These are the current SDSoNS club standards for track laying and maintenance. They refer to code 40 hand laid track and turnouts for N scale. The techniques described may be applicable to other scales such as HOn3 directly, and to other scales in general. There are also Code 40 turnout templates available at this site. With a bill of ties and instructions for hand laid turnouts.
San Diego Society Of N Scale
[ track layout ] [ roadbed ] [ track ] [ ties ]
[ tie laying ] [ soldering ] [ feeder wires ]
[ turnouts ] [ track maintenance ]
Track shall conform to NMRA standards for construction unless specifically stated herein. All track and turnouts shall be installed using the current version of the NMRA N scale gage.
- Track layout shall be as decided by the Club and under the direction of the Roadmaster.
- Any proposed changes from the track master plan shall be approved by the Roadmaster prior to any centerline layouts.
- Major changes in the layout (affecting greater than 25% of the track plan) need to be approved by a vote of the Club members at a business meeting.
- Placement of the trackage on the layout (in pencil) shall be approved by the Roadmaster prior to any construction. Paint area with a base coat of latex paint prior to centerline layout.
- Wiring and control panel requirements shall be coordinated with the Electrical Foreman prior to any construction.
- Rails shall be laid so that the centerline of the trackage matches the centerline of the ties.
- Minimum mainline radius is 24".
- Minimum passing siding radius is 24".
- Minimum radius for branchline tracks and other sidings is 12".
- Minimum distance between parallel tracks is 1 1/2".
- Straight tracks in industrial areas may be 1 1/4" apart.
- Minimum clearance from walls and other permanent fixtures shall be 2".
- Minimum distance between parallel tracks for narrow gage is 1".
- All curves shall have easement curves leading into and out from the major radius, using cubic spirals. An approximation can be used for the easement of an 1/8" offset to the centerline for curves less than 24" radius and 1/16" offset for curves greater than 24" radius.
- All vertical curves (changes in track elevation) shall be eased using parabolic spirals or the natural flex of 3/4" plywood.
- Alternate direction curves ('S' curves) shall have a minimum of 8" straight track between the starting points of the curves.
- Minimum turnout frog angle from the mainline is #8.
- Minimum turnout for yards, branchline tracks and spurs is #6.
- Minimum turnout for crossovers is #10.
- Mainline roadbed shall be raised off the surrounding surface by 1/8", using doorskin splines.
- Doorskin width is to be 1" (13.3 scale feet) minimum.
- Cut slots into doorskin to be used on curves, halfway through the width. Space slots 2" on center, from alternate sides (spaced 1" from opposite side cut).
- All track is to be laid on clean, smooth (sanded) surfaces. Fill in irregularities with Bondo and sand smooth when dry. Especially check where two flat surface pieces meet to assure that there are no dips in the surface.
- All visible track shall be Code 40 rail hand laid on wooden and PC (printed circuit) ties.
- Hidden track shall be Code 55 Rail craft flex-track.
- Rail height used in turnouts shall match rail used on surrounding tracks.
- Changes from one track height to another shall be made using styrene shims per club standards.
- Ties shall be 1/32" x 1/16" basswood, stained and cut to standard lengths.
- Mainline ties shall be 9 scale feet in length.
- Narrow gage ties shall be cut to 6 scale feet.
- All other special lengths for turnouts, etc. shall be cut in one scale foot increments.
- Each length of tie materials (wood & PC) shall be stored separately.
- Strips of ties shall be assembled in the Club jigs. Use the correct jig for the type of trackage to be laid (mainline, yard, branchline, etc.).
- After the ties are in place, attach a strip of 1/4" masking tape to the centerline of the tie strip and remove from the jig. Make only enough tie strips for your immediate needs. Tie strips must be used during that nights work session. Tie strips that are not used shall be disassembled and ties stored back in the appropriate containers.
- Every fifth tie shall be PC material, cut from Club stock.
- Where two lengths of rail meet, two PC ties shall be used together, each one supporting the end of a rail section.
- Special track work shall have its own PC tie arrangement as needed.
- Ties shall be laid onto the previously prepared and sanded roadbed using white (or yellow) glue, thinned to a working consistency of approximately 50-50 water and glue.
- Mask off the area on the roadbed that is to be ballasted along with the ties, approximately 1" wide on flat roadbed surfaces, and to edge of shoulder on raised roadbed surfaces.
