Flex Track 00

Any questions about designing a model railway layout or problems with track work.
will100
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Flex Track 00

Postby will100 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:41 pm

Hi,

Just a basic newbie question, we are rebuilding an old setup and have found some of the 2nd and 3rd radius curves rather messed up.

Is it practical / easy enough to replace the semi circles with Peco flex track, which seems a lot cheaper or best to buy new set track pieces ?

thanks

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Ironduke
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Re: Flex Track 00

Postby Ironduke » Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:29 pm

If you have the patience and the tools it is certainly possible.
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Rob

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Bufferstop
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Re: Flex Track 00

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:35 pm

Will the remaining set track be fixed down, if not it will be easier to use new set track pieces. If it's all going to be fixed down use code 100 Flexi track. Use the damaged track as a template for the curves, you have to be careful to get a constant radius. There's an exception to the constant radius when you have the space, that's when you do it like the real thing, curving gently entering the curve, tightening up to the ruling radius and then easing out again, looks great but needs more room.
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will100
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Re: Flex Track 00

Postby will100 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:36 pm

The track will be fixed down, and can use the old parts as a template, so will give it a try.

Just wasn't sure if with flex track there was a radius where you say beyond that is too much like hard work.

Been looking as some ytubes and seems they use a block shaped tool to help form the curves into the flexi; think I might be able to form something similar into wood with some saw cuts .

thanks

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Bufferstop
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Re: Flex Track 00

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:59 pm

I have a lump of wood just like that. I've had it that long there's a second pair of grooves on the back from fifteen years ago when I started using code 75 and I needed narrower grooves. Flexi track does need a bit of effort when you get down to radius 2. I've got it down to eight inches for a dockside in the past you just have to work slowly, it helps if you have a few heavy weights to keep it from straightening as soon as you take your hands off.
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Re: Flex Track 00

Postby flying scotsman123 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:30 pm

I didn't have much problem forming code 75 around radius 2 curves but I understand code 100 flexitrack is a little less pliable. I'm sure it's perfectly doable though.
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Mountain
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Re: Flex Track 00

Postby Mountain » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:42 pm

Flexible track is much cheaper then sectional track if purchased new, if one considers length per cost. Curves. While flexible track can be curved to quite some extremes to where the sleepers bend so far that they reduce the gauge which is a lot sharper then first radius, the main issue is with first and second curves is the ends of the rails try to push out as if they want to be straight track. This is an issue at rail joints which needs to be overcome. I had a few issues with an old layout like this where I pulled up the flexible track where it formed a semicircle of first or second radius curves and replaced with sectional track instead and it solved the issues. Previous to this I had used carefully placed track pins near the rail joiners to prevent the joints pushing outwards. Third radius or larger was not an issue as flexible track behaved itself more. (I use code 100 flexible track).

My current layout bends flexible track almost to the extremes but not quite! However, I have sleepers made from PCB board so the track is very rigid as the rails are soldered onto every sleeper. Also, the semicircle at either end of the layout is formed without any joints until the track straightens. In this way I was able to turn a semicircle on a board just 2ft wide for my 7mm scale narrow gauge railway. (0-16.5 which uses the same gauge width as 00 gauge).

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End2end
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Re: Flex Track 00

Postby End2end » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:11 am

If the track plan will stay the same why not just use set track. It seems from the replies it would be a whole lot easier. :?
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Mountain
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Re: Flex Track 00

Postby Mountain » Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:38 am

Two big advantages of flexible track are the cost savings and one is not constricted to a rigid geometry. You can almost lay the track where you want to put it and not where it wants to go as in sectional track. (In theory). Most of the issues with the ends were where I'd used flexible track with first radius curves, but I changed second as well as I had many sectional track going spare anyway.
Another thing you can do with flexible track is lay transitional curves.
I'm not saying you can't use flexible track for first radius curves. I did use it where I only needed shorter sections where sharp curves were part of the plan (As one can lay it in such a way that joins are on the straight sections). When I needed to lay a whole semicircle is where I turned to sectional track. It is not that I couldn't use flexible. Was more that sectional was easier in that I didnt need to be so exact in my track laying.
The best plan I chose was to mix both types. Flexible for any straights or where shorter curves are needed in the plan, and sectional where whole semicircles are needed in the plan. That I found to be the best use of trouble free running compared to cost saving and flexibility of ones track plan.
If I had to stick to just one type of track, I would use flexible, not just to save cost, but more that you can do far more with it.

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End2end
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Re: Flex Track 00

Postby End2end » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:22 pm

I think you've just given me an idea Mountain. :D
I have been considering using electrofrog points in my hidden sidings which are in parallel to the front main lines.
The front main lines use insulfrog points so have normal setrack spacing/width and all my track laid on the front baseboard is PECO setrack.
It's like a big loop if you haven't seen my track plan.

Now.... I've already bought the original insulfrog points I need for the hidden sidings and the 2nd and 3rd radius curves to complete the loop at each end.
If I am right in thinking, there are no electrofrog points that have the same geometry as setrack/insulfrog points and thus 2 parallel running lines using electrofrog pointwork will be closer together. (track spacing/width dictated by 2 points joined together)

So.... by using a quarter of a circle of setrack curves (2 pieces) form the front tracks round to the side of the layout I can then use flexitrack to complete the curve round to the rear. This can be laid in such a way as to bring the hidden sidings tracks closer together and thus let me use electrofrog points making the hidden sidings more reliable.

