Author Topic: Model Railroading is NOT fun  (Read 4624 times)

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Chris333

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Model Railroading is NOT fun
« on: January 02, 2018, 03:36:45 PM »
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Around the summer of 2015 I started building a slightly large HOn30 layout. I was going to do the whole thing with hand laid track since no one makes flex track in HOn30. Layout was up and running great. Since I was hand laying the whole thing I used some nice smooth plywood for the sub roadbed. Well about 6 months later a bunch of solder joints kept popping and it didn't take long to piss me off so I tore the layout down.

Then around April 2017 I tried again with the HOn30 layout. This time I said screw hand laid track and I ordered a bunch of HOn30 code 60 Flextrack from Europe (by way of Japan). The track was pretty nice and I thought this would solve my problems. This time the layout is just foam with 1/8" hardboard for roadbed. Few months later I notice a bunch of rails lifted and torn out of their plastic ties. Luckily they were in hidden areas so I cut gaps and patched everything up.

Now just a figgin week later there are more problems. This track kinked over and started to lift:


Starting to lift here:


The turnouts were hand laid.



All of this is in my basement just feet away from my HCD N scale layout that has no problems. The N scale layout was built the same way. Flextrack was super glued down so it wouldn't move, handlaid turnouts. Every single joint was soldered because I can't stand the look of gaps. Yet not a single kink or lift.

So pretty much the HOn30 layout is done for the second time. I'm not putting gaps in my track that I spent so much time making gap free. Guess I'll start a O-27 tin plate layout.

I give up.

Dave V

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Re: Model Railroading is NOT fun
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2018, 03:41:49 PM »
+1
Jeez, Chris, that looks like the real RGS crica 1950 or so.  Clearly it's your benchwork that's "breathing."  The fact that you used an HCD for the N scale layout versus traditional benchwork here makes me all the more suspicious of that.

You need to get a handle on maintaining a constant humidity level in your basement.
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DKS

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Re: Model Railroading is NOT fun
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2018, 03:45:52 PM »
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Scissor expansion gaps.

Chris333

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Re: Model Railroading is NOT fun
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2018, 03:56:42 PM »
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Do I need more or less humidity?  I have humidifiers running upstairs right now. I don't like dry air. My basement is comfortable (to me) year round.

Dave V

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Re: Model Railroading is NOT fun
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2018, 04:02:40 PM »
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Do I need more or less humidity?  I have humidifiers running upstairs right now. I don't like dry air. My basement is comfortable (to me) year round.

You need constant humidity.  But what's probably happened here is that your benchwork dried out due to the extreme cold (with its low dewpoints).  You bring that cold air in and warm it up, and the relative humidity drops like a rock unless you add more water vapor.  Just physics, right @GaryHinshaw ?  So for the winter I think a basement humidifier is in order.  Your track demonstrates classic benchwork contraction due to drying out of the wood.
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GaryHinshaw

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Re: Model Railroading is NOT fun
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2018, 04:15:24 PM »
+2
Just physics, right @GaryHinshaw ?

Indeed!  :D  Now let's give Dave, the meteorologist, the homework problem: how much water does a basement full of air hold at a dew point of 50 F?  Now how about 10F?  The difference is roughly how much water you'll need to add to keep the humidity constant.

You might also work on your phobia of gaps. ;)

tom mann

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Re: Model Railroading is NOT fun
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2018, 04:17:27 PM »
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Why not gaps though?  Obviously they would have allowed the rail to expand.

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Model Railroading is NOT fun
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2018, 04:23:16 PM »
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BTW, without gaps, how do you manage block detection and centralized traffic control?  :P

DKS

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Re: Model Railroading is NOT fun
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2018, 04:25:06 PM »
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Scissor expansion gaps.

A.K.A. lap joints. They look much better than plain gaps.

jdcolombo

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Re: Model Railroading is NOT fun
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2018, 04:27:58 PM »
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Yep.  Benchwork contraction due to dry air.  No gaps means rail has no place to go except kink.  Had the same thing happen the winter after I started building my layout.  Fortunately, I saw the problem early and started adding 1/16" gaps to every track section.  Since then, zero problems.

John C.

Doug G.

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Re: Model Railroading is NOT fun
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2018, 04:31:05 PM »
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The thing is, you can't have everything stuck down so tight that there's no give. Things have to be able to move against each other.

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Chris333

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Re: Model Railroading is NOT fun
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2018, 04:36:25 PM »
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The problem with gaps is that they are gaps and you see them. When I join 2 pieces of track together and they don't become invisible I solder the joint and smooth the top of the rail. If I fill the gaps with plastic then they are no longer gaps. When I need gaps for electrical reasons I use those Dedeco .009" thick cut off discs.

I have had one of those whole house humidifiers that you mount to the furnace in my ebay watch list forever. Maybe I'll buy it and stop filling up little gallons every day.

DKS

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Re: Model Railroading is NOT fun
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2018, 04:36:59 PM »
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Unless you create a climate-controlled basement, yer gonna hafta learn to live with gaps of some sort. Such is life--it can be so cruel.

Use those super-thin cutoff discs and slice the rail on a long angle every foot or two. Not invisible, but much less noticable.

Anyway, real track often has some pretty unsightly gaps, especially on rinky-dink little lines, so what's the big deal?

 
« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 04:39:54 PM by David K. Smith »

lashedup

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Re: Model Railroading is NOT fun
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2018, 05:37:46 PM »
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We've been fighting this on modules for years, but not as bad as what you have there. 

We do have gaps at the ends of each flex track section where it joins with other rail. We also tend to use clear adhesive to put the track down as that holds, but leaves some give in the entire piece of flex track. Curves are most problematic. We've had fully ballasted stuff lift before. I think Mike cut some pretty significant gaps at one time, but they seem to have settled in a bit and aren't as noticeable.

Good luck Chris!

MVW

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Re: Model Railroading is NOT fun
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2018, 06:36:47 PM »
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Facing a similar dilemma on the Missouri Valley Western. Sometime last fall, I noticed an oversized gap had appeared between a couple sections of track. I filled the gap with a bit of styrene, figuring it would be fairly well hidden when I painted the track. Last time I ran trains (a few weeks ago), everything was cool. Then, suddenly ...



That bend is located on a portion of the layout that's actually built on a HCD. (The rest is 3/4" plywood.)

A bit "east" of this location (just off the other end of the HCD), I find this:



Almost all of the track has had its first run of ballast. This section was left unballasted because a road will be inserted here.

... as soon as I slice and dice the track, that is.  :facepalm:

This sucks.


Jim