Friday, September 9, 2011

Hand Lay Or Flex Track

My original plan, with the early concept of a portable modular train show On30 Swamp Logger layout, was to hand lay all of the track and the three turnouts that the minimal track plan included. But now with a proposed full narrow gauge layout in a new basement, I'm starting to back off that lofty goal. I'm more about using track materials on-hand or, I should say, leftover, from the reconfiguration of my HO scale Big Island Rail layout into the new basement as a shelf layout above the On30 layout. This is a plus since both layouts will use the same gauge track.With the increased size of the new On30 pike, those leftover turnouts will come in handy expediting track laying.

I'm not a fan of using HO scale track under On30 equipment since it does not give that irresistible "narrow gauge" look that I love or the proper "scale look" to me. It still looks like too big trains on too small track. But with that said, I offer 'The Coast Line RR' as an exception to the rule. Creator Mr. Trois Kirk has built a beautiful On30 layout using HO gauge flex track exclusively. Only in a few areas on his layout do you notice the small, closer-spaced HO scale ties.

I am pondering a couple different ways of modifying or disguising the HO flex track. The new On30 layout will utilize a large section of the HO BIRR layout's harbor and pier area where the Code 83 rail (track) is buried in the "concrete" surface of the pier. Since I will likely have quite a few leftover turnouts from the revamped HO layout, I plan to use these in the new On30 layout. My idea is to totally bury as much of the "out-of-scale" HO flex track as possible under dirt, weeds and ballast. I plan to remove a number of the plastic ties in each section of flex track that goes down and replace them with On30 wooden ties that will stick out at prototypical length. This will give the impression of hand-laid track in those areas of the layout.

I would like to hand-lay track in "signature" areas of the layout, such as the log landing, logging loco engine shed and shop, turntable area and loco service scene in "town," plus bridges, trestles and other "key" areas that will get a lot of visitor and photography attention.

So, with all that said, it seems I will ultimately use a blend of both hand-laid On30 track and "disguised" HO-scale flex track and turnouts to help me quickly get trains operating as I build my new On30 "Combo" Swamp Logger/Sugar Plantation layout.

Please feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment regarding this blog. Pass the word about the Blackwater & Mosquito Creek Lumber Co. Thanks!

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