- Spread glue evenly onto the roadbed, and place tie strip onto the wet glue, following the centerline of the track (or guidelines for the edges of the ties).
- Remove the masking tape strip using the club tool.
- Adjust tie placement for even spacing.
- Apply ballast over the ties and the glue surfaces approximately 1/4" deep.
- Let dry at least overnight.
- Adjacent tie strips to be applied next to any newly laid tie strip can be applied only after the previous strip has dried overnight and the excess ballast removed.
- Tops of ties shall be sanded smooth using a sanding block prior to any rail installation.
- Glue and ballast is to be below the top surface of the ties.
- After all rail is laid in the section being worked on, cut between the PC ties with a Dremel motor tool and cutoff wheel. Cuts are to be made at the center of the tie unless directed otherwise. Check for shorts with an Ohm meter.
Soldering of rails and for turnout construction shall be as follows:
- All points to be soldered shall be cleaned and have flux applied to the joint area.
- A small amount of solder is to be picked upš on the soldering iron and applied to the joint from the outside of the rails.
- No solder shall appear on the inside of the rails and the solder on the outside shall be kept to a minimum (no big blobs).
- Heat both rail and PC tie so there is a good 'hot' joint between the two.
- Allow the flux to melt and carry the solder between the rail and PC tie.
- Remove excessive solder from the joint and all solder from the railheads using soldering wick or desoldering equipment.
- Two feeder wires shall be attached to each section of rail (no matter how short), approximately 2-4" from each end.
- Feeders shall be red and white color coded. Color code is to match with surrounding trackage.
- Use a hand drill for the holes for feeder wires through the roadbed (power tools may 'jump' when they cut through the base material and the spinning chuck can damage railhead surfaces.)
- Cut the hole between two ties adjacent to the outside edge of the rail.
- Feed the wire through the hole and trim off 1/4" of insulation. Bend wire to fit to the rail.
- Tin the end of the wire with solder prior to attaching to the rail. Solder to the rail (NOT to a PC tie) with a minimum of solder.
- No solder should appear on the top or inside surfaces of the rail.
- The minimum turnout off of mainline track shall be #8.
- Ties shall be cut to the lengths described in the turnout tie list for the type of turnout to be constructed (#6, #8, etc.) and assembled in the appropriate Club jig.
- Frogs shall be cut so that there is a solid rail at the point of the frog along the straight section of the turnout, with the rail for the turnout portion dovetailed into the solid rail.
- Wide PC tie material shall be used for the turnout throw bar.
- Check all work with an NMRA Gage throughout construction.
- Point spacing and guardrail spacing are to conform to the gage standards.
- Test the turnout with a Kadee wheelset for smooth flow through the turnout.
- Turnout motors are PFM slow motion machines, mounted on separate wood block mounts for modular installation.
- Wiring for the turnout is to follow Club standards.
- Spade lugs shall be attached to all wires leading from the switch machine. Wires shall terminate at a terminal strip.
- All leads will be used for mainline turnouts.
- Yard, branchline, and industry sidings need only frog power wiring.
- After the turnout is wired, test for smooth operation with a variety of types of motive power and rolling stock to assure good operation. Adjust as necessary for optimum performance.
- All work is to be directed and approved by the Track Foreman.
- The Roadmaster shall set up standard practices and patterns for maintenance.
- The Track Foreman shall set up procedures and work schedules.
- The Track Foreman shall report progress or difficulties to the Roadmaster.
- Track and turnout crews will be separate.
- Work that is completed when the Track Foreman is not present shall be noted on a SDSONS work form.
- Foreman shall initial work completed when the work has been checked and approved.
- Trackage shall not be put into general service until it is approved.
- All existing turnouts shall be converted to the new tie arrangement, and shall have wide PC throw bars.
- Marginal PC ties or PC ties that cannot hold solder shall be replaced.
- Joints to be resoldered shall be cleaned thoroughly, using lacquer thinner and a 'Q-Tip'.
- Track that has been repaired shall be weathered to match surrounding tracks.
Top of Page:
Send questions about SDSONS to: SDSONS
Send me email about the web site to: WebMaster
Tuesday, 22 October 2013
Since 02-Oct -00
--Back to SDSONS--