In this video, Stephen Priest discusses how he details track on his HO scale Emporia Subdivision of the Santa Fe model railroad with Allen Keller. Having worked in the engineering department for the Santa Fe railroad, Stephen Priest realized that railroads put a different amount of money into each track depending on its use, duty, and potential return on investment.
Mainline tracking is generally very well maintained and sits on a nice, firm ballast. The secondary track, such as industrial siding generally is a little less maintained. This means the tie spacing may be farther apart, and older or jointed rail may be used. Industry track is generally the poorest maintained because it only handles a few cars a day.
Details West has provided Stephen with many excellent detail parts to detail trackage including angle bars used to hold jointed rail or sectional rail together. On the mainline there are no rails because the rail is welded. However, on other tracks he likes to use these detail parts.
One of the things frequently found in industrial trackage is a curve in the rail towards the angle bar in 39 foot sections due to a lack of maintenance. These sections are 39 feet because 40 foot gondolas cover 39 foot sections of rail. To add this detail, he lays the flextrack, and comes back after it’s all dry, giving a screwdriver a tap with a hammer every 39 feet. This is staggered opposite of each other on the rails so the rail isn’t dipping down at the same location.
As the trains come through, one can notice how they rock back and forth on the track, just like on the prototype. Stephen goes on to discuss detail work more with Allen Keller.
For more Allen Keller videos, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.