The next problem that arises is a case of crossovers.
The 2 running lines turn into 4 lines in the hidden sidings then back to 2. To accomplish this on my track plan I have had to resort to Hornby insulated crossovers.
Here's the setrack plan of the hidden sidings
UltimatePlusNoXoverREARsm.jpg

You can see how the tracks cross over each other
(The red track siding is just a possibility if the board is big enough.... which may be the case by using electrofrogs and thier track spacing/width)

The questions now are..... If I did go ahead with adding the flexitrack to complete the 2 circles at each end bringing the lines closer together at the rear and electrofrog points at the rear, what points do I need and are there electrofrog crossovers available in electrofrog track spacing/width?
By that I mean the track spacing/width of 2 electrofrog points connected directly together / no extra track piece inbetween them to change tracks.

Sorry for the thread hijack will100 but it seemed apt as we're discussing moving from setrack to flexitrack. :wink:
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Mountain
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Re: Flex Track 00

Postby Mountain » Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:03 pm

Code 100 allows you to use both sectional track and flexible track, and also allowing one to use both older and newer locomotives. Code 75 (And after all that advertising, I've found out the new bullhead track is code 75 as they didnt mention it in anything I looked at) is good for a more finescale approach.
I tend to prefer code 100 for 00 gauge just for the reasons above, though its a personal choice.

You can buy sheets by Peco of templates of all their range which can be cut out to work out on the board where you want things to go. I understand these sheets can now be downloaded to be printed out. The sheets available from Peco stockists are lifesize so when you cut them out, they are to the size of the actual point in 00/H0 gauge. Not sure if they do them in other scales as well. I assume they are.

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Mountain
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Re: Flex Track 00

Postby Mountain » Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:06 pm

Where you said about two points to form a crossing, do you mean a double slip? There are also single slips available. Double and single slips are both used where space is at a premium both on the real railways, and with model railways.
There are also diamond crossings, switch diamonds (Never seen a commercially available switch diamond), catch points, trap points etc.
If you want your plan to look more prototypically correct, try adding a headshunt. :) (Hope I'm not confusing things by giving this info.).
I'm a bit out of date as to what is available electrofrog or not as the last time I remember purchasing track code 75 was not available and the code 100 streamline range was available in both electrofrog and insulfrog... Electrofrog cost an extra 10p!

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End2end
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Re: Flex Track 00

Postby End2end » Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:20 pm

Mountain wrote:Where you said about two points to form a crossing, do you mean a double slip?

No, just from one track, over a track, onto another track using Hornby R614 & R615 diamond crossings
This may described the theory better.
TrackSpacing.jpg
TrackSpacing.jpg (60.83 KiB) Viewed 719 times

Diagrams A and B are to show an example of the difference/distance between the track spacings using insulfrog (A), and electrofrog points (B)

Diagrams C and D show what (in theory) I am trying to work out / achieve.

In C this is how the plan is as now using insulfrog points and Hornby R614 left hand and R615 right hand diamond crossings

In D this is the theory using electrofrog points and IF they are available, electrofrog diamond crossings giving me a narrower track spacing than using setrack (as in the setrack plan. C )

Heres another rubbish diagram. :oops:
TrackSpacing2.jpg
TrackSpacing2.jpg (18.01 KiB) Viewed 719 times

So the 180 degree curves at each end of the layout would start as 2nd and 3rd radius at the front (in black at the bottom of the diagram), round to 90 degrees using setrack but then by using flexitrack (in red) I could bend the inner 2nd radius loop out slightly (from the 90 degrees end point of the setrack curves round to 180) to attach to electrofrog track spacing/width.

Of course, if there is a small piece of setrack that could fit inbetween the 2nd radius setrack curves at the 90 degree point elongating the bend to make the tracks come closer together at the 180 degree point, that would be much easier but it would need to fit exactly. Is this possible?
I hope that all makes sense? :?
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Mountain
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Re: Flex Track 00

Postby Mountain » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:04 pm

Ah. I see what you mean I think. The spacing of the "Six foot" is more like broad gauge then standard gauge on the curves. (Six foot is the railwaymans term of thew space between two sets of rails of a double track railway. Four foot is the railwaymans term of the gap between the rails of a single piece of track. Ten foot is the term used between two sets of pairs of track(Four tracks) which is wider to allow for bridges etc.). You have two options. Either cut a short length of track to make the difference between the two or set the points in slightly and use flexible track to take the difference. There is not a huge difference.
I was confused slightly as what you referred to insulfrog and electrofrog. What you are referring to is the difference between settrack and streamline. Settrack is Pecos name for their sectional track range which is only available in insulfrog form, and streamline is their range designed for use with their flexible track range and the same points are normally available in both insulfrog and electrofrog types.
I tend to use Hornby curves rather then Peco as they are the same in geometry, and are usually cheaper to buy. Both have nickel silver code 100 rails.
While there will be slight adjustments, often these can be made with offcuts of flexible track which is far cheaper then trying to do it with short sectional track pieces. Just buy plenty of spare rail joiners (Known as fishplates on the real railway after them first used to join fishbelly rails).
It is a good plan to buy track cutting shears. I also use a carbon type of track cutting disk for my minidrill for greater accuracy, but use the cutting shears to save time.
You will soon get the hang of laying flexible track. To slide the rail joiners onto flexible track, cut the little rail chairs off the first sleeper with a craft knife, and this will allow the railjoiner to slide under the rail. If you dont you will get a large gap in the sleeperusing

Avoid laying flexible track to be closer then the sectional track at the corners to reduce the spacing (Six foot) as your locos and especially the coaches need to have this wider gap or they will collide with trains coming the other way. This has nothing to do with using sectional or flexible track. It is more the gap has been set with sectional track so trains done get too close and collide!

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Mountain
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Re: Flex Track 00

Postby Mountain » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:12 pm

{Not sure if I've answered the questions you have asked directly.}


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