Track Help

Making Soldered Track

Written by David Head. Posted in Track Help


This tutorial will get you going making your own soldered track. All you need are N scale rails, circuit board strips and a lot patience!

  1. Get some circuit board sleepers. I buy it in strips for the Model Railway Craftsman. Cut them up into sleeper lengths.
  2. Get your rail. I buy at shows cheap gt "N" scale track. Take it home, rip off the sleepers and I have code 80 rail.
  3. I then make a jig to hole the track in a straight alignment, ie a flat long length of wood.
    See the image to the right for a hand jig.
  4. check the roadbed for level. When you lay your track it will take on and deformity, so check first.
  5. Take the half track to the layout. Test fit it by putting on layout, join to another bit of track, then easing it into the shape you want, be it by eye, following a pencil mark on the baseboard, by using curve templates etc.
  6. Satisfied, I glue it down with normal white glue. to hold the track in place, tape it, clamp it, put weights on the sleepers.
  7. To then lay the next rail I then solder it into place. Again using roller gauges and weights to hole the rail roughly in gauge, I do the soldering using my NRMA gauge form one end, moving slowly sleeper by sleeper.
  8. I recheck the gauge. Then again. Next I cut with a triangle file ( you could use a Dremel) a insulating gap in the sleepers. I try to stagger this cut, never down the middle all the time,often try to go for the outside side to hide it , so to speak.
  9. I use a multimeter to check I have indeed cut the track and insulated it.
  10. Next I use a small level and sleeper by sleeper check the level. IT is it out, I use a knife to pry the sleeper off, not all off, adjust level thus, re-glue a bit. I might stick a bit of cardboard under one end of the sleeper. This might also be a method to super elevate the track if desired.
  11. Put in wire droppers.
  12. Get your supply of dummy sleepers, I'm going to cut balsa ones, or you could use plastic strips and glue then in place.
  13. Paint the whole lot in your favourite base colour, I suggest some shade of brown. I'll be using a lighter brown to show fade, as to me wooden sleepers are more grey than brown, and not black !

    Of course wipe the rails to clean them after painting. Some might say give the rails a light oil to stop paint, but just as easy to wipe immediately after painting.
  14. Done.


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