N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Any questions about designing a model railway layout or problems with track work.
Sc0tty
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:27 pm

N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Postby Sc0tty » Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:04 pm

Guys,

with the code 55 flexitrack for N scale railways, what happens to the sleepers when one bends the metre long track sections into curves? I assume one has to purchase the peco tracksetter tool in order to make clean radius curves? And I guess I will need the track cutters and fishplates connectors etc? I see that peco sell loose sleepers, but I am not sure why.


Many thanks

James

Dad-1
Posts: 6189
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Dorset - A mile from West Bay.

Re: N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Postby Dad-1 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:53 pm

Newbie Warning ......
O.K then.
When planning the track mark out a pencil line down what should be the track centre line. Flexitrack can be curved easily with your hands,
but you'll need to fix in place as you follow you planned curviture or it'll spring black slightly. Track Settas can help, but not a 'Must' have.
You will need to cut one or both rails as the inside line on any curve will be shorter than the outer. To join lengths together you will need
rail joiners. To get rail joiners on you will usually have to take away 1 or 2 sleepers from each of the ends to be joined together. Keep the
cut off sleepers so you can later slide under where the gap was from having removed, but to do that you'll have to cut away the chairs, or
they won't slide under, glue in place as these are now just cosmetic. I assume Peco supply loose sleepers to use, perhaps they are slightly
thinner than the original to ease fitting.
Clean radius curves ? Most prototype curves are not constant, but have a transition from straight to maximum radius of any desired
turn. This in my opinion is much better done by eye ..... following a drawn line.

Don't know if that answers for you ?

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

User avatar
JohnN
Posts: 440
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:18 am
Location: Drenched in Devon

Re: N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Postby JohnN » Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:58 pm

Yes, the spare sleepers come without chairs. I just slice the chairs off the sleepers I've already removed and reuse them.

Sc0tty
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:27 pm

Re: N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Postby Sc0tty » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:19 pm

Many thanks guys, so the tracksetta is not essential?

I must admit I am struggling to design a layout on anyrail using peco code 55 flexi because i am not sure how to make the curves ! I do not want to make a layout with too much track, as I believe that sometimes 'less is more'. I have a spare door that I plan to screw my plybase onto, so I think this gives me an approx size of 7ft x 3ft?

I need to get some inspiration from existing designs as I think this will be easier than starting from a blank sheet of paper/anyrail.

User avatar
JohnN
Posts: 440
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:18 am
Location: Drenched in Devon

Re: N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Postby JohnN » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:51 pm

Tracksetta not essential? Well I guess that depends on how good or confident you are or feel about laying curves. I've never used one but others will probably say they should always be used. I have used a pin, string and pencil to set out constant radius curves. I've also used set track curves I had unused to mark out curves then used flexi. I've also done them freehand.

Is track curved to a perfect constant radius in real life? I don't know the answer to that one.

User avatar
flying scotsman123
Posts: 2192
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:29 pm
Location: err, down there round the corner... not that one!!!

Re: N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Postby flying scotsman123 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:25 pm

JohnN wrote:Is track curved to a perfect constant radius in real life? I don't know the answer to that one.


No! In fact model railway track is often much more even and smooth than real track. On occasion I have taken a hammer to track to make it.look a little more real, but only for dioramas - I'd suggest not for running lines as it may adversely affect running quality! A good place to look is heritage railways as they don't have the fancy machinery that NWR use. I don't know how they do it in modern times, but I suspect it will be more accurate, but still not perfect.
Image
Stone station in pre-grouping days, my layout.

b308
Posts: 5006
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:48 pm
Location: North Worcs

Re: N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Postby b308 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:56 am

JohnN wrote:Tracksetta not essential? Well I guess that depends on how good or confident you are or feel about laying curves.


Tracksettas are relatively new. When I started out you took a piece of thick card and used the string/pin/pencil method to mark out the radius you require on the card. This was then cut out. The card template is then set against the inside rail of the track and the track bent to match. Cost = zero! Also if you plan to use several radii then T-S's can become an expensive way to do it!

Sc0tty
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:27 pm

Re: N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Postby Sc0tty » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:53 am

Many thanks for all the tips chaps, I must admit this flex track route looks a little daunting to a beginner like me. I suppose I could buy the peco setrack, but am I right in saying the rail height (code 80 I think) and sleeper size is not very realistic?

James

terrysoham
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:46 pm

Re: N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Postby terrysoham » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:57 am

Sc0tty wrote:Guys,

with the code 55 flexitrack for N scale railways, what happens to the sleepers when one bends the metre long track sections into curves? I assume one has to purchase the peco tracksetter tool in order to make clean radius curves? And I guess I will need the track cutters and fishplates connectors etc? I see that peco sell loose sleepers, but I am not sure why.


Many thanks

James

One thing on Code 55 Flexitrack which isn't widely known or publicised is that it is designed to be curved in one direction only.
On the underside of the track, at every fourth sleeper, there are gaps in the plastic webbing ,it is that side which is meant to become the outer rail of the track.

Regards
Terry
Ely and District Model Railway Club

Ex-Pat
Posts: 1831
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:51 pm
Location: Dundalk Ireland

Re: N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Postby Ex-Pat » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:05 am

Sc0tty wrote:
I must admit I am struggling to design a layout on anyrail


Have you considered "real time/100%" planning?

