I've been working on the railroad, all the live long day!

Discussion in 'General' started by SAFN SAAP, Jun 6, 2012.


    SAFN SAAP Member

    Fast Tracks! ME Code 55! Rail laying starts soon!

  2. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    I can hear the track gang singing now!
  3. Dang. I can't wait to see how the track looks if it is anything like your hoist or the depot you made it will be awesome. Seeing your posts and Jims about his Zalma Branch makes me want to start a good Frisco shelf layout. I have the materials just not the space. Keep posting this stuff its real good.

    SAFN SAAP Member

    Thanks Murphy, Jim.

    Yeah, I'm excited to have these. I'm all set. Code 55 rail which is 65 pound rail, identical to what the S.A. & A.P / S.A.F&N ran, along with the proper tie spacing for the period is going to make some really nice track. I really want to do sectional rail, to make sure I get that clickety clack of the time frame. Still debating whether to do individual rail or just cut the grove in the top. Cutting will probably be the best in the long run.

    I'm going to get a table from Lowe's, set up and begin making some short sections of straight track to get the feel of it. Pics and videos of course. I can't let Jim be the only movie star here on Frisco.org.


    SAFN SAAP Member

    I just laid my first piece of rail. I did it as a practice to see how hard or easy it was to do. Since I've never soldered this much before, I've sent pictures to Terry Wirth at Fast Tracks to see if he pin-point anything I may be doing wrong. When he responds I will post up pictures and his critique. Right now, I think the biggest thing is to resist using too much solder. More in a few...

  6. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    What parts get soldered together? I'm unfamiliar with this process.

    SAFN SAAP Member

    Hey Jim,

    The rail gets soldered to PC ties, which are insulated but allow joining points for the rails. Check out these pictures and you can see what I'm talking about. I think I used too much solder. Also, I think I may try tinning the PC board ties first before laying down the rail, then lay the rail down, heat and the solder will melt, accepting the rail, and then harden again. This way I have a little more control over the amount of solder.


    The S.A. & A.P. used 65 pound rail on 24" centered ties. The siding tie racks for Fast Tracks are just that, so with Micro Engineering's (ME's) Code 55 and trying out the racks, this is what the track looks like. I love it!

    DSCN0832.JPG DSCN0833.JPG

    I can't wait till I start benchwork, draw the layout out and then start laying roadbed and ties. Too cool or what?

  8. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Nice! Looks like it has a lot of potential and a little paint and ballast will hide any solder places. Very nice.
  9. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Many, nice job so far. I've never tried hand laying track before. I think that is a little much on the solder. Two things. 1. never solder on the inside of the rail. It's more likely to cause derailments, especially on code 55. Second, how big of solder are you using? The smaller you use, the easier it is to control. I use .022 from radioshack, but I think they also make a .015. .022 gives me good control, even soldering on 32ga wire or on those tiny tiny function pads on an NCE D14SR.


    SAFN SAAP Member

    Ethan, yeah, I agree. Too much solder. I'm using the solder that Fast Tracks recommends. I got it from them in the shipment I received. I will solder from the outside rail only from now on. I'll check to see what the size is. Even though it's just a practice piece of track, it was very fun and rewarding to do. I figure I'll waste a couple 36" sections of rail and about a dozen or so PC ties to get the hang of it. Besides, I need to build my benchwork and since I've amassed two Omaha 0-6-0's, three Long Bell Prairies 2-6-2, one Sierra #24, 2-8-0, a MA&PA 4-6-0, all brass, with just a few more to get, I'm ready to start building table.
  11. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Manny, the process would be to tin the ties where the rails will fall and tin the rails where they would lay on the ties. Then place a tinned rail on the tinned tie, apply heat and you shouldn't need more solder.

    SAFN SAAP Member

    I spoke with Terry at Fast Tracks today. He said to flux the tie first and be gentle with the solder. I'm going to try that plus tin the ties first, then apply the rails and heat to melt the solder and it will join the two. If that doesn't work, I will try what you offer Keith. I'm within the learning curve right now.


  13. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Frisco.org Supporter Frisco.org Supporter

    This goes back many years - When soldering, I used a paste which contained both the solder and flux together.
    A little dab with a toothpick, or small screwdriver, and then apply the heat.

    SAFN SAAP Member

    Hey Y'all,

    A day or two ago I was at Lowe's and I picked up a piece of nice finished pine, 1x3x3, for the purpose of making a small DCC programming track. I'm going to get a Sprog unit like Jim and others have solely for the purpose of programming the decoders. This also gives me an opportunity to practice tie laying and spiking.

    I have already installed some Midwest Cork roadbed. Today, I stained a bunch of ties with Minwax Dark Walnut 2716. I simply put a handful of ties in a Rubbermaid bowl, and using a Micro-Mark pipette, I put in about 10 squirts of the stain. I closed and sealed the lid and then gave them a shaking bath. After about 5 minutes of shaking, rolling, pitching and settling, I inspected the ties and made sure they were covered. Then with a generous amount of paper towels, I drained the stain and ties into them and let the ties dry in the Texas sun. What came out is a great rendition of Creosoted ties, but still seeing the rich color of the wood. I do have some Black Onyx which I am going to do some ties in and see how they turn out, and intermix as the S.A.F & N. and the S.A. & A.P. used heavily creosoted ties on their lines.

    I've laid ties and so far it is a simple process. I'll have pics up in the morning.

    I've been workin' on the railroad, all the live long day! I've been workin' on the railroad, just to pass the time away....
  15. renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013)

    renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013) Passed away March 8, 2013

    I purchase 3/16" square pieces of wood to make bridge ties. I took a 24 inch piece of plastic pipe and cut it down the middle, glued on two end caps, one with a hole in it for a small brass tube. Micro-Mark has a wood stain which I like to use. I fill up the half pipe with the stain, drop in the 18 inch long pieces of wood, and let them sook up the stain. Put the wood strips on a window screen to dry, put rest of stain back into bottle using the brass tube on cap end. Using a Chopper I which I have highly modified, the strips are cut into bridge tie lengths. Just my way of doing things.

    SAFN SAAP Member

    I've been workin' on the railroad, all the live long day! I've been workin' on the railroad, just to pass the time away....

    DSCN1039.JPG DSCN1037.JPG DSCN1038.JPG

    SAFN SAAP Member

    Cool. Any pics you are willing to share? I try not to use any more stain than necessary because waste not, want not. You know the drill. I just sprayed the ties with some dull cote because the stain came out shiny which is NOT the way I want railroad ties to look.
  18. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Frisco.org Supporter Frisco.org Supporter

    Best tie stain I have found is Leather Dye - black & brown.
    Dilute it with denatured alcohol to your satisfaction - A small bottle of dye will make more than a quart of stain.
    Dump ties and stain mixture in a bowl, stir around, and fish them out with a small strainer.
    Just dump the ties on a paper towel to dry.
    They do not stick to the paper and will dry pretty quickly.

    I think you will like the results.
  19. renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013)

    renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013) Passed away March 8, 2013

    Here are pictures of the staining jig I made.

    Attached Files:

  20. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Looks like an efficient way to stain many things at once. I see some decoder installation going on in the background.

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