Gaps between rails OO gauge

Any questions about designing a model railway layout or problems with track work.
OzzyOzborne
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Gaps between rails OO gauge

Postby OzzyOzborne » Sun Oct 03, 2021 3:01 pm

My layout has a few gaps between the rails......a mix of peco flexitrack and settrack.
As the trains go over it makes a clicking sound ......just like the real thing!........but you can see the trains wobble as they go over.
Should I take the track back up to close the gaps.....some gaps are probably 2mm......or can I put some solder in to fill the gap?
Any help appreciated!

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Mountain
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Re: Gaps between rails OO gauge

Postby Mountain » Sun Oct 03, 2021 10:56 pm

I solder and get the files out in that circumstance. If it is sectional track I may think twice with the soldering, but other then that I tend to solder these days. I do this when I make my own track and it works, so it is problem solved! :D

b308
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Re: Gaps between rails OO gauge

Postby b308 » Mon Oct 04, 2021 8:02 am

Gaps between rails are used when you need a gap to allow for expansion of the rails in hot weather, so if the location of your layout sees extremes of temperature then they are needed. Otherwise you shouldn't have such gaps there in the first place, 1/2mm or 1mm may be acceptable but 2mm seems to me like you need to relay the track properly, it's too big a gap. I'd be more inclined to relay the track rather than solder up the gaps which does not allow for rail expansion.

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Mountain
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Re: Gaps between rails OO gauge

Postby Mountain » Mon Oct 04, 2021 10:46 am

If it is just the one rail joint I don't see a problem with expansion as one would have to solder a fair few joins up before one gets an expansion issue. Rather I see a problem if the rails are at an angle to each other so the trains may come off the track so this to me is more of a deciding factor as to relay or repair with solder.

Either way, I hope it is a success.

[Just to add, that my current little portable layout has rails soldered direcly to home made PCB sleepers so the track is pretty rigid and unable to flex like commercially built track does, and initially I was worried incase this would cause problems, as the curves are formed complete as a single yard length (Though one has been disected with a crossing), and I hardly have any provision for expansion, but I actually found more difficulty due to the wood expanding unevenly as one piece was rescued from the sea, then I did with the track itself. (I remedied the issue where the two boards join by using short lengths of rail to bridge the gap rather than take the rail to the boards edge as this allows for movement of the wood as it flexes slightly one way in the summer months and goes back in the winter months... It is not by much but enough to cause me to make this small alteration. The rest of the track seems fine despite having very little provision for expansion on the whole layout as I was so enthusiasticly building track that I forgot).]
Last edited by Mountain on Mon Oct 04, 2021 10:58 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Gaps between rails OO gauge

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Oct 04, 2021 10:49 am

What's the gap at the next joint along in each direction? If it's not a long length of rail you may be able to even out the gaps by carefully pushing on the rail to increase the gap at the other end. Note the word carefully especially if you are using code 75. Otherwise I'd try solder before relaying the track.
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Bigmet
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Re: Gaps between rails OO gauge

Postby Bigmet » Mon Oct 04, 2021 11:14 am

OzzyOzborne wrote:...you can see the trains wobble as they go over. Should I take the track back up to close the gaps.....some gaps are probably 2mm...

I think you know the best answer, which is lift the track and correct as required. Soft solder will generate railhead dirt, in this case mostly lead oxides, undesireable.

There's an underlying question about the 'why' of these gaps, which it would be useful to analyse and understand, for superior future results.

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captrees
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Location: Kalamunda WA.

Re: Gaps between rails OO gauge

Postby captrees » Mon Oct 04, 2021 2:16 pm

I have the same problem, and find solder doesn't work well for me. I wonder if I'm using the wrong solder?

I also wonder if anything else, Devcon, Araldite, etc might work, providing you don't lose the conductivity?

I don't want to pull up the track after ballasting.

heda
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Re: Gaps between rails OO gauge

Postby heda » Mon Oct 04, 2021 4:06 pm

I would just add whatever course of action you take get the track right before going any further, if your trains don't run well you will never be happy with it.
Regarding your other post about cleaning pva from the rails as others have said avoid anything more abrasive than the track rubber.

Dave

OzzyOzborne
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Joined: Mon May 13, 2019 4:35 pm
Location: North Lincolnshire

Re: Gaps between rails OO gauge

Postby OzzyOzborne » Sun Oct 10, 2021 4:19 pm

Thanks for all posts…..
I’m going to relay the track I think…….!

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centenary
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Re: Gaps between rails OO gauge

Postby centenary » Sat Oct 23, 2021 12:19 pm

I heard \ seen it suggested you should insert a spare Stanley knife blade between track sections to gap the rails for expansion \ contraction.

gppsoftware
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Re: Gaps between rails OO gauge

Postby gppsoftware » Tue Nov 02, 2021 10:46 pm

Just sayin'
Here in Australia, we find that the hot summer months are the best time to lay track. And we lay it with no gaps.
In the cooler months, rails will contract and open up gaps - just leave the gaps alone as they will close up again in the next warm weather.
Whatever you do, don't solder joints and if you fit droppers, attach them to the centre of rails along their length.


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