Harold Werthwein’s layout of the Delaware Division of the Erie Railroad had a fair amount of hidden track, to move the trains between adjacent scenes that in reality were some distance apart. Allen Keller asked Harold how much hidden track there was.
Harold never measured it but he estimated 200 feet of hidden track (double track). His main purpose in having hidden track was to get trains off the scene so he would have only one vista at a time.
Was having this much hidden track a problem? Harold explained no, that when he and his operators installed it, they bonded all of the rails so there was no problem with the electrical distribution. He made sure it was done properly.
This hidden track was flex-track. Each piece was not wired but was soldered or a bonding wire joined them. Harold said the feeder wires were perhaps one for every three sections of track.
Learn more about flex-track and how to work with it.
Allen wondered if the trains disappeared for too long with this much hidden track. Harold didn’t think so but admitted that some of the new operators, who joined him for his Friday night operating sessions, didn’t know what had happened when the trains came out someplace else, far from where they were. In fact one operator who’d been working on it for almost a year didn’t understand until Harold made a drawing. “Now I know where it goes!”
Harold hand laid the track himself. This scared some people away when he started doing that, but it was one of the most enjoyable parts of the hobby for him. He did the switches and everything, and stated he would do it all again, because he enjoyed it that much.
Some areas, such as the Port Jervis yard, are prefabricated track. Harold had it on hand and wanted to use it.