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Laying Model Railroad Track: Tips and Tricks

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Duration:   10  mins

Any proficient modeler knows, if you take your time and apply the necessary effort to build good, sturdy model railroad track, your layout is going to last you a long, long time. Conversely, if you rush through the process of designing and installing model railroad track and you don’t pay attention to the details, you’ll find yourself pulling up and redoing the tracks sooner rather than later.

As with many other aspects of a model railroad layout, when it comes to trackage we’re strong advocates of starting with a plan and working step by step through the entire process until you’ve created something of which you can be proud. So in this lesson, we teach you the surefire tips and techniques necessary to lay model railroad track that’s durable, neat and fully customizable.

How to lay model railroad track that will last

Laying model railroad track begins with mapping out your design and ends with wiring and connecting to a power source. To help you get from start to finish, expert modeler Tom Lund walks you step by step through the process of laying trackage, from tracing turnouts to testing the rails. You’ll learn how to customize and build each of the essential components of solid model railroad track using simple tips and techniques.

To demonstrate the entire procedure, Tom builds out a sample segment of a model railroad track. He shows you the correct way to cut, adhere and sand cork roadbed, which will serve as the base of your model railroad track, then explains how to trim rail joints, install a turnout throw and solder a power source so you can control your turnouts. With these expert tips for designing and building a model railroad track, you’ll be able to create trackage that not only holds up over the years, but also makes your layouts look immaculate!

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

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3 Responses to “Laying Model Railroad Track: Tips and Tricks”

  1. KEITH

    When I saw the instructor glue down the templates and lay the cork over the templates, I finally saw the way to ensure that the track would all be aligned nicely. I used AnyRail to create my small switching layout and Peco track/templates for my turnouts. This is my first real layout and the size of the module that he was building was ideal for me. This video was invaluable as I followed along step-by-step. Please pass along my appreciation to the instructor.

  2. Frank Rosenbaum

    I did not hear you mention insulating the frog rails on the cross over. anyone duplicating this will have a short circuit. Otherwise, it was a very good primer for laying track

  3. larryhurd1954

    Great video with clear instructions.

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