Trackwork

All trains need well laid track for reliable operation. Properly installed track will ensure smooth operation and years of enjoyment. Whether your new layout plan includes a complex arrangement or a simple oval with only a few spurs or sidings, care is taken with every step to lay track for reliability and ease of maintenance.

The following photos highlight just a few of the common yet critical track laying details that I give special attention to when designing and building any custom model railroad.

Hidden staging yards certainly need to be bulletproof and operate flawlessly. It could be extremely difficult to correct a problem once the layout has been finished above without careful planning in advance. Access to the track in hidden staging needs to be available because there are typically turnouts involved. Creating access is always in the design process of the layout so that the scenery above can be removed for full access for track maintenance.

Track curves with super-elevation is a feature that can't go overlooked. It allows your model trains to lean into the curve just like the real thing. Although it is prototypical, I offer it as an option since it can drive up project costs. Super-elevation must be planned for and integrated into the track laying process before the track is laid.

Vertical track clearance is extremely important when planning your layout. This is especially important when dealing with multi-level layouts or model railroads with track crossing over other track. The size of your layout, track plan, and your desires are a few elements that need to come together if one wants to run trains on a layout with multiple levels. The elevations needed to achieve multi-level train operation are important not only to a more prototypical look, but are necessary to ensure that your locomotives are physically capable of pulling your desired longest trains up them. Planning in conjunction with testing are critical in resolving issues associated with designing a layout with grades.

Bridges and overpasses are always fun to build and install. With the many different bridges out there to choose from or to build from scratch, vertical track alignment is again critical to smooth train operation and to ensure that other trains can pass under them. Again, careful planning again can solve this situation. Real trains do tend to get some up and down motion entering and exiting bridges, but it's a very fine line between what is acceptable and what's not on a model railroad.

Transitions from roadbed to turntable are critical in my opinion. Again, vertical rail alignment and smooth transitions are the best. Attention to detail around this location is critical for smooth on/off transition at slow speed.