Just lay down your door, and place cardboard templates of points (use the actual points if you have already bought them) and pieces of track in situ. Then just move them around as necessary until you see what you like - you then know it will work.

Step 1:
First trial.jpg
First trial.jpg (154.59 KiB) Viewed 2708 times


Step 2:

Extended trial.jpg
Extended trial.jpg (182.7 KiB) Viewed 2708 times


As an alternative to Tracksettas and the pencil & string method, you can make a more permanent multi-template by taking a suitable piece of board and marking off quadrants of dots of various radii from one of the corners. You can then bend the track along the dots to your required radius. In the photo below I started in the (out of shot) bottom left-hand corner and created radii of 18", 21" and 24".

Radius Guide.jpg
Radius Guide.jpg (144.04 KiB) Viewed 2708 times

b308
Posts: 5006
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:48 pm
Location: North Worcs

Re: N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Postby b308 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:56 pm

terrysoham wrote:One thing on Code 55 Flexitrack which isn't widely known or publicised is that it is designed to be curved in one direction only.
On the underside of the track, at every fourth sleeper, there are gaps in the plastic webbing ,it is that side which is meant to become the outer rail of the track.

Regards


We've had this discussion before, it will curve BOTH ways otherwise it would be impossible to do an S bend and so be useless. I emailed Peco last time and had that confirmed. There is a "preferred" side when the sleepers will look less "pinched" but it is designed to curve both ways. Regardless of what flexi track you use the sleepers will never look 100% perfect because they aren't laid individually and aligned to the rail like the real thing, but once ballasted you won't notice.
Last edited by b308 on Tue Mar 10, 2015 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

b308
Posts: 5006
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:48 pm
Location: North Worcs

Re: N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Postby b308 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 2:00 pm

That's a neat idea re the dots, Ex-Pat, will have to try to remember it!

User avatar
Bufferstop
Posts: 12207
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: Bottom end of N. Warks line

Re: N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:16 pm

The only template tool I've ever used is the wooden bit of a coathanger, which just happens to be near as dammit a two foot radius curve. Two foot being my self imposed minimum radius. I just put the curves in by eye and check them with the coathanger, as long as it fits inside the curve I'm happy.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions

Kentishman
Posts: 278
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:02 pm

Re: N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Postby Kentishman » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:18 pm

Sc0tty wrote:I must admit I am struggling to design a layout on anyrail using peco code 55 flexi because i am not sure how to make the curves !


Hello Scotty,
In Anyrail, having selected Peco Finescale Code 55 from the track library, select a piece of 36” flex, either SL-300F or SL-302F.
Right click on the track to get the menu and select ‘curve flex…’.
A box will appear asking for the angle, select between 0 and 90 degrees (decimals are accepted) then the radius required, again decimals are accepted. Press OK and there is your curve.
If the curve that appears is in the wrong direction, make it ‘live’ with the right mouse button and select ‘flip’ on the pop-up.
Try using the set track radii as an initial guide, e.g. 9” and 10.5” etc and the usual angles of 22.5 and 45 degrees.
Or you can make a free hand curve by moving either of the ‘plus’ signs inside the flexi track image and the triangles at the ends. Once the image fits, use the ‘smoothen’ command to make it neater. Beware of parts of the flex turning red, this indicates the track is tighter than the minimum radius you have set ( see the ‘settings’ screen and look for the ‘Flex’ options in the centre).

I hope this makes sense,
KM

UrbanHermit
Posts: 271
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:18 am
Location: Back of beyond, South Wales (Isn't it?)

Re: N gauge peco code 55 question (newbie warning!)

Postby UrbanHermit » Sun Mar 15, 2015 4:17 pm

Interesting discussion, specially since it comes just as I'm in the throes of track laying.

Just had an absolute DER moment. I daren't even mention the cumbersome procedure I went through to fit the fishplates when I was laying the track on my engine shed diorama a couple of years ago, though I did describe it on the thread at the time and no-one pulled me up on it. The thought of going through all that again on a much larger layout was really putting me off. Okay, so we just cut off the sleepers, cut or file off the chairs, and glue them back again. How much quicker and easier. Why didn't I think of that?

As for curves, maybe it should be mentioned that on real railways they don't even try to maintain a constant radius. It's not a question of accuracy. Real railway curves incorporate transition curves, that is the radius decreases as you go into the curve and increases as you come out of it, to make the transition from straight to curve smoother. The constant radius of setrack curves is one of the main reasons for that train-set look. (Of course, if that doesn't bother you, feel free to ignore this whole paragraph. It's your layout...)

Needless to say after that, I don't use a tracksetta or any other geometric aid. I do it by eye, fiddling about until the look of it satisfies me.

Incidentally, up to now I've been using bog-standard Xuron cutters (didn't know there was any other kind), whose instructions tell you to cut N gauge track vertically and HO/OO horizontally. I work in OO (yes, I know this thread was originally about N gauge), and so this meant determining where I wanted to cut the track, lifting it and cutting it away from the board, with all the potential for inaccuracy this involves. Now I've discovered they also make a model that will cut the track right there in situ on the board. As soon as I saw this device on the DCC Supplies site I bunged it straight into my basket, and it's been an absolute boon. Highly recommended.
"I fell out of favour with heaven somewhere, and I'm here for the hell of it now." (Kirsty MacColl)


Return to “Track/Layout Design”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests