Setting up again – part 3

I’ve been working through a few Wheeling Freight Terminal track issues. One of the rails zippered out of the tieplates and spikes during the move or set up. You can kind of see it in the image above. That obviously needed to be fixed before anything rolls across the rails.

I used an X-Acto chisel blade to remove the spikes and tie plates cast onto the ties. The rail needs to sit flat on the ties.

I used Barge contact cement to glue the rail into place. I squeezed a bit onto a scrap plastic then used a toothpick to apply some to the bottom of the rail and on top of several ties. This was easiest to do where the rail could be lifted higher.

After waiting several minutes for the Barge cement to set up, I used a Kadee coupler height gauge to keep the rails in gauge and rested one side of a steel weight on the gauge. I checked the rail gauge with an NMRA gauge to ensure the Kadee gauge was proper. The rail was set within an hour.


There were also issues on curves where the rails crossed the interfaces between layout sections. This was a problem the last time it was set up but the layout wasn’t available to use for long. This time, those issues needed to be fixed for enjoyable operation.

I decided to install short track sections to bridge the joints between layout sections. In the image above, a portion of the middle track has been removed on the left layout section. You can see the cuts to the right for the other short section to be removed. Spare pieces of flex track were available and cut to fit as the bridge sections.

I cut the track on the layout using a Dremel motor tool and a cut off wheel. The spare track sections were cut using flush-cut pliers. I used a few files to dress the cut rails to remove any burrs and ease rail joiner attachment.

Once one track was completed, another crossing was targeted. I pushed and pulled a string of freight cars across each of the tracks after upgrading with the bridge sections.

After completing a couple, I found it best to pre-bend the bridge section rails before installing them into place. The rails easily slid out of the short bridge sections and a slight bend applied before slipping the rails back into place. I wanted a nice curve on these parts, as a tangent piece would introduce a kink.

I installed a total of six bridge tracks. A couple tracks were okay without the upgrades if the speeds were very slow. But I wanted to minimize any derailments. Freight cars need to stay on the rails. Derailments do not enhance an operating session. Extra effort now means more fun later.

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