Track Laying Progress

I spent a few hours (Sara insists more like 5) on installing some turnouts and a siding and part of the main line.  Here are some pictures of the progress, shot while I was working.  I continue to be extremely happy with the amount of effort required and the results produced from the FastTracks products.  I would highly recommend them to anyone for layouts of any size.

This was the workbench in the living room, before getting kicked into the garage.  Turns out, it’s not so bad.  Here’s the workspace in the garage:

I started by soldering together three of the turnouts that are grouped very tightly, and placing them down on the Homasote roadbed.  I had preweathered these turnouts by painting them “Grimy Black” using an airbrush, so they just needed to be glued down.

Next, I needed to lay two straight sections, the lower being the mainline, and the upper being an industrial siding.  This was accomplished by using the tie rack jig to space the ties one-by-one, then putting tape on the back, lifting out the ties, and then gluing them into place.

Lining up each edge with a straightedge.  I’m using Elmers glue, which works really well and dries fast.

Next, I painted the ties using some paint thinner and Floquil’s track painting marker set.  They work remarkably well, but you need ventilation as they’re oil based.

Here’s what they look like painted.

Next, I installed the turnouts and track for the siding, making sure things were in gauge as they were being glued down.

Here’s a shot with the main installed, and some of my newly weathered cars taking it out for a drive.

Notes from my experience:

  • Measure, measure measure.  I screwed up the placement of the ties once because I didn’t double check, that was a pain.
  • The tie rack jig works really well, but takes a surprisingly long time to put the ties in.  Not much to be done about that.
  • If I were to do it all over again, I wouldn’t stack the Homasote 2 inches high like shown.
  • I forgot to drill throwbar holes for the switches prior to installation, thus locking me in to manual throwbars.  Not the end of the world as I was planning on that anyway, but something to note for future installs.
  • You don’t need as many PC board crossties as the template for straight track from Fasttracks calls for.  Also, my branch line tie rack didn’t match up to the branchline metal jig, which was frustrating.
  • Next time, I’m taking Tim Warris’ advice, and painting all the ties grimy black, instead of tie-brown.  I think it helps them pop better and they look more prototypical after it’s all done.
  • I needed a super-small drill bit, which I don’t have, so I had to order that in order to install the ground throws.

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