Track

The next stage is to gather together the equipment needed to start laying the track. Basically, these are hammer, track pins, and razor saw, plus wire, wire cutters, wire strippers, soldering iron and solder to provide electrical connections.

I have decided to use Peco track for the layout mainly because I believe it to be widely available. Peco track is available in two forms - fixed unit track (which comes in fixed lengths) known as 'Setrack', and flexible track (Peco sell this in yard lengths) known as 'Streamline', which is cut to size using a jig and a razor saw. The difference between the two is that one sort is flexible (there's a surprise!), and I have used both sorts on the layout. The Setrack is used for the fiddle yard and the curves at each end of the layout. Setrack was chosen for the curves because flexible track can be tricky for the beginner to lay. When curved you get differential rail lengths. The visible area of the layout uses Streamline which has more realistic larger radius points.

The items used so far are as follows :

  • 8 double curves (Code ST12)
  • 5 double straights (Code ST11)
  • 2 standard curves (Code ST3)
  • 1 left hand point (Code ST6)
  • 1 right hand point (Code ST5)
  • 1 length flexible track (Code SL300)
  • 1 packet rail joiners (Code SL310)
  • 1 left-hand medium radius point (SL392)
  • 1 right-hand medium radius point (SL391)
  • 1 packet track pins (SL14)

It is essential to lay the track on the baseboard first to check that it fits and to get the positioning right. I laid the Setrack pieces first, starting with the curves at one end. Slot the lengths together and place on the board. Locate the small pre-drilled holes in the track and use track pins to hold the track in place. Tap them in gently using a small hammer, taking care not to hit the rails (use a punch as well if the hammer is too big to fit between the rails). You should find that they go in relatively easily as the pinboard is soft. Before laying the second curve I attached two lengths of wire for connecting power to the track.