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Author Topic: track support on inclines, especially curves  (Read 3700 times)

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« on: April 01, 2010, 11:52:18 PM »

I am struggling with how to support my ho track as i ascend and descend on the curved incline on opposite ends of my layout. I am only elevating to 1 and1/4 inches and back to flat. I am using cork roadbed under the track. I have 22 degree radius on my turns. I am having trouble fabricating something suitable, (although i have much experience as a woodworker),  that will support the cork on the turns. Do i need to use roadbed under the track on the curves? It would be much easier just to make supports at each joint if not? What do you guys do?  thanks in advance, david
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2010, 01:08:40 AM »

We used to support the track with plywood cookie cutter style. Our layout was open frame, L girders made of 1x4's capped with 1x2's. Every 16" we would have a 1x4 running across screwed in from the 1x2/1x4 L girder that was supporting it. The 1/2" plywood would be about 1/2" bigger on each side than the tracks it would support. these would be supported by t shaped supports made of 1x4's and 1/1's that were screwed into the 1x4's that crossed the layout. These could be adjusted in height to accommodate any grade.

t shaped plywood supports of 1x4 and 1x1
ll-           ll-             ll-            ll-             ll-
ll----top of 1x2------ll-----------ll-----------ll--
1x4 with 1x2 on top

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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2010, 10:07:53 AM »

If this is your first layout, my recommendation would be to forget the grades.  If you are determined and have planned the framing to support the sub-roadbed, then the cookie cutter method that PD talked about is probably the easiest.   Go to your LHS and buy a book on building benchwork.  Kalmbach has a good one called "Basic Model Railroad Benchwork."  The Atlas trackplan books have basic carpentry info, too, and you may find something at your library.

If you haven't really gotten started, Woodland Scenics sells a benchwork "system" called SubTerrain that uses some variety of extruded foam.  Although the individual parts seem sort of flimsy, the finished benchwork is surprisingly strong and light.  The local club used some of the SubTerrain parts and we were very satisfied with the results.  You can check it out here:   

Hope this helps.

Just workin' on the railroad.

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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2010, 10:41:52 AM »

Also, keep in mind that 3/4 plywood makes for good structure supports.   Rip it into 2",3",4",etc.  strips instead of using 1x material; it'll be more stable.
It is best to have plywood support under the entire track, not just at the joints.   This way you can also add a little super-elevation (outside edged raised slightly) on the curves to make everything roll smoother.

Dave Mason

D&G RR (Dunstead & Granford) in On30
 “In matters of style, swim with the current;
 in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”   Thos. Jefferson

The 2nd Amendment, America’s 1st Homeland Security

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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2010, 02:52:38 PM »


       I STRONGLY recommend you look into using the Woodland Scenics stryrofoam inclines and risers.    Inclines are the pieces that start and finish the grades and the risers are the flat sections.   You can use this and glue your cork to the styrofoam with Elmers Carpender's glue,  the yellow glue from Elmers.   When it is time to put down the track you can glue it down or,  drill holes in the ties where the pre-drilled holes are but to one side and then the other,  alternating sides.   Then take regular Atlas track nails or other longer nails,  putting them thru the newly drilled holes,  thru the cork and then into the styrofoam.   By using offset holes the nails bite into the cork and not the split down the middle of the cork pieces.   This method will hold well.  I have used it on my On30 railroad and I run two engines that weigh in excess of 5 pounds a piece and the track does not move.   Once you apply ballest the track will be cemented into place and then nothing moves for sure.

Bob Rule, Jr.
Hatboro, Pa
In God We Trust
Not so much in Congress

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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2010, 09:01:41 PM »

my method is a little more difficult to build, but you are a woodworker so it shouldn't be a problem for you. i cut and piece everything together from pieces of 1x4 white pine. the photos below show how it's done.

as you can tell by the photos, i also lay my own track. white pine has the advantage of being easy to spike into, yet provides a firm hold ofor the spikes.

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
A Derailed Drag Racer

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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2010, 09:24:53 PM »

I use 1/2" plywood on L-girder framing. The risers support the plywood and the plywood will find it's own easement into the incline.

Check out the pictures in this thread.,8740.30.html


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