what scale are you modeling in? This thread (from 2009) is on the N-scale forum, and 10-12" radii are not very tight in this scale. In HO-scale, those radii shouldn't be a problem for flex-track, and you can probably go a little tighter than that.

A rail bender's usefulness would depend on the rigidity of the rail you are bending. And, if you are going to go through the trouble of removing the rail from the ties, then you might as well buy rails & ties and hand lay the curved track (or all of it!).
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~AJ Kleipass~
Actively modeling in N, HO, and 2-rail O scales.
Country Joe

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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2014, 11:47:20 AM »

Two Questions on Flex Track

1) What is the tightest radius that one can reasonably expect using flex?  I am building a traction/trolley layout and curves are very tight: R=10"-12 "

2) I have read where some users disassemble the rail from the ties and use a rail bender to aid in making curves.  What is the opinion on this?

Thanks in advance

Piyer is correct, you don't need a rail bender for N or HO track. Rail benders are used for G scale track. The rail and ties are sold separately in G. The rail is very heavy and hard to bend by hand. N and HO track can be bent to very tight radii very easily. Even O gauge, like Gargraves track, can be bent by hand, though it is more difficult than the smaller scales.
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LV LOU

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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2014, 09:56:14 PM »

 I've seen a piece on N half an N track,bent around a 50 cent piece,used the coin for the inner rail,and a Dockside loco ran on it,worlds smallest railroad..So,yeah,you can put a tight radius on N track..
   I wouldn't be caught using anything but flex..The only downsides are skill needed to bend it smoothly,cut it correctly,and solder it solidly..All those skills are needed to be a model railroader,and should be developed..It's all just modeling..
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GRASHLEY

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« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2014, 09:23:11 PM »

I just completed an N scale layout - my first ever "real" layout.  I used flex track.

9 inch radius is no problem.  6 inch or smaller is certainly possible.

You MUST solder joints on curves or they WILL misalign and cause derailments.  I suggest soldering the first two pieces  before installation.  I attached the track to the layout to about 2 inches from the track end.  Pin the end of the track in position and cut the long rail.  Pull the pins so the track tension is released and solder the next length to the existing track while both are straight.  Attack this length to the layout and repeat.  Joints on straight sections do not need soldered.  There are no forces trying to change the track alignment.

Flex track looks MUCH better than sectional track with many fewer joints and more design flexibility.
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