I’m really not sure why it took me this long to start laying track down in the yard. I suppose I had my doubts about whether the main staging yard should remain split in half, with a double ladder in the middle, or have one long yard and park trains one after the other. After that was put to rest (and I opted for a single long yard), I gathered my tools and started on a bit of this and a bit of that.
And beginnings are always hard! You look at where you start, and where you need to be. It’s a long way around the curve and then some way till the far wall. Yikes. Keep plugging away. Track connections to the turnouts had to be isolated on one rail so that proper block detection could be done.
You can see those plastic Atlas joiners in the photo above if you look closer. They are not too stiff and if you are not careful with inserting rail would damage or bend. Also, they space the rail further apart which needs to be accounted for when shortening that rail.
Overall, I don’t like them because they leave a gap/dip that I need to fill with CA glue, or something else. You can see those gaps in the photo below. I’m sure it’d be fine without it, but I like things to roll smoothly.
To secure the track I used rail spikes/nails from Roco, model #10001. I liked these the best because they were slim, dark and long enough to go through cork. I still had to pre-drill the ties first before hammering the nails in.
I am soldering all flex track joints, except where they connect to turnouts. I leave those alone in case turnouts need to be replaced. This space is conditioned all year around, so I am not too worried about contraction and expansion. There are no violent swings of temperature or humidity but if anything is to happen those gaps where turnouts are should suffice.
After you figure out a routine, it’s just one track after another and you start seeing significant progress. Yay.
Soon you realize you are around the bend and it’s all straight track from there on – a long stretch of it. But for now, I can stand and marvel at something that was just an idea few months ago. Finally we are “doing” some trains here!