A Model Railway From Scratch – 07: Track Laying

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Hi Grant I have just come across your channel by accident and I'm glad I did. I have just joined your club…thanks for sharing regards Tony

Dwight of Northern Star Railroad Lines says:

Don't worry about the Intro. More time for watching

david large says:

Don't forget to take off the bridging tiny wires

Kingswood Junction says:

Cutting the links on the points means you will have to use a point motor from the off to power and control polarity of the frog.

EDIT… My apologies. I've just seen your latest video and see that you are installing point motors.

LAURA says:

That dip is 'always' going to be a problem unless you fix it 'now'!

Put in an extra strut across the width under the diamond crossing to force the sundelia up.
If you can't access the other side (to screw in the wood from the other side) without dragging the whole thing out, use a pair of metal L-brackets and screw into the inside edge of the outer frame on the wall side.

Personally, I think sundelia is a poor choice of material, especially in a loft where the small air gaps in the material will allow it to expand and contract with the variable temperatures up there.

Plywood is a far better material, and much more rigid.
6mm ply would do the job better, even though it's harder to put pins in it.

I really hate to say things like this, because I recognise all the hard work you've already done… but I think you would be much more satisfied in the long run replacing the tops with ply.
It's only listening to the experiences of other modellers who have use sundelia in the past, who later regretted not spending a little extra and going for the ply in the first place.

And it's not as if I haven't made my own mistakes…. my first attempt at a layout was 'hardboard', with ripples all over it, and then chipboard, which weighs a ton!

Peter George says:

I have a mixture of insulfrog and electrofrog points and have just spent a couple of days converting the insulfrog ones to electrofrogs so that they all operate the same way, all connections are under the track (no reliance on blade contacts for continuity) and all point motors are wired up identically.  I did this by joining the outer rails to the inners as shown above, removing the two wires that Peco fit and also joining together the two legs of the V part of the frog so it becomes an A.  I used the removed wires to make these connections as they are nice and thin and solder easily to the tracks.  I then soldered a dropper to one side of the A section to connect to the polarity switch on the Seep point motor.  Finally I painted the insulated tip of the A section with silver conductive paint (Maplins N36BA) – this step is not essential but it does ensure continuity to the end of the frog and also improves the look of the installed point.

Canal Sidings Model Railway says:

Hi Grant, I have been watching all your videos since discovering your channel when you subscribed to mine. During this video I really felt for you. Discovering that you had missed those jumper wires on the points was bad enough but discovering the, and I am afraid to say it, well known Sundeala gotcha has really put a dent in your progress. I wish I had been following you from the start as I could have warned you about it. Basically Sundeala can barely support its own weight and the golden rune is to always use some other suitable sheet material under it such as ply. As this makes the whole process really expensive most people just ditch the Sundeala altogether. The problem will only get worse and trains will just look aufull running over the switchback. I am so sorry to be the barer of such bad news. I have subscribed to you and hope you can sort out the problem sooner rather than later, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,John

Andy G says:

I see that you have some "Tracksetta" guides which I thought would have ensured you got perfect straight runs. With regards your bus and dropper cable, try using tri-rated cable, this type of cable can carry higher currents which means that you can use a smaller cable diameter. You should try looking at "Dean Park" or "Everard Junction" videos on You Tube for excellent tips. I have wondered about the use of sundela as a base but like MDF it is problematic in moist or humid environments so my preferred choice for practical reasons is to use a good quality plywood covered with cork and another layer of cork for the track bed.

Alan Whitworth says:

Excellent video. I'm sure I will need you help in the future. I have lots of question relating to DCC and Train controller… could you help ?

kageypg says:

I am at the layout planning stage for a 24' x 9' loft area. I want to use Peco 75 track. My problem is that unlike Hornby track the points are not the same length as a unit of track. If one has a double track linked by points the track will thus be out of kilter at the next bend where you want to maintain parallel tracks. How do you overcome this without cutting track or using flexitrack?

catalingoilav says:

Hi Grant, great video series on your build. I am too from Canada as another comment above, and I used to do these things (in HO scale, which I think it's the same as OO) with my dad. I believe the reason for the dip in the board is the temperature differences in your loft. Thee boards tend to expand after installed even if you let them acclimatize for a while before screwing them down. What I would suggest for future projects, do not screw them down tightly from the beginning also allowing a few mils of expansion around. After a month or so, tighten them down. You will find that if everything is tight from the beginning, the tracks may buckle as well.

Newts Nest says:

I realise it’s probably a little late now but could you not have just added extra droppers and joined them under the boards? It would have saved ripping everything up.
Nice job so far though. I was tempted to use that sundeale stuff but after seeing your problems and reading the comments I just thought bugger it I’ll stick with plywood and a layer of cork! Still working my way through your videos (I’ve subscribed) and if it’s any consolation I love the fact that you show us your mistakes. Gives the rest of us (the likes of me anyway) a lot of hope! All the best Grant.

JAZZ MAN says:

I’ve just found this excellent video and subscribed. I like the easy to understand way you explain things. I’m off to watch your first video in the series. Thanks.

JAZZ MAN says:

Regarding the mistake you made with the points, I have a diagram I collected, and watched a video about the jumpers under the points, but you explained WHY it’s a good idea to join the bits under the points. I need as much detailed info like this as possible, so thanks.

Daniel Filion says:

where did you purchase those turnouts

Steve White says:

1.5 and 2.5mm sq wire! These are juicy trains, 13 amps and 25 amps…

Gonads1259 says:

Oh dear, not sundela!

Bobby Slater says:

Why are there spaces between the tracks?

Michael Smith says:

Regarding the oversize dropper wire, instead of wasting the money spent on the wire, just strip it back a little further, unwind half the strands, snip them off and recover with the removed insulation or some shrink wrap.

Steve Coster says:

HOLD THE CAMERA STILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fircombe Hall Railway OO Gauge says:

We modellers stand on the shoulders of those who come before us! An excellent video, showing warts and all. This might be an expensive option, just wondered if you sandwiched Sundeala board between two sheets of thin ply, would it prevent it warping/sagging? Still have the advantage of being able to push pins into the Sundeala after drilling a small hole in the ply. Just a random, if expensive thought. I like the idea of being able to adjust the track easily if you make an error – which I am sure I will.

john longford says:

Please forgive my ignorance but as you are using sundeala, why did you also use a cork track bed?

Phil Morton says:

The crossing tracks, in the title photo, are they proto typical of a train line? Why not just curve with parallel lines, less change of crashing.

Jim Richards says:

Sometimes wonder why some people who havn't a clue what they doing, seem to think that it is important to put out an instructional video  of "how to do it" ?.    Having said that, I will be first to say that I am far from knowing how to do all things correctly, BUT, I do make sure I read and learn before  as much as I can before attempting anything.

Buck Fitches says:

Slightly distorted and wobbly track actually looks a lot better. Its only in more recent years that laser straight high-speed tracks have been built. Pre-2000 and the tracks were always a bit skewed here and there due to the nature of it all been done by hand. These days, huge machines do all the laying and ballasting and the machines get it the same all the time.

clinton epps says:

I am on my 5th try , i have only used chipboard and mdf for the boards with 20 x 40mm framing , but i use polystyrene foam to create the layout then grass it for track , but cutting the end sleepers off isn't neede as i heat the joiners to sink it into the sleepers

the dyslexic says:

pretty lousy camera angle. why not just shut off the camera and do a voice only,… I'm assuming most people would rather see how to solder than how to strip wire…FFS

John Courtneidge says:

Thank-you. Very useful!

Best wishes